We love holding classes at Loop – from guiding beginners through their first tentative stitches to revealing new skills to improve even the most experienced knitters techniques. We are also proud to have many talented designers visit from all over the world and very soon we are playing host to Kirsten Kapur. Teaching two classes, one on her classic pattern ‘Andrea’s Shawl’ and another on understanding Japanese stitch patterns, we were able to catch her for a quick chat to find out more.
Perhaps better known for her designs under the brand ‘Through The Loops’, Kirsten has been knitting for as long as she can remember. After working in New York in the fashion and textile industry she found her place with knit design. For her it allows her to combine a ‘love of garment construction and surface design‘.
Hello Kirsten! We are so looking forward to your visit to Loop. You are teaching two classes over the weekend, one on your pattern Andrea’s Shawl and one about understaning Japanese Stitch Dictionaries – what can people expect from your classes?
I’m really excited about both classes that I’m teaching at Loop. I love working with knitters and helping them develop their skills. It is very rewarding for me to watch a new skill click with a student. In Andrea’s Shawl we’ll work on swatches of each stage of the shawl so that participants will have the skills required to complete the project on their own, and have an understanding of the construction of this unique shawl. By the end of class everyone will cast on and begin their actual project.
In the Japanese stitch pattern class we will learn how to decode the charts in Japanese Stitch dictionaries. We’ll knit swatches. Learn what a few of the Japanese characters mean, and try some new stitches. Students will leave ready to use these stitch patterns in their knitting.
Andrea’s Shawl is such a popular and well loved pattern, could you tell us the story and design process behind this knit?
Andrea’s Shawl started as a mitt design. I’ve always loved the way classic stripes combine with softer lace patterns to create something that is both delicate and casual, so I swatched different stitch patterns to see what I liked best with a simple two color stripe. In the end I selected the lace border pattern for the way it gives the bottom edge a graceful scallop. After I completed the mitts I realized that the elements of the mitt pattern would work really nicely as a shawl.
Since the mitts, like most mitts, were worked bottom up and I wanted to be sure that the shawl worked with the mitts, I decided to work the shawl bottom up too. I’ll never forget the day I blocked that first Andrea’s Shawl, I fell in love with the pattern at that moment. It remains one of my favorite designs.
We have several visitors to the shop who swoon over the many Japanese knitting books we have. What is it about Japanese design and knitting that inspires you?
Japanese stitch dictionaries take the same stitches we use over and over again, and create some of the most intricate and beautiful stitch patterns available to knitters.
Some of the patterns combine elements of familiar stitch patterns to create something new while others use unique stitches in patterns that are unlike any we find in stitch libraries from other places. I turn to my collection of Japanese stitch dictionaries again and again when I design, often modifying the designs, but the inspiration always starts those patterns.
Have you any places that you want to visit while you are in London?
When I’m not teaching at Loop I’ll be exploring the city with my sisters (one of my sisters lives in England, and the other is flying over to join us for the week). I know we’ll visit Liberty since that store was a favorite of my mom’s, and we inherited her love of beautiful fabrics. I’m sure we’ll also visit a few museums like the Tate, and the National Portrait Gallery.
Thank you Kirsten for taking the time to answer our questions.
We are also giving one lucky winner the chance to win a copy of Andrea’s Shawl! All you need to do is leave a comment below saying what Loop yarn you would use for such a project… and then keep your fingers crossed. This competition will close on Wednesday 9th July at midnight – Good Luck and Happy Knitting! *This competition is now closed.*