From one of Loop’s favourite designers, Shawl Book One
is a selection of Kirsten Kapur’s greatest shawl designs. Many classics (and some of her all time favourites) feature in this collection of gorgeous to knit and wear wraps, neck warmers, stoles and scarves.
We caught up with Kirsten to find out more…
What was the catalyst for publishing your first book?
I’ve wanted to self-publish a book for a long time, but was hesitant because of the time that’s required to create a book from start to finish. Then, about a year ago several things happened that made the idea seem feasible. On a trip out to Ohio to film a segment for Knitting Daily TV, I had the chance to talk to fellow designer Joanna Johnson. Joanna is very experienced with self publishing and she was kind enough to offer encouragement and enthusiastically shared her experiences. At the same time I was chatting with photographer Gale Zucker about how we might be able to work together. I have been a fan of Gale’s photography for years and always knew if I were to do a book, she’d be the person I’d want to do the photos.
When I returned from my trip and told Gale about my conversations with Joanna it suddenly started to feel very doable. Finally, my good friend, Beverly Mazzarella, who owns a yarn store in New Jersey told me that she’d love to have a book with a group of my most popular designs, and thought that other people would feel the same way. Bev’s encouragement, and her idea of a book of my shawl patterns was the final piece that seemed to make everything fall into place. So I called Gale and said, “Let’s do it!”.
If people haven’t come across your designs before, how would you describe them in three words?
Color, texture, balance.
Roma Shawl by Kirsten Kapur from Shawl Book One. Photography Gale Zuker.
From the images in the book, the photo shoot looks like it was a lot of fun! Can you tell us a little more about the look you wanted for the book and working with Gale Zucker?
I have always felt that my most successful blog posts have been those where my kids and I got a little silly, and had a bit of fun. There are a couple in particular that come to mind. I wanted to capture that sense of whimsy, but with a bit more sophisticated appeal since our subject matter was shawls. I created a Pinterest board where I pinned photos that captured the lighthearted, whimsical look I was after and shared it with Gale. She was a dream to work with.
Thalia by Kirsten Kapur from Shawl Book One. Photography Gale Zuker
She immediately understood the feel I wanted for the photos, and started building on my ideas. My models also made a huge contribution to the overall feeling of the book. Ariana, Katrina, and Sofia were all amazing and didn’t bat an eyelash when they were asked to walk barefoot across razor sharp shells, or wear a vintage bathing suit while eating a popsicle in March. The series of shots of the books falling off Katrina’s head, crack me up every time I see them. That was totally spontaneous but she somehow managed to look adorable in every one of them.
Moulin Rouge by Kirsten Kapur from Shawl Book One. Photography Gale Zuker
It must be almost impossible chose, but do you have a favourite pattern that features in the book?
Cladonia, the cover shawl is definitely a favourite of mine. From the moment I put in the last pin to block my original Cladonia I have loved this shawl. The fact that knitters have been so enthusiastic about the pattern makes it even sweeter.
Cladonia by Kirsten Kapur from Shawl Book One. Photography Gale Zuker
I also adore Laight Street. There’s something about lace knit in heavier weight yarn that makes me very, very happy. It’s cozy and elegant all at once. Laight Street is a decadent shawl that you can wear to a special occasion, and trick everyone into thinking that you are a sophisticated jet-setter, while only you know that what you’ve actually got tossed around your shoulders is just this side of a cuddly blanket.
Laight Street by Kirsten Kapur from Shawl Book One. Photography by Gale Zucker
You are also involved with our new book to celebrate our 10th anniversary which is due to be released in September. You’re designing one of the patterns, and although everything is still top secret, can you give a few hints as to what you have planned?
I was honoured to be asked to contribute a design to Loop’s 10th anniversary book. The shawl I created is a half-pi using two exquisite colours of Dye For Yarn’s Merino Silk Fingering in shades specially designed for Loop’s anniversary. With yarn this beautiful, I wanted to make something really special. My goal was to select stitch patterns that would allow the gorgeous yarn to shine, but still hold a lot of interest for the knitter. In my design work I love to contrast lacy, feminine details with more structured and graphic elements — and this shawl is a great example of that
You have free rein in Loop to chose some yarn for one of the shawls in ‘Shawl Book One’, what would you choose!?
I pretty much had this experience when I visited Loop last October. I went a little crazy drooling over the incredible selection of special yarns at Loop, and brought an armload home with me. I picked up a skein of Kismet Fiber Works Refuge (delicious Baby Camel and Silk) in Lark’s Song that would make a gorgeous Vestry Street or Nefertem.
Kismet Refuge, Larks Song
Vestry Street by Kirsten Kapur from Shawl Book One. Photography Gale Zuker
Then there are the two skeins of Eden Cottage Yarns Titus 4 ply in Charcoal and Coppice that would be sublime as an Ulmus or Cladonia.
I almost wish you hadn’t asked this question, because now that you’ve got me thinking about it I really want to cast aside my current projects and start knitting with these outstanding yarns!
We know the feeling! Many Thanks to Kirsten for taking the time to answer our questions.
We also have a selection of Kirsten’s designs as single patterns, but if you love them as much as we do, you’ll certainly want to own the whole collection in Shawl Book One!
Our Spring Workshops are filling up fast, but we still have space on our Beginners Crochet (a three week course 28th April, 5th & 12th May), our Fairisle Class (Saturday 25th April) Intermediate Sock Knitting (a three week course 2nd, 9th & 16th May) and a Sock Master Class (13th 20th and 27th June).
Click on any of the classes to find out more, or give us a call on 020 7288 1160 to book your place!