Designer Q&A: Amy Gunderson

Amy Gunderson is a longtime contributor to all of Interweave’s knitting titles. Amy is the creative director at Universal Yarn and an independent knitwear and crochet designer. She’s a super awesome lady and we love her designs. We asked her some questions about her knitting journey and here is what she told us!

When and why did you start knitting?

I started knitting about 8 or 9 years ago when my husband and I owned a pizza delivery business in Iowa City, Iowa. For the first couple of years we had employees, but we eventually let them all go and ran the business mom and pop style for the last 5 years. I made all the pizza by hand and my husband delivered. Because it takes more time to physically deliver a pizza to someone’s house than it does to cook one, I was left with some free time. I made a bunch of quilts one year and then got it in my head that I wanted to learn to knit.

Describe your first design.

Though this isn’t listed as my first design on Ravelry, it is my first design in my head. I did a very small amount of self-publishing before exclusively doing freelance for magazines/books. I wanted to release some simpler things before I released Grellow.

After I learned how to knit Fair Isle, I came across the Wallpaper Hat on Ravelry. I loved the chart and decided to turn it into a cardigan. I was into raveling thrifted sweaters and reknitting things out of them at that time. So for just a few dollars I had myself a cashmere-blend sweater.

What was the inspiration for the Hitchhiker Tee?

The Hitchhiker Tee in knitscene Spring 2017 was designed entirely with myself in mind! I don’t like to stop knitting just because it’s summer, so it’s important to me to have wearable knitting in warmer months. This tee is knit in Fibra Natura Flax, which is 100 percent linen. I am a huge fan of linen. It’s so breathable and drapey and gets softer with wash and wear (and on and on I could go singing my praises of linen, but I’ll stop there).

Anyway, I wanted to create a simple, wearable tee that wouldn’t need a camisole underneath. That’s why I placed the lace detail on the saddle shoulders—no chance of bra straps showing through. And it’s A-line shaped, because most of us have hips to think about, right?

How long did it take to knit?

At least a season’s worth of Walking Dead episodes. That’s all I can remember.

Do you watch specific shows when knitting? Listen to podcasts? Music?

I watch soooo much TV while knitting. I consume an insane amount of television. I like pretty much any show with good characters and writing—it doesn’t matter what it’s about, though I prefer sci fi. And when I get burned out on TV, I love a good biography.

Do you work with yarn/fiber in other ways (like spinning or dyeing)? Has that changed the way you think about yarn/design? What have you learned about that process you wish you had known at the beginning?

About a decade before I learned to knit, I learned to crochet (around age 20 or so). And shortly after learning to knit, I began weaving. I tend to get bored with things, so I like having different techniques to play with. If I’ve been away from crochet for a while, when I get back to it I’ll often find that I’m newly inspired by one thing or another. In my day job at Universal Yarn, I focus very heavily on knit design; it’s nice to be able to take a break and do some other crafty thing for a time. Too much immersion in any one area can be negative, in my opinion. Perspective is lost. If I feel like I’m getting bogged down or blocked, taking a break is the best thing I could possibly do, even if it’s a short one.

Find Amy on Ravelry as AmyGunderson and @amyyounggunderson on Instagram. See the Universal Yarn website for her company’s extensive yarn lines.

Dig Into knitscene to See More of Amy’s Work!