Designer Q&A with Erica Schlueter
Q: When and why did you start knitting?
A: I started knitting because my mother taught me when I was around 4 or 5 years old. My first knitting memory is with a bright yellow yarn (sadly, I think it was acrylic) in the back seat of a green 1972 Saab station wagon—probably the coolest station wagon design ever.
Q: When did you start designing?
A: I started designing by accident; I have never been great at following knitting instructions, so mistakes following patterns lead to making things up.
Q: What is the most challenging part of design?
A: The most challenging part of designing for professional submissions is writing the patterns. Not only am I not great at following knitting instructions, I am also not great at writing in knitting language. It feels, mentally, like I am trying to jam a square peg into a triangle hole. I am grateful to the amazing knitting editors out there who are patient, helpful, and highly skilled at pattern writing.
Q: Have you ever taught someone how to knit? How did it go?
A: I started teaching before I started designing professionally, and I really enjoy it! Part of the motivation to start designing was to validate myself as knitter in hopes of teaching more. I did teach quite a bit for a while, but then I moved, and now I just teach a few times a year. At some point, I do hope to do more teaching again. My favorite class to teach is finishing.
Q: What do you think knitting will be like in 50–100 years?
A: In 50 years, maybe the square knitting needles and 12″ circulars will make a big comeback. In 100 years, maybe knitters and their work will be held in high regard if the digital world has collapsed.
Q: What is the most crucial class/festival to attend this year? Why?
A: Fiber College in Searsport, Maine, is September 6–10 this year. It has an amazing variety of fiber classes, including knitting, in a beautiful location on the water. I hope to have the opportunity to teach there again this year.