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.

Erica Schlueter

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.

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