Designer Q&A: Faina Goberstein

Love of Knitting Summer 2017 features a new design by renowned knitwear designer Faina Goberstein. She is a professional teacher of knitting and crochet, an author, and math professor (thank you very much). As co-author of Art of Slip-stitch Knitting (Interweave, 2015) and the bestselling book The Art of Seamless Knitting (Interweave, 2013), she is a familiar Interweave contributor. We asked her a few questions to share with you:

Q: When and why did you start knitting?

A: I love this question because I can say thank you again to my neighbor “aunt” Nina who taught me to knit. I was 8 years old and lived in Russia. She gave me her needles and yarn and showed me all I needed to know for making socks. With her supervision, I actually ended up with pretty decent socks as my first project.

Q: What technique(s) did you find hardest to master?

A: I was taught to work my stitches as—what we call in Russia—“granny” stitches, where you knit always through the back loop and scoop the yarn for the purl. When you do this, the stitches have a different mount on your needle. Because of that, in lace knitting, brioche, and other styles sensitive to the mount of a stitch, the techniques did not look anything like they should. It was a very frustrating thing for a 14-year-old. Thankfully, someone explained the problem to me. I love all the techniques and am so glad I did not give up knitting at that time.

Q:  What was the inspiration for the Museum Piece Pullover in Love of Knitting Summer 2017?

A: It was a cable I saw in the stitch dictionary. It was only one part of the cable that I wanted to implement on the yoke. After my proposed sketch was accepted, I had to design with the yarn assigned. I had to modify the chart quite a bit to fit the stitch and row repeats into the width and height of the yoke. You would not believe how many swatches and charts I had to make before my final decision. I am not complaining here at all. That’s exactly what I love in the designing process, so I had a lot of fun solving this puzzle. As a result, my cable looks differently from the one I saw in the book.

For a new sweater knitter, I hope that this project is helpful in learning yoke-in the-round bottom-up construction, cable knitting, and working with charts and getting used to understanding the logic in the pattern.

Q: What is your spirit animal? Why?

A: Wow! I have never been asked this before. Honestly, I do not know what to say. Maybe a cat? I am curious, adventurous and at the same time cautious … and I love to sleep.

Q: Are there any knitting stories you would like to share?

A: I have led a knitting group for many years and made a lot of friends through it. One English lady who was in our group was a great knitter and made many beautiful pieces from Vogue Knitting and Interweave Knits. She used very intricate patterns, luxurious yarns, and beautiful colors. When she told me she had never made a gauge swatch, my heart stopped. I asked her what would happen if after all the money she spent and time she put into it that beautiful garment does not fit her? Her answer was: “Honey, I have 10 women of different sizes in my family. Someone will fit into it!” We all laughed and this is the only time I did not insist on starting with the gauge swatch.

I just want to say thank you to all knitters who either like my designs or take my online classes on or live classes at Vogue Knitting Live, Interweave YarnFest, and local shops and guilds. I love to be part of our knitting community.

You can check out Faina Goberstein’s selection of books and patterns below.

Knit on,


More from Faina: Books & Designs


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