Designer Spotlight: Teresa Gregorio
Teresa Gregorio is thinking about the journey. For her, knitting is about the finished piece, but it is also, and perhaps more importantly, about the experience. Knitting one of her patterns is like taking a little trip into a wonderful creative world where anything is possible. It’s hard not to love knitting with this kind of philosophy.
Full disclosure: Teresa is my friend and design partner on our upcoming book of knitting patterns, Great Northern, a collection inspired by the nineties TV show Twin Peaks. Like many people in the knitting world, we have been Internet friends for years, but have only hung out in person a handful of times.
Teresa lives in Hamilton, Ontario, with her husband, Mark, and her lovebird, Elbie. She works as a museum professional by day and a fiber fiend by night. She loves sewing, craft beer, camping, history, and art. She is a wonderful person to talk to about your favorite TV shows or geek out with about pretty much anything. She’s dedicated, funny, caring, and so accommodating I sometimes wonder if Canadians aren’t just born nicer than the rest of us.
Almost two years ago, Teresa approached me about collaborating on a collection. I suggested this Twin Peaks–inspired idea, and immediately she was all in. The fact that she had never seen Twin Peaks was not a deterrent. She soon tucked into David Lynch’s weird, frightening, wonderful cult classic and got up to speed. Luckily, she loved it. She felt a connection to the strange characters and surreal tone, and saw how the rustic, late-eighties/early-nineties aesthetic could be the motivation for a killer (ha!) knitwear collection. This is so Teresa—gung-ho from the get-go, even when she’s being thrown into something unfamiliar.
When talking with Teresa about her work, she will often mention how much the process means to her. The brainstorming process, the design process, the knitting process: these are the keys to her motivation. While knitting her Cherry Pie sweater, I was delighted to find that the shaping was unlike anything I’ve knit before. It kept me interested and engaged, and constantly seeking the next step. My other experiences with her patterns have been like this: a unique twist here, an inventive solution there, and in between, beautiful simplicity and feminine flair.
The release of her TPCT (The Perfect Crop Top) pattern on Ravelry is cause for joy. Teresa celebrates the female form with this sweater—the adjustable shaping hugs curves and fits every body type and doesn’t hide the wearer’s shape. This is a sweater to wear proudly. I know so many people who have knit this sweater and rave about the results. The pattern is the result of years of testing and improving her formula, and it paid off wonderfully.
To get a better sense of Teresa’s work and inspirations, I asked her some questions and learned a thing or two about my friend in the process.
Q: What is your favorite of your own designs? Why?
A: TPCT! It was a passion project; creating and wearing crop tops helped me destroy my own negative body issues, and I wanted to share that with others. I find that when I mention crop tops to people (women!), they reply with something like “I can’t pull that off.” I want to encourage people to dress themselves in things that bring them joy (whatever that may be), not in things that society has body-shamed them for.
Q: Are you a perfectionist?
A: Grudgingly, I’ll have to say yes!
Q: Why do you love to knit?
A: Knitting is about three things for me: potential, power, and fashion. There are so many possibilities when you’re faced with that wall of yarn. You can make ANYTHING. That also speaks to power. Knitting gives you the power to direct and control what you put on your body. And fashion—what we choose to wear, and when and why (contemporarily and throughout history), fascinates me.
Q: How did your family influence your creative side?
A: My grandfather was an incredibly creative person. He built windmills and invented grass-gathering machines and even made his own shoes. My dad made toys, swing sets, and even a clubhouse when my siblings and I were kids. Making things yourself was something I was always surrounded by.
Q: Tell me all the reasons you love crop tops!
A: I love crop tops because they are:
- quick projects (for a garment!)
- easy to experiment with and a good way to learn new techniques
- a great way use stash yarn
- perfect for pairing with skirts and dresses (I wear those a lot!)
- easy to memorize and knit on the go
- a tool for body positivity
Q: Do you think about the finished piece first or the technique/process?
A: A bit of both! For the Writer’s Top in knitscene Spring 2017, I thought of the finished knit first; I had a vision of graceful lines and a drapey, luminous fabric. In another design that will be published by Interweave in the future (stay tuned for Love of Knitting Fall 2017!) I thought of the technique first before designing. I LOVE pleats and welts and wanted to use them together to create a cool, structured garment.
Q: What is your favorite pattern from another designer? What makes it your favorite?
A: Hard to pick! But I love your Pom-A-Rama Slippers; they’re so cute and quick. And who doesn’t need slippers and LOVE pom-poms? They’re a perfect stash buster, too. Jane Richmond’s Arika Cowl is a fun, fast cowl with a clever design—I wear it all the time in the winter. And the fringe is fabulous! I haven’t yet knit your wonderful Seraphim Cardigan, but I want to someday! It looks so graceful and comfortable and fun. Those welts!!
Q: What do you love about living in Hamilton?
A: Hamilton is where I’ve spent my entire life, so there’s a sense of personal and familial history. But outside of that, it’s an unpretentious city with a thriving arts community, a wonderful restaurant scene, and any sort of natural beauty you may want. There’s the fantastic Handknit Yarn Studio (just blocks from my house!), there’s a great craft brewery down the street, there’s SO many places to hike and go birding. With a population of just over 500,000, it’s a great size.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: Great Northern! I can’t wait to share with the knitting world this wonderful book that you and I have been working on for over a year! I’m also currently researching a collection and book idea. I’m pretty excited about it! All I can say now is that it was inspired by my family.
Working with Teresa has been pure joy, and knitting her designs is a pleasure. I can’t wait to see where Teresa’s creative journey will take her next!
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