Designer Q&A: Bristol Ivy
Bristol Ivy is a knitting designer and teacher from Portland, Maine. Her work focuses on the intersection of classic tailoring and innovative technique, and has been published by Brooklyn Tweed’s Wool People, Quince & Co., PomPom Quarterly, Interweave Knits, amirisu, and others. Her classes focus on creativity, technique, and understanding the nuts and bolts of knitting.
Q: When and why did you start knitting?
A: I started knitting when I was six. I was homeschooled, and part of our curriculum was my mom reading aloud to us. I would fidget the entire time, so she taught me to knit to make me sit still. The first thing I made was a neon variegated acrylic headband in garter stitch and it was terrible. After a few small projects I completely lost interest. It wasn’t until about ten years later—when I was getting ready to go to college—that I became interested again and it was all kind of downhill from there. I spent my entire adolescence being like, “Mom, unless you wanna knit me something, this is really dumb.” But now she’s like, “SEE?!”
Q: What was your inspiration for the Aita Wrap in knit.wear Fall/Winter 2016?
A: I was really interested in what drop stitches would do to the fabric. I think it’s so cool—it looks like bamboo or wood grain and it’s just such a pretty, organic, lacy fabric that doesn’t require you to increase and decrease every row. I hope it feels like an easy knit that has a lot going on visually but isn’t terrifying.
Q: What made you want to pursue knitwear design?
A: I’ve always been someone who hasn’t responded well to being told what to do. I’d knit a sock from a pattern and add a cable to see how it would look. When I went to New Zealand with Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF), I worked on seven different sheep and fiber farms where they did not have great Internet. That was a really good time for me to just mess around. I had the yarn that I brought with me, the yarn that I had spun there, and that was pretty much it. I told myself, “You’ve got this to play with and see how you can make it work.” I published my first pattern three to four months after coming back.
Q: What is your spirit animal?
A: A goat. I love that they always have this total sense of mischief, inquisitiveness, and irreverence. They take nothing seriously, they’re so goofy and intelligent, and that’s what I think I am. But pretty much everyone I know is like, “No, you’re a cat.”
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self at the beginning of your knitwear design journey?
A: Don’t be afraid that opportunities will pass you by because other opportunities will always present themselves. It’s okay if you take an afternoon off to go the beach or read a book. Just take care of yourself and explore because every single thing you do that isn’t knitting inspires knitting. You will learn so much when you take a step back and look around you.
Keep Casting On,
Bristol Ivy will be teaching a course at the New England Fiber Arts Retreat at Medomak from July 30th to August 5th of 2017!
Find out more, here.
Get the kit!