Designer Q&A: Bristol Ivy

Bristol Ivy

Bristol Ivy, knitwear designer

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?

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The Aita wrap from 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,
—Sarah


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.

You can find more about her designs and upcoming courses at www.bristolivy.com or check out her Ravelry page.

 


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