5 minutes with Claire Montgomerie!
Claire Montgomerie, knitting & crochet designer and editor of Inside Crochet magazine is well known for her gorgeous designs and industry expertise! We caught up with her for a few minutes to ask her all about her crafting!
When did your knitting adventure begin?
I first learned to knit and crochet with my mum when I was very small and she allowed me to add a wonky stitch or two here and there to the shawls and blankets she used to make for all the babies born into the family.
I fell into the textiles industry after studying constructed textiles at Middlesex University then doing a Masters degree in knitted textiles at the Royal College of Art. It was during these six years that I learned to design on domestic and industrial knitting machines as well as developing my hand knitting skills.
While searching for a job after graduation, I tried to build a portfolio that would take me into the fashion industry, but something about that industry left me cold and I came away from my interviews feeling disheartened. This was because I was beginning to realise that I really needed to still use my hands and be fully involved in the practical side of textiles. It was always the tactile, experimental side of working with yarn and fabric that I loved and while I searched for a ‘real’ job, I had begun making little creatures from old jumpers, embellishing them with handknit, crochet and sewn embellishment. I realised that this was which I loved to do and wondered if I could make a career out of it.
What was your biggest “knitting fail”?
Ha! Once I was tempted by a whole load of chunky yarn in the sale, and tried to make a gorgeous, sophisticated brioche rib jumper with it. However, I didn’t listen to my own advice and check my tension, which was especially crucial here as the yarn was a substitute for the suggested one. It ended up way too big – in fact it fitted my 6’2″ tall husband. But he didn’t like it. So I ripped it out! It was painful to do it, all that gorgeous brioche….
If you went for a walk in your neighbourhood, where would you find inspiration?
The river and the huge skies, I have just moved from London to Cambridgeshire and I can’t get over the amount of sky here…. Oh, and a little shop called The Shop at Forty which upcycles old furniture and has a lovely range of crafty supplies and hand made cards, too!
If a knitting genie gave you three knitting wishes, what would you wish for?
To be able to knit/crochet for as long as I wished without getting RSI!
A shed load of cashmere yarn.
More hours in the day to knit. Of course!
If you were a yarn, what would you be?
Good question!! I would like to think an expensive and sophisticated cashmere or silk but I think I am probably more like a bright, smooth, easy to use, everyday, easy care cotton, especially as I tend to crochet more than knit these days!
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Last updated: April 22nd, 2016.