Anne Weil // Knitting Without Needles

09/25/15

KnittingWithoutNeedles_COVER

I’m super excited to introduce you today to a brand new knitting book — and this isn’t just any knitting book. It’s a book filled with arm and finger knitting patterns (did you know you could knit without needles? With your own bare hands?). This is the kind of knitting that is perfect for non-knitters and knitters alike. The projects in this book come with easy step-by-step photographs and how-tos (that even kids can make). I love a chunky knit, and this book is filled with them!

I also want to introduce you to the book’s author, Anne Weil. I met Anne exactly three short years ago in 2012. I was about to head to the Lake Tahoe area to teach at a retreat the following week. The retreat organizer asked if I could stop and pick up another instructor on my way and bring her with me.  “Ugh,” I thought to myself — I didn’t necessarily want to spend four hours in the car with someone I didn’t know and was imagining awkward conversations with some weird woman as we drove through the mountains to Tahoe. But, of course, I said yes (how could I say no? how weird could she be?) and stopped the following week to pick up Anne and drive her to the retreat in my car. And, you guessed it (I think you know where this story is going), not only was Anne not weird — she was one of the warmest, most interesting, easy-to-talk-to people I had ever met. We became fast friends and have remained close to this day. Thank you, universe.

Furthermore, I learned that weekend at the retreat that Anne was not only warm and interesting, but she was also an exceptionally talented crafter, knitter, crocheter and maker. She was (and still is) the mastermind behind the blog Flax and Twine, and now she is the new author of Knitting Without Needles: A Stylish Introduction to Finger and Arm Knitting.

Today in my Interviews with People I Admire Series, I present to you Anne Weil, who tells us about her new book Knitting Without Needles. I’m also going to share with you the gorgeous arm-knitted pouf she made for me (which my dog Wilfredo has adopted as his new lounger), which is part of the Great American Pouf Tour. Anne’s pouf is one of my favorite projects in her new book, and I am so proud to own this lovely blue version (now to make one myself!).

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{Wilfredo sitting on my new blue arm-knitted pouf, made for me by Anne}

Without further ado, Anne Weil.

Lisa: Anne, your new book Knitting Without Needles is simply gorgeous. Tell us about the process of making the book. How did you come up with all of the projects? How long did the process of making the book take? What other creative people were involved in the making of the book?

Anne: Thank you, Lisa! A lot of the project ideas had been brewing for a long time. Before I submitted the book proposal, I remember sitting up late one night with my daughter sketching and brainstorming all the possible finger-knitting projects we could think of. Such a fond memory, and it took off from there. The process of making a book was so much more involved and time-consuming than I originally thought. First, was the challenge of designing projects, with yarns, colors and ideas that all worked with one another cohesively in a group. I just let my mind go and thought of many, many possible projects. After I had a bank of ideas, I just started choosing and trying them–some worked and some didn’t. At the same time, I spent a lot of time on Pinterest pulling together images that had the feel I was going for. This helped forward my design concepts, as well.  After that, I worked out a color concept for each chapter.  I officially started working on the book in January of 2014, and I finished all the projects and written all the patterns by August of that year. But that wasn’t the end!

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{Wilfredo on his new pouf // aka: “Lounger”}

I did all the art direction for the book. I loved having that aspect of the book all in my hands. I was lucky to work with two different and talented photographer/stylist teams. I made sure I had detailed concept summaries for each project and each chapter to help direct the work. It took five days to shoot the whole book. All the model shots and the cover shot were styled by Brittany Jepsen of The House that Lars Built and photographed by Jessica Peterson. The other product photographs were done in apartments in New York City, styled by Pam Morris and shot by Lucy Schaeffer.  After that, it was a 7 months of combing through all the language, the layouts, the details to get them all just right.  Then, 5 months of waiting while it printed, and, finally, it’s here!

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{Image of the pouf from the book}

Lisa: And it’s a gorgeous book!! Tell us about finger and arm knitting. How long have you been doing these forms of knitting, how did you get into them and why do they appeal to you?

Anne: I love how self-sufficient these two crafts are. Literally, you just need your beautiful self and some yarn to make something gorgeous. Apparently, I learned how to finger-knit when I was very young. One day, when my kids were bored with my knitting, I picked up a skein of yarn and showed them how to finger knit without even knowing what I was doing! It was total muscle memory! After that, we were all hooked, making miles and miles of finger knitting together.  I knew that there had to be a way to use these long strands in a beautiful way for modern projects.  I started working toward that goal. Through those efforts, I came up with the new techniques to attach the finger knitting back to itself, like crochet, and to build a wider fabric. This blew open the doors of possibilities for finger knitting, and that is reflected in the projects in the book. The arm knitting obsession began four years ago when someone asked me if I had heard of it. I dug around a little bit and played a lot and figured it out. I fell in love with it immediately. I love the modern shift in scale and the luscious loft that arm knitting brings to just about any project.  I really enjoy bringing traditional knitting techniques, even cables and lace, to arm knitting in this book. So many fabulous, yet easy to make projects.

Pattern from Knitting Without Needles-09

Lisa: I’ve never arm or finger knitted before. I feel intimated! Can your book change that for me? How?

Anne: Never fear, Lisa!! You can do it! The book comes with really easy step-by-step photographic directions, both for how to finger and arm knit, and also for each project. Remember, too, that finger knitting has previously been relegated to the 5-7 year old set so it is a very easy and straightforward craft to learn and a fun one! It becomes addicting, even for adults! Arm and finger knitting are much simpler to learn than traditional knitting as you don’t have to figure out how to handle needles. In these crafts, you are simply bringing loops of yarn through current loops on your arms or fingers. The gorgeous beginner projects in this book are perfect for the newbie!  I’ve been doing a lot of workshops, too. The majority of time that I am teaching, 90% of my participants have never knit before and they all leave feeling confident about their skill.  I can’t wait for you to learn how!

Pattern from Knitting Without Needles-10

Lisa: What is your favorite project in the book?

Anne: That’s like asking me to pick my favorite child! Hmm . . . For style, I would have to say I adore the Faux Sheepskin.  For technique innovation, I am most proud of the Finger Knit Booties or the Linen Baskets. I love that these gorgeous things are made simply knitting on your fingers.  For wow factor, I’m in love with the tote! I find it all so thrilling.

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Lisa: Where can people find you online?

Anne: My blog is Flax & Twine.  You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  I teach online at Creativebug here and here.  I also teach workshops in person, you can find my latest teaching schedule here.

Lisa: I also want to mention that the book’s yarn and all the yarn for this tour were graciously sponsored by Purl Soho. My fabulous floor pouf was made with Cascade Magnum yarn. And kits for the poufs or signed copies of Knitting Without Needles can be purchased at Anne’s shop. Thank you, Anne!

Now let’s get to knitting this weekend, friends! Have a great Friday!

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