Monday, December 1, 2008

Knitting Contrisstmas Day One: Cirilia Rose

If it is December 1st that means that it is finally time for Day ONE of Knitting Contrisstmas! For me, very long awaited, I'm so looking forward to an entire month of holiday posts featuring some of the notables from the field of knitting, quilting, cooking and more.

It seems very appropriate to kick off the month with Cirilia Rose, knit designer and blog voice for some time now. She has been the face and one of the voices we came to know from Webs as well as her own blog Skrillaknits. Now in her new position at Berroco, she works on the popular blog, KnitBits, creates patterns and makes a big presence.

One of the 'new' faces of knitting, Cirilia Rose will be making an even bigger splash in the future!

KC: Thanks for kicking off Knitting Contrisstmas Cirilia----- I know you are very busy! Is life crazy right now for you Berroco? I followed your ‘old’ blog when you were ‘merely’ a knit designer and worked at Webs (cool job). But now, there you are, at the elbow of Norah Gaughan (THE Norah Gaughan) and Margery Winter. Do you pinch yourself daily? I am quite sure that I would!

It is indeed pretty incredible to be a part of such a talented team. While I might not be as accomplished a knitter as Norah, I have a similar view of fashion. In real life we're fairly practical dressers--we want ease and interest in the same garment. This is good for styling and designing, we're both tethered to the same goals. Sharing an office with Margery is fantastic. Ever since meeting her at Stitches in 2006 I joked about wanting to be her when I grow up. She reminds me of Miss Prescott from Funny Face! A visionary with a wicked sense of humor and the laugh to match.

KC: How did you land the job at Berroco?

Norah contacted me this spring to invite me to apply for the position. It was insane--she called while I was shooting a Webs catalog. It was a lot easier to smile and pose after that call, let me tell you. The interview process was very thorough and at the end of it I was cautiously excited about the prospect. It was just the push I needed to leave graduate school where I was floundering miserably!

KC: Tell me a little about your job there, we're all curious (and jealous!)

My job entails quite a bit. Just today I was thinking that my desk is really a blogging station. In a lot of ways it feels like I've been hired as a professional blogger, even though I may not post that often. Creating KnitBits utilizes all the blogging muscles.

Yarn development is a great part of the job. Working at Webs really honed the skills needed for this--I feel like I understand what happens between a customer and a ball of yarn. There are so many factors that go into making a yarn that is appealing and serviceable. It's great to see a yarn and just dream of all the possibilities. I'm just tickled that I have a hand in creating the yarns that I will later be asked to design with. It's like cooking with food you've grown yourself.

KC: I know you are a rabid knitter as well…………what is your favorite thing to knit?

My favorite thing to knit is definitely hats. I am big hat wearer, they can save an outfit and a bad hair day. They're fast to knit, they don't take a lot of cash to make and they keep the focus on the yarn. For me it's all about the knitted fabric so I love stockinette maybe with simple stripes. I definitely love stripes! I was just looking at all of the things I've knit so far at Berroco--all striped!

KC: Stripes seem to be all the rage right now in knitting, you can feed our addiction!

KC: One of the returning questions to everyone this season will be about knitting style and speed. So, it has become well known that I am the only "throwing" knitter left on the planet these days. Does speed matter?

Not so! The whole design team knits Continental! (Note from KC: I said the word 'continental' and that is not what I meant! Actually, I meant to say that I am a 'thrower'.) I used to teach classes on it at Webs. Actually, I like to say I'm ambiknitxtrious, I learned English at a young age and made the switch to gain some speed. I think every knitter should at least give it a try, it has such a beautiful economy of movement. I am not a speedy knitter, but I wish I were. I need all of the NGv1: Urban Layers story like, yesterday, but haven't found the time in two years to knit it!

KC: Are you a process or a product knitter?

Definitely process...pre-knitting process, actually! Maybe it has to do with working in the retail environment for so long but I think I like planning projects more than I like knitting them! I love choosing yarns, colors, the perfect stitch markers, etc. I do love to knit, but I have little patience for fiddliness or attention demanding projects so I tend to choose beautiful fibers and simple patterns. Because I really try to improve with each garment I make I often fall out of love with my past sloppier work and donate it.

KC: What knitwear designers most inspire you? (No pressure, such an easy question!)

Well, beside Norah...Gudrun Johnston is a friend of mine who is doing great things. She is from the Shetland Isles and allows that to seep into her knitting often but in a really fresh way. I think Adrian Bizilia of Hello Yarn understands color and the importance and glory of working with the best, most beautifully dyed natural fibers you possibily can.

KC: Is there anything in the world of knitting that you have not done and wish to tackle?

As for knitting, there is a ton I'd like to tackle. I'd love to make a Pacific Northwest shawl and a basic black cardigan or 4. As for working in the industry...hard to say, I've kind of scored my dream position here!

KC: A definite score----- a well deserved dream come true!

KC: What are you up to now? You know we all love your work and wonder what will be coming up next from your wonderful knitter brain!

If you subscribe to KnitBits you'll get a weekly answer to this question =D

KC: I look forward to every single KnitBits! The only problem is that there is too much inspiration and not enough time!

KC: Are you a part of the Ravelry world, and if so, what is your Ravelry name?

Yes, I am, I'm Skrillaknits! I love to check in on my designs there, to see what has worked and what has flopped. I love how very organized it is, organization is a leitmotif for me this year! I especially love that it was created by a very cool pair from Massachusetts, Jess and Casey are the best.

KC: What else do you do to feed your inner creative muse?

Great question! She's really just been let out of the cage so she is still a little wild-eyed. I try to stay healthy with lots of sleep and yoga and veggies but caffeine is an absolute essential! I look at a lot of magazines for styling ideas, I love Nylon and Lula. I get stuck on certain films, I just want to live inside them forever.

KC: I think I am either old or out of touch, or perhaps both because I have no idea who Nylon and Lula are! Geez! I knew you must be a film head from the earlier reference to Margery Winter and Miss Prescott from Funny Face.

There is a bit of graduate school residue in my brain. I'm inspired by big questions about aesthetics, the body, performance of the self, what it means to be a women in the world and what the business of fashion is truly about. The design team can get a little academic but Norah and I definitely have a right brain/left brain thing going on, so it works.

Most of all I make sure that I'm always keeping my eyes wide open. This can be a little manic--"ooh, look at that fat squirrel! Look at that defaced sign! Look, that tree is CHARTREUSE!" The other day I was taking pictures in the ethnic food aisle. The Goya products were all lined up and looking beautiful, it was breathtaking! Actually, grocery stores totally inspire me.

KC: What do you do during the holidays? Anything special?

I get into the holidays but in a non-commercial way. I usually stress myself out making things for people which I never seem to finish, very lame. I'm Italian so it's kind of all about the food and relishing the cold and everything that comes with it. I’m a New England girl through and through!

KC: Cirilia has graciously offered to share one of her great knitting patterns, a wonderful combination of a cowl and a hat she calls the "howl". Thanks Cirilia!

I’d love to include a link to my favorite pattern of the season, a super useful hat/cowl (I call it a Howl):

Thanks so much Cirilia, we can't wait for your next project! Have a wonderful holiday season!

For the rest of us----Get Knittin! The clock is ticking!


Virtuous said...

OOOh! Day 1!!! You kicked off beautifully with Cirilia! :o)

I just discovered her this year and it is just wonderful to learn more about her. I will definitely subscribe to KnitBits!

Can't wait for the 30 other days!!!

Jenny Girl said...

This girl is just too sweet!
I am already subscribed to Knit Bits, and it's always a good read. Great 1st day of KC!

A fellow thrower :-)