Q&A with Knitting Classic Style Author Veronik Avery.
Who do you think is drawn to your book Knitting Classic Style?
My audience is assertive, intelligent, and creative. They take what I’ve designed and put it together in their own smart or funky way. My clothes are simple, not trendy. I want the person to be center-stage, not the outfit.
How did you begin the process of designing projects for Knitting Classic Style?
Before designing the patterns in the book I was thinking early on about shoot location, what kinds of models to use. So in that sense, I think theatrically and in characters. Because of my photography background, I’m very visual. Images are important to my projects. I often take out a notebook and draw loose sketches of a sweater, a hat, or a scarf. Then I play with adding textures and embellishments.
Each pattern in your book is accompanied by fascinating notes on the evolution of fashion. Who among the industry’s icons have influenced you in your own work?
My fashion tastes change depending on my mood. Right now I feel very Vivienne Westwood but I also love Isabelle Toled and Isaac Mizrahi. Growing up I loved Japanese designers Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto. They invest themselves into each piece by applying a lot of handcraft to their designs. They think about the purpose of the clothing and apply small details that are intrinsic to its construction, they don’t just embellish for the sake of decoration.
Is your Canadian upbringing reflected in any of the Knitting Classic Style projects?
I’m French-Canadian, born in a little Quebec town. But I can’t say my projects reflect my upbringing … except maybe the fact that I’m always cold.
Do you think this current wave of people knitting and sewing their own clothes is having any significant impact on fashion trends and how people perceive style?
Yes. It’s very fashionable to make your own clothes. Several years ago, everything was ultra-sophisticated. It was all about Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Pucci, and Prada. There was a wealth of details in ready-to-wear clothing whereas now knitting offers a more personal approach.
Which patterns in Knitting Classic Style were the most fun to create?
The best part of the creation process is adding the details. I like the patterns to feel complete, and for me, that doesn’t happen until I see the finished product being worn. I particularly enjoyed working with the model wearing the blue Military Jacket. The gold buttons on the cuffs and the ropey cable stitching just looked so feminine on her and yet at the same time so bold.
The colors of yarn in your designs are rich and elegant. Any tips for readers on selecting flattering color combinations for their projects?
I would say trust your intuition. I have color wheels that I hardly every use. But occasionally I’ll put them together and pick out colors. Or I might get ideas by separating yarns into categories of cool, warm, or neutral.
As a self-taught knitter, describe your first experience knitting and your initial reaction to the craft?
I bought a book, got some yarn, stitched some swatches, and continued to knit swatches for a whole year. But what I really enjoy about knitting is the freedom to rip. I have no fear of starting over again; I find it very liberating to be impulsive.
Are there any designs from Knitting Classic Style that have become favorite items in your own wardrobe?
I wore the Military Jacket once in Florence. Most of the time I like to keep the samples pristine. But I wear all the scarves and accessories. I love to wear the Beaded Pulse Warmers; they keep me warm and they look glamorous.
You’ve mentioned that people would never know you adore fashion by looking at the way you dress. Why do you think so many designers choose to dress in such a simple, understated way?
I do think most designers are simple and understated for several reasons. Often designers have to be on their knees working, so most of the time we want to be comfortable. I think designers don’t usually design clothes for themselves but rather for their audience. Look at all the male designers designing clothing for women. Designers create garments because that is their preferred medium, an outlet of enjoyment, not necessarily what they would wear. Right now I’m wearing linen Capri pants and a t-shirt. It sounds simple but this t-shirt isn’t just a t-shirt. I went to a number of stores to find it. It’s a beautiful teal blue color; it has the right scoop neck, the right cap sleeves, and just the right finish on the neckline--I’m obsessed with edge finishes. I drive my family crazy sometimes finding the right clothing.