Without a doubt, Martin Storey is a rockstar in the world of knitting. Author of “Aran Knits”, “Nordic Knits” and the co-author of “Knitting Goes Large”, Martin is renowned for his truly elegant knitwear designs. He worked for the trendsetting company Artwork after college and since then has been a major force at Rowan Yarns, designing for their classic range.
This month, his newest book – “Little Aran & Celtic Knits for Kids” – hits bookstores. Chock-full of gorgeous patterns for baby and toddler outfits, every page is guaranteed to make a knitter drool into her basket of yarn.
Martin lives & works in the United Kingdom, but took some time out of his day to answer our questions!
Q&A WITH MARTIN STOREY
Martin Storey – master knitwear designer (of Rowan Yarn fame)
SMPCraft: How did you first come to knitting?
Martin Story: I was taught to knit at a very early age by my infant teacher, Mrs Cross. She felt it was important that both boys and girls learnt the basics of knitting, sewing and cooking. I still remember the plastic pink and yellow needles we knitted with!
SMPC: What aspects do you love most & least about the process of designing knitwear?
MS: I would always say that I love the whole design process in creating a new handknit. I relish all the research and the forming of ideas for my designs. The bit I struggle with is the technical side. Even though I can write a very good handknit pattern, the maths do not come naturally…!
SMPC: What led you to start designing knitting projects rather than just knitting them?
MS: I started to think of a knitting as a career whilst in my final year at Middlesex University, where I was studying for a BA Hons Degree in Fashion . I designed a range of handknits for my degree show and as a result I was offered a design assistant’s job with Artwork – a leading handknit design company in the 1980’s and 90’s.
SMPC: Are you inspired more by color or by yarn type?
MS: I’m inspired more by a combination of, colour, yarn type and fashion. I suppose I start by looking at what’s happening in the world of knitted fashion then apply the yarn and colour later. It’s my fashion training that always kicks-in first!
SMPC: How do you start when you’re designing something new?
MS: Definitely with a sketch or some old knit fabric that I might have picked up in a vintage shop or from magazines, books, photo’s. I then go on to develop my ideas in swatch form. I work very visually so it’s important for me to have lots and lots of visual reference..
SMPC: You’ve probably seen it all when it comes to knitting – in your own wardrobe, what’s your favorite item of knitwear?
MS: My favourite piece has to be a Patricia Roberts grapes and cherries slipover [Fruit Machine]. I spent the whole of summer 1980 knitting this garment. It was my very first complicated knit. Not only did it teach me a great deal about the intricacies of knitting but also helped to gain me a place at Art School.
SMPC: What do you do when you’re not knitting?
MS: When I’m not knitting then I enjoy walking along the beautiful Devon, Exmoor coast or trawling through local vintage and antique shops followed by a relaxing coffee in one of our lovely, high street delis.
SMPC: Do you do any other types of crafts?
MS: I sew [very badly] and enjoy simple embroidery projects. I have tried and failed to master crochet and cross stitch…! Also, being very greedy! I love to cook but not sure if this is necessarily classed as a ‘craft’…
SMPC: What is the one tool you can’t live without?
MS: I really could not live without my Knitpro needles – particularly their symphonie wooden needles. They are a joy to knit with
SMPC: Do you have a favorite project in your new book?
MS: One of my favourite projects is a very cute, bird design – Lotte cardigan. I really love designing ‘quirky’ colourwork ideas. There is also a Lotte scarf to go with this design.
SMPC: What is your connection to Rowan Yarns?
MS: I have been working now with Rowan yarns for over twenty years. Ten of those years as a freelance designer, contributing designs to the Rowan Magazines. The past twelve years I have been working as one of their full-time design consultants, designing my own range of brochures as well as contributing to the magazine.
SMPC: How do you go about developing a book – and to what degree do you get involved with the book design & photography?
MS: I’m constantly coming up with new book ideas. For St Martin’s presentation purposes, I then go on to creating mood boards, sketches and swatches for each book idea. I don’t normally get involved with the book design but I do attend the photo shoots. I’m very particular about how the knit is worn and presented on the model.
SMPC: What’s the next thing on your plate that you’re excited about?
MS: Hopefully more books! I have a few ideas in the pipeline. Also, I’m developing two exciting, new yarn brochures for Rowan which will be launched in June 2014.
Little Aran & Celtic Knits for Kids
Rowan Yarn’s master knitwear designer Martin Storey shares twenty-five beautiful patterns for babies and toddlers
Featuring soft colors, a mixture of traditional Aran patterns, touches of intarsia colorwork, and sweet knitting pattern motifs that both children and parents will love, the projects in this book will make the perfect addition to your little one’s wardrobe or room decor. Traditional cabled and Celtic patterns, plus rabbits, cats, anchors, hearts, and birds adorn a wide range of garments and accessories from cardigans, sweaters, dresses, and skirts, to blankets, scarves, socks, and gloves.
The designs in the book range from simple to challenging—so there’s something for every knitter to enjoy. The twenty-five adorable designs in this book are sure to become special keepsake handknits that will be treasured for years to come.
To purchase a copy, click on your favorite retailer from the list below: