Hope you are having a great week. To mark the middle of “Socktober” (where has the first half of this month gone) I have an interview with an exceptional British sock designer and one the speediest knitters I know – Louise Tilbrook.
Hoar Frost by Louise Tilbrook. Copyright: Louise Tilbrook
I had a quick chat with Louise last week about her love affair with socks, I hope you enjoy the interview.
CD: When did you first become enthralled with socks?
LT: A few years ago now I picked up some Regia self-striping yarn and I was hooked. Some days I think if I could knit nothing else, ever, I would be happy knitting stripy socks.
I love stripy socks too, watch out on the blog next week for a special post about some very special self striping sock yarn from The Golden Skein.
CD: How did you make the leap from knitting socks to designing socks?
LT: It was a logical progression as I started to knit more for male family members. Whilst I love to knit lace and I do like a good pair of lace-patterned socks I found that truly unisex socks in larger sizes were a little harder to find. To pass the acid test a sock pattern must be fun to knit, look far more complicated than it actually is and be officially approved as ‘non-girly’ by my DH.
CD: Does magic loop rock your boat or are you more of a DPN fan?
LT: Magic loop all the way. I’ve lost too many DPNs on trains, in cars and under sofas
CD: How do you pick a good sock yarn?
LT: I love yarns with a good firm twist that have excellent stitch definition as it helps cables and twisted stitches to really pop.
CD: Solid, tonal, variegated or stripes? Which yarn makes your heart sing?
LT: For my designs I love handpainted tonal yarns and for plain (knitting-for-me socks) it is self striping all the way – the more colourful the colours the better.
CD: Toe up or top down?
LT: I started with cuff down and then converted to toe-up. I started on the Hexipuff craze some time ago and realised that if I could cast one of those on, I could cast on a sock toe. Then I discovered Judy’s magic cast on and never looked back.
CD: Afterthought heel, love or loathe?
LT: Love them and am working on one right now.
CD: What is your favourite sock design? And why?
LT: My favourite is always the one I’m currently working on – I’m quite fickle like that – but of my published ones I’m most proud of my Silver Birch design featured in Pom Pom magazine. The yarn was heavenly to work with and I was so pleased with the finished socks.
CD: … and your favourite socks designed by someone else?
LT: Heavens – I can only pick one? For a great, effective and satisfying pattern I would have to choose the Monkey sock by Cookie A. I’d also love to try the Stitch Surfer socks by Louise Robert as they look amazing.
CD: Besides yarn and pointy sticks what is your most treasured sock knitting tool?
LT: My collection of sock project bags from Daisy Bun Boo. Since rehoming 2 kittens everything in my house needs to be under kitten-lockdown. Especially yarn and pointy sticks.
Bleaberry Tarn by Louise Tilbrook. Copyright: Louise Tilbrook
Louise has a lovely range of sock patterns available on her Ravelry store and she has very generously donated some lovely prizes for the readers of this blog. She is offering a pattern from her collection to three lucky readers. To enter this competition please leave a comment below. You need to include the following in your comment to be entered.
1) Which is your favourite Louise Tilbrook design? You can find all of her designs in her Ravelry shop.
2) What yarn would you knit this design in?
3) Please also leave a way for me to contact you should you be the lucky winner. A Ravelry ID is probably the easiest.
This competition will run until the 30th of October, and the winners will be announced on the blog on the 31st of October as we say farewell to “Socktober”
Sty Head Tarn by Louise Tilbrook. Copyright: Louise Tilbrook