Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Interview with Martin Storey

Martin Storey is one of the most famous international names in hand knit design so it was a real thrill to catch up with him recently and find out more about what he is up to including learning to crochet and up and coming designs.

How did you become a hand knit designer?
Via a very circuitous route!  Having dropped art at school - my best subject - I very unwisely followed a career in agriculture. However, after two or three years I realised what a big mistake I'd made and started to look into the possibility of studying fashion with textiles - my big passion in life.  To cut a long story short, I ended up being accepted on a fashion degree course based in London and were I 'honed' by hand knitting and design skills.  I then went on to work for a very well-known and established handknit design studio based in London, Artwork, and eventually was taken on by Rowan/Jaeger.  I've been working with Rowan now for almost 25 years.

How would you describe your design style?
I would say a bit of fashion mixed with Martin-style quirky texture and colour-work!  I like to follow my own path in hand knitting.  Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't!  However I like to try and come up with a design that has my distinctive handwriting.  I think that it is true of all the Rowan designers.

What is your favourite technique?
Cables!  Am fascinated by this technique and all the wonderful, three dimensional textures it creates.  I love mixing together new cable pattern ideas and experimenting with cable & aran stitches.

Your Knit Along has been very successful.  What else are you working on?
I'm currently working on ideas and stories for our Rowan spring/summer 2017 season, including Magazine 62.  I've also just shot two new books 'Afghan Knits' and 'Scandinavian Knits' - a follow up to Nordic Knits - both will be released this autumn 2017

We hear that you are brushing up on your crochet skills – tell us more?
Ha!  For years I've struggled with crochet and only recently mastered the technique.  I'm still at the granny square stage, but making steady progress!  However I'm not quite at the designing a crochet book stage - unlike my fellow Rowan designers, Sarah, Lisa & Marie!

What or who inspires you?
Pretty much everything!  Fashion & Interior magazines; Vintage textiles and reference books; Favourite fashion designers including Vivienne Westwood, Kenzo, Marc Jacobs and Missoni; People on the street!

Which is your favourite range of KnitPro needles?

I'm a huge fan of the Knitpro Symphonie Wood, Single Pointed Needles.  Nowadays, I don't really knit with anything else.  The 25 cm length needles are perfect for knitting up swatch ideas and are very transportable.  I've just indulged in a black jacquard, case set of needles.

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