HUNTER HAMMERSEN

Meet the in­no­va­tive de­signer with a pas­sion for socks

The Knitter - - Content - www.pantsvillepress.com

HUNTER HAMMERSEN

is per­haps best known for her beau­ti­ful sock pat­terns, but she also loves to de­sign shawls and other ac­ces­sories. She writes and pub­lishes her own knit­ting books through her won­der­fully named Pantsville Press web­site. Who taught you to knit? “I con­fess my early for­ays into knit­ting were rather soli­tary. I didn’t know any­one who knit­ted, and wasn’t at all aware of the larger knit­ting com­mu­nity (this was back in the very early 2000s). I bought a book, some hor­ri­ble yarn and com­pletely in­ap­pro­pri­ate nee­dles, and jumped in. It didn’t go par­tic­u­larly well, and I swore off knit­ting twice be­fore I fig­ured out what I was do­ing. But some­how I kept com­ing back, and even­tu­ally it stuck!”

Do you have a favourite artist, writer, poet or mu­si­cian who in­spires you?

“I have a short at­ten­tion span and some­thing of a wan­der­ing eye. I tend to get ob­sessed with some­thing for a short time and then move on to the next thing, so I don’t feel like I have any con­sis­tent, long-term in­spi­ra­tions. But in the past, I’ve found my­self us­ing vin­tage botan­i­cal il­lus­tra­tions, Vic­to­rian eti­quette guides, and ori­en­tal rugs as the ba­sis for books.”

Which de­signer has most in­spired you?

“I adore Amy Her­zog’s work. She de­signs the most beau­ti­ful, wear­able sweaters, and her Cus­tomFit sys­tem (which builds you a pat­tern that works for your gauge and your mea­sure­ments, rather than ex­pect­ing you to con­form to a stan­dard size) is ge­nius. In the imag­i­nary ver­sion of my life I have a closet full of her mar­vel­lous sweaters.”

Tell us about the colours, land­scapes or ar­chi­tec­ture that in­spires your de­signs.

“I have an un­rea­son­able and un­re­lent­ing fond­ness for grey, and it’s al­ways the colour of yarn I reach for first. I even­tu­ally gave in to my ob­ses­sion and did a whole book of pat­terns in grey yarn. It was a lit­tle bit di­vi­sive (peo­ple ei­ther ab­so­lutely adored the idea, or they asked if I was feel­ing all right), but I was de­lighted with the re­sult.”

What is your favourite knit­ting book?

“I’m a fan of Prin­ci­ples of Knit­ting by June Hem­mons Hi­att. Fair warn­ing, it’s ba­si­cally a text book. There are no art­fully styled photographs or nd ro­man­tic prose. But if you want to re­ally dig into the de­tails of knit­ted fab­ric and how to make it do what you want, it’s an amaz­ing re­source.”

What fi­bres do you love to work with?

“Lately I’ve been lov­ing yak, es­pe­cially the yak, silk, merino blend that some of my favourite dy­ers have been play­ing with. But I sus­pect that if you ask me again in six months I’ll have a dif­fer­ent an­swer be­cause some­thing else will have caught my eye.”

Which de­sign are you most proud of?

“I think I’d have to go with ei­ther ‘File­mot’ (if you want to set­tle in with a fairly size­able project and aren’t scared off by the oc­ca­sional fid­dly stitch), or ‘Con­stel­late’ (if you’re look­ing for some­thing a bit quicker).”

Are there any tech­niques, tra­di­tions or styles of knit­ting you’d like to ex­plore?

“I have ad­mit­ted be­fore that proper stranded colour­work looks ter­ri­bly daunt­ing. But I love some of the looks you can get by com­bin­ing yarns. So I’ve been play­ing with what I think of as colour­work with­out the work (where you use two yarns, but only ever use one per row, and all the fancy bits hap­pen through slip­ping stitches). I’m hav­ing so much fun - I’ve al­ready done three hats with vari­a­tions on the tech­nique, and ex­pect to spend more time with that idea in the fu­ture!”

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1 Hunter loves to play with stitch pat­terns; this is ‘Tacit’ 2 ‘Con­stel­late’ is a re­versible hat 3 ‘Nain’ is a brand-new de­sign to ap­pear in the 2nd edi­tion of Silk Road Socks 4 Hunter ad­mires Amy Her­zog’s Cus­tomFit sys­tem 5 The Prin­ci­ples of Knit­ting is a must-read

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The in­tri­cate ‘File­mot’, from Hunter’s Curls book

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