This tal­ented de­signer shares her cre­ative in­spi­ra­tions

The Knitter - - Contents - Anna Maltz­na­


de­signer Anna Maltz cre­ates pat­terns that bring smiles to knit­ters’ faces! Thanks to her play­ful use of colour and mo­tifs, her mod­ern gar­ment shapes and in­no­va­tive ways with yarn, Anna’s de­signs have won many fans.

Who inspired you to take up knit­ting?

“I learnt to knit when I was five, from my mother and oma (my grand­mother in the Nether­lands). I started do­ing it on a daily ba­sis in my mid-teens, when I de­cided to knit mo­hair cardi­gans for my­self and my best friend. That was in the 1990s, and mo­hair was su­per ’80s.”

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

“Knit­ting be­came a fo­cal part of my art prac­tice half­way through the seven years I spent in art school. The work of Elaine Re­ichek, Mierle La­der­man Uke­les, the Guerilla Girls and a whole bunch of other 1970s fem­i­nist artists were in­spi­ra­tions. They made me feel like I could make work that in­cluded knit­ting, which en­gaged in de­bates wider than whether some­thing was art or craft. To me, some knit­ting is art and some isn’t, just like some paint­ing is and some isn’t. What I knit now is knit­ting, but it’s in­flu­enced by my time mak­ing art.”

Which de­signer has most inspired you?

“I have a large col­lec­tion of vin­tage knit­ting pat­terns which I look at when I need cheer­ing up. These de­signs are mostly by un­named de­sign­ers, work­ing for now long-de­funct yarn com­pa­nies. I love the gar­ments, but also the stag­ing and the mod­els. I en­joy sweater-spot­ting when I’m out and about, and imag­in­ing how those sweaters, made by un­known de­sign­ers and mak­ers, were made and could be re­made.”

Tell us about the colours, land­scapes or ar­chi­tec­ture that in­spire your work.

“In­spi­ra­tion is se­ri­ously ev­ery­where, but I think, if I was locked in a room, I’d do fine too - my head is pretty full of ideas. Now it’s more about pri­ori­tis­ing which idea gets to come out and be re­alised. Colour is re­ally im­por­tant to me. It’s an in­tensely per­sonal thing, and I like chal­leng­ing my­self to come up with com­bi­na­tions that are joy­ous, yet un­ex­pected.”

What is your favourite knit­ting book?

“I have a large li­brary of knit­ting books from the last hun­dred years, in many dif­fer­ent lan­guages, but the one I have ac­tu­ally used most is my oma’s copy of the

Mon Tri­cot 1100 Stitches in Dutch from the late 1970s. It’s in quite a taped-to­gether state at this point, but I still flick through it when I’m think­ing through op­tions.

“Find­ing a first edi­tion of Bar­bara Walker’s 1972 book Knit­ting from the Top was a key part in me re­al­is­ing that knit­ting in­struc­tions could be con­ver­sa­tional and ed­u­ca­tional, rather than nd sim­ply fol­low­ing rules pre­sented in a string of coded letters, numbers and sym­bols. For this I also re­ally love the 1970s se­ries of Höns­es­trik books by Kris­ten Hostäter from Den­mark. I can’t read them, but I can fol­low the pic­tures.”

What fi­bres do you love to work with?

I’m drawn to nat­u­ral fi­bres: wool, linen, alpaca and net­tle, be­cause I en­joy the his­tory of them, can un­der­stand how they are made, and know they are biodegrad­able. I en­joy a lit­tle silk here and there, strictly as a lux­ury. I mostly work with 100% wool. I don’t need it to be su­per soft - the stur­dier stuff gen­er­ally makes hardier gar­ments, and I like that. I love fi­bres that are com­par­a­tively min­i­mally pro­cessed, to keep the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact down. Cot­ton is com­pli­cated for that rea­son: so much wa­ter is used to grow and process it.”

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

“I’ve re­ally been en­joy­ing de­vel­op­ing Marlisle. It’s a com­bi­na­tion of ‘Marl’ - sec­tions of two yarns worked to­gether to cre­ate a marl - and ‘isle’, as in Fair Isle, where there are sec­tions of stranded colour­work us­ing one or both of the two yarns sep­a­rately. It’s quite sim­ple, but it opens up so many pos­si­bil­i­ties. I’m ex­cited that my book Marlisle: A New Di­rec­tion in

Knit­ting is in­spir­ing other knit­ters too.”

1+2 The ‘Ess’ shawl in Anna’s new­est pat­tern book uses her in­ter­est­ing ‘Marlisle’ tech­nique 3 Bar­bara Walker’s clas­sic Knit­ting From The Top was an eye-open­ing book for Anna 4 The ‘Adélie’ hat from Pen­guin: A Knit Col­lec­tion 3




‘Trem­bling’ is a uni­sex de­sign from Anna’s Marlisle book

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