DIANNA WALLA

Ex­plor­ing Nordic style with this tal­ented young de­signer

The Knitter - - Contents - www.pa­per-tiger.net

BASED IN Mon­treal, Canada, Dianna Walla is a knitwear de­signer, pho­tog­ra­pher and writer. She reg­u­larly con­trib­utes de­signs to Quince & Co., and her work has also ap­peared in In­ter­weave Knits and Brook­lyn Tweed’s Wool Peo­ple se­ries. Hav­ing re­cently spent two years liv­ing in north­ern Nor­way, Dianna is hugely in­spired by Nordic cul­ture. We spoke with Dianna about her life as a de­signer. Who in­spired you to take up knit­ting? “My mother first taught me when I was young – I was al­ways en­cour­aged to make things, and I learned to sew at a young age as well. It wasn’t un­til I was a teenager that I got very into knit­ting, though, and by then the age of the knit­ting blog was in full swing. I was very in­spired by the beau­ti­ful projects of oth­ers, and be­gan shar­ing my own knits. The on­line com­mu­nity def­i­nitely fu­elled my de­sire to branch out and learn new tech­niques.” Do you have a favourite artist, writer, poet or mu­si­cian who in­spires you? “There are so many! My cre­ative work has al­ways gone hand in hand with lis­ten­ing to a hand­ful of Ice­landic artists that I love: Múm, Ami­ina, and Ólöf Ar­nalds, in par­tic­u­lar. Their mu­sic of­ten in­spires a par­tic­u­lar re­flec­tive mood in me, and that feel­ing is some­times at the root of my own cre­ative work. To me, their mu­sic is very tied to north­ern land­scapes, as well, and af­ter time spent liv­ing above the Arc­tic Cir­cle I re­ally iden­tify with that.” Which de­signer has most in­spired you? “Kate Davies has long been an in­spi­ra­tion to me, not only be­cause I love her colour­work de­signs, but also be­cause of how her aca­demic cu­rios­ity comes through in her work. Kate’s own work is very in­flu­enced by her sur­round­ing land­scapes, and I love the way that comes through in her de­signs and her writ­ing.” Tell us about the colours, land­scapes or ar­chi­tec­ture that in­spire your de­sign work. “I have al­ways been drawn to Nor­we­gian- style colour­work in par­tic­u­lar, so it’s prob­a­bly no sur­prise that Nor­way’s land­scape is of­ten at the fore­front of my mind. I re­cently re­leased a pat­tern col­lec­tion called Fog & Frost, with a colour pal­ette di­rectly pulled from my own pho­tos of Nor­way. My time spent liv­ing in north­ern Nor­way has had an in­flu­ence as well, and can be seen in the colour pal­ette of my ‘Lyn­gen’ pullover, named for the heather that can be found ev­ery­where in early au­tumn ( lyng is the Nor­we­gian word for heather).” What is your favourite knit­ting book? “It feels im­pos­si­ble to choose only one book, but the works of An­nemor Sundbø about Nor­we­gian knit­ting his­tory have had an un­de­ni­able in­flu­ence in my nd own tra­jec­tory. The first book of hers I pur­chased was Knit­ting in Art, an ex­plo­ration of (Nor­we­gian) knit­ting his­tory through art­work.” What fi­bres do you love to work with? “Wool is the ruler of my world, and I love ex­plor­ing breed-spe­cific yarns, es­pe­cially those tied to a par­tic­u­lar lo­cal­ity. Nor­we­gian pel­sull or pelt wool has been a favourite for a few years, both be­cause of the qual­i­ties of the wool, but also be­cause I love the depth of the dyed colours, which are dyed on a nat­u­ral grey base.” Which de­sign from your port­fo­lio are you most proud of, or is most spe­cial to you? “I will al­ways have a spe­cial place in my heart for ‘Pine Bough Cowl’, which was my first un­ex­pected suc­cess. It is al­ways dif­fi­cult to pre­dict which pat­terns will take off, but as a newer de­signer at the time it was re­leased, I never ex­pected the won­der­ful re­sponse it re­ceived.” Are there any tech­niques or styles of knit­ting you’d like to ex­plore fur­ther? “There is al­ways some­thing new to try. As a lover of stranded colour­work, at the mo­ment I’m feel­ing very in­ter­ested in the cre­ative pos­si­bil­i­ties of com­bin­ing brioche and dou­ble knit­ting.”

‘Skó­gaf­jall’ is a yoked de­sign us­ing Ís­tex Lét­t­lopi yarn

1 ‘Pine Bough Cowl’ was one of Dianna’s early de­signs 2 She loves stranded colour­work; this hat is called ‘Hoopla’ 3 Dianna lis­tens to the mu­sic of Nor­we­gian artists such as Ami­ina and Múm 4 She ad­mires the work of Kate Davies 3

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