Yarns of This Thing of Paper: Travelknitter, an Interview.

Yarn. The cornerstone of every knitting obsession. When I set out to make This Thing of Paper, I knew I had to get the yarns right. I spent a lot of time looking for yarns that had the right feel and the right colours. The first pattern I designed and wrote was Rubrication. It is a shawl that explores the colour red and the practise of red-lettering in manuscripts/early printed books. It was so important to find the right red colour, but I knew my search was over when I saw Travelknitter's reds. 

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Hi Larissa. I have been a huge fan of your strong, bold colours for as long as I can remember. It is so exciting to finally collaborate with you. I've been waiting for years for the right project to come along. Could you tell us a bit about your yarns and yourself?.   

I’m Larissa, the dyer behind Travelknitter. Technically I am an Australian living in London, although I’ve actually lived in London longer than I’ve lived in any other city in the world. My itinerant life plays out in many of my colourways, which are inspired by places and travels. Some of the sources of inspiration are obvious, while some are more obscure. I enjoy having a story behind the colourways.

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How do you approach dyeing?

My signature style is towards rich, saturated colours, created through lots of layering. I dye semi-solids and tonally variegated colours, designed to look as good knit up as they do in the skein. I use a small range of base yarns, which I’ve chosen for the specific qualities needed in handknits. Hardwearing-but-soft Bluefaced Leicester for socks or jumpers, extra fine merino for supersoft cosiness, and of course the baby camel and silk Tanami for pure tactile luxury! They are all yarns that I would personally choose to knit with myself.

I chose to use the Tanami for the Rubrication shawl and it's really stunning to work with. That camel/silk blend feels almost sinfully good as it runs through my fingers!

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Now, let's chat books. This Thing of Paper is a knitting book about knitting and books, so it feels pretty obvious to ask you about your favourite read? 

Great question! Books were my greatest weakness before I discovered yarn, so linking the two makes for a pretty heady combination. Staying with the theme, I recommend Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World by Clara Parkes. Clara writes about her experiences travelling the world attending various knitting show and events. She has a great way of capturing all those special moments that are recognisable to anyone who has travelled to a yarn show. The book is full of warmth, wonderful stories, and hilarious anecdotes about what happens when knitters gather. I found it thoroughly enjoyable, and a wonderful way to capture those experiences we share as knitters in search of yarn and community.

Yarn and community. There is nothing better. And Clara is such a great storyteller that I whoop every time I see she has a new book coming out.

I think the first time I saw your yarns in person, it might have been a knitting retreat we were both attending. I knew of your yarns, but had never seen them up close before. They are stunning. Where can people catch up with you? Do you do a lot of shows?

There are a few different ways that people can get hold of Travelknitter yarns. One option is to visit my online Etsy shop where I update stock regularly. For the opportunity to squish-before-you-buy, Wild and Woolly in Clapton, East London is the only LYS stockist of Travelknitter. It’s my own LYS and has a very special place in my heart. The owner Anna stocks my BFL Supersock and Extra Fine Merino DK, including a Wild and Woolly exclusive colourway in both bases. I certainly wouldn’t be the Travelknitter though without travelling to yarn shows. My next confirmed yarn show is Festiwool in Hitchin on November 11th. I’m hoping to be invited back to Edinburgh Yarn Fest in March. Fingers crossed!

I'm also on Instagram and (very occasionally) on Twitter

Thank you! On a personal note, you are also one of the funniest people I know, although your wit is so dry it takes me a day to realise you've cracked jokes at my expense! Your colours are so extraordinary, Larissa, and I'm so pleased to say that the Rubrication shawl is on the cover of This Thing of Paper.  

Rubrication uses two hanks of Travelknitter Tanami 4ply in the Double Happiness colourway.

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