The Source of Inspiration by Guest Annie Claire

we've got a lovely guest poster today!  one of my fave rav buddies & summer sweater knit along sponsor - the lovely annie claire of "by annie claire".  this talented gal originally from england now lives with her hubby where they are both goat dairy farmers!  can you imagine!  she knits, spins, designs, weaves, felts, dyes....and more!  she has a gorgeous line of patterns and even more scrumptious hand dyed & spun yarns!  annie's here to talk to us today about her sources of inspiration when it comes to knitting.

now let's here from annie...

Inspiration, sometimes hard to find, but constantly all around us, is the spark at the beginning of our journey as a knitter of taking a really really long piece of string and turning it into something beautiful.

aria cardi by cecily glowik macdonald
I don't know about you, but there are many places from which I find those tiny sparks. One of the biggest, which I'm sure you'll agree, is other people's work. Just trawling through ravelry and the many knitting blogs out there I will stumble across FO's and new patterns that just leap out at me. Patterns that I just have to knit, and right now. Naturally a great photograph is key, and there are some fantastic people out there producing so many wonderful patterns and capturing them in perfect settings that its no wonder my queue is exploding. Gorgeous close ups of squishy garter and the simple fabric of stockinette stitch exploding with the beautiful tones of hand painted yarn.... OK, I'm drooling.

fortune bay by mercedes tarasovich-clark
For me, being a girl that spends most of her day outside, I am a sucker for a shot that is in the great outdoors, full of motion and life. There is something that makes a hand knit more practical, tangible and easy to imagine in my wardrobe when photographed outside of the studio and in natural light.

1. champagne by thea colman 2. tundra kristen tendyke 3. winnowing by bristol ivy
 In fact, the fellow knitter, local yarn stores, books, magazines, yarn, anything fiber related... brushing against any or all of these will encourage me along my knitterly way.... Oh, and you can't forget fiber focused shows and events - a whole weekend of knitting and all things sheep? Inspiration overload!! I'm sure the above is not unfamiliar to you, us knitters and be pretty predictable at times, but when you go a little deeper and start designing your own hand knit patterns, I've found that inspiration can come from all sorts of places.

jaavesi by annie claire
I have always tried to do things my way. Ask anyone who knows me. I don't mean in an aggressive way, I just like to experience things and to figure them out for myself. I'm a do-er. So as you might expect, when I learned to knit one cold cold winter in Finland I was quickly moving onto adjusting patterns and eventually writing my own. When asked where I find my inspiration my answer can be different each time. I design with my naturally dyed yarns which immediately connects me to my surroundings. As I gather and harvest the dye plant material from around the farm and my home, I'm constantly finding shapes, patterns and tones that can spur on different thoughts and ideas.

1. jig 2. hoops 3. seedling 4. buddleia all by annie claire
I love how all colour can be found naturally [I'm not kidding] which encourages my thinking that you can never become to far from being inspired if you stay close to the outdoors. A walk through the fields or a stroll on the beach can usually spark up my creativity.  I cannot say if it is the yarn colour that inspires me, or the fiber blend, or a special garment idea which gets new designs going, or, I could say that it is all three. Each pattern's journey is different. I have before now started working a striped a scarf only to end up with a fingerless mittens, and lately, a cowl turned sweater. I find it healthier to not have any limits when it comes to my knitting, I like to allow things to develop as they need.

images by annie claire
Ultimately, considering all my knitting endeavors as one, it is the challenge that keeps me most inspired. Whether learning a new finishing technique, a different heal turn, steeking, you name it - if it's a challenge, I'm all in. Wonder why I chose Umbrellas as my Summer Sweater KAL project? I think you now understand...

images by annie claire
So as I take my yarn and my designs into the fall I am taking on the challenge of designing sweaters and cardigans, and all that comes with it. Luckily I'm no stranger to math, ripping back hours of work, and long evenings wondering where the heck I lost those two stitches, and so far the journey is just as exciting as I had hoped. It's a leap, but sometimes you have to go there to find out... I'll see you on the other side!

images by annie claire
thanks so much annie m'dear!  you are a source of inspiration yourself hun!  i swear one day you are going to wake up one morning to find us all knocking on your door to come hang out and knit :) so purdy!

what are your sources of inspiration?  do you have a fave place or thing that you turn to when you need to get inspired?  i love this topic so come chat peeps!  and don't forget to link up your posts below!

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