Hi there yarn lover!
We thought it would be nice for everyone to get to know Tuuli, to learn more about her motivation and approach to her design work as one of the Nordic Yarn designers. Tuuli lives in Helsinki, Finland.
Tell me a bit about yourself?
I’m 57 years old passionate artisan. Really don’t know what else I could be as almost everyone in my extended family are artisans.
What is your earliest memory of knitting?
I learned how to crochet when I was around 6 years old. Next I got interested in cross stitch and embroidery. A couple of years later my mother and grandmother taught me how to knit a sock - I found it quite boring, knitting was so slow compared to crocheting! The needles were slippery and made odd tinkly sounds. The yarn was some horrible squeaky acrylic. I really couldn’t get my head around how to turn the heel.
How did you learn to knit?
Slowly! Learning how to purl was awfully difficult. In Finland we can choose between crafts and woodwork at school, I preferred woodwork. In my 20’s I decided it’s time to learn how to knit and with help from my mother-in-law I finally mastered to turn the heel. I have to admit I don’t like knitting sock to this day, thankfully I have an old school friend who keeps my sock drawer full.
When my kids were small I knitted for them and in my 30’s I started to study to become an artisan. During my studies I finally got the grip with knitting and found the vast possibilities of knitting.
Which needles you prefer to knit with?
My absolute favorite needles are either Addi’s metal and bamboo or Seeknits bamboo circular needles. For me it’s important that the circular needles have a long and flexible cable as I use magic loop technique a lot. I prefer to knit everything with circular needles, I think I have around 100 of them! I might knit some swatches with DNP’s.
What is your favourite item to knit?
Jumpers and hats, definitely. Baby clothes are nice also, they are so fast to knit. I also enjoy darning, at some point I thought of becoming a professional darner.
Do you have any hobbies besides knitting?
Jogging, sewing and watching Netflix.
What do you do for relaxing?
Knit. I have always multiple WIP’s and some I never finish, but it doesn’t bother me. I have never made any rules for myself regarding knitting, if I don’t feel like knitting something, it will stay in the WIP basket, sometimes forever. I knit in meetings, bus, car, when visiting friends, you name it, basically everywhere where one can knit.
Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
Quite often the yarn itself is the inspiration, sometimes inspirations arises from a need. When I see an interesting stitch pattern I play around with it to see how I could incorporate it in a design. Quite often the inspiration is in the details - how to get increases, decreases and other construction details look beautiful. I might try different methods for days on a swatch.
How did you start designing knitwear?
A common friend of mine introduced me to Tia and it came up that they need some designs. I thought to give it a try. At first the actual pattern writing was a bit of a pain. At the moment I find grading the most time consuming part, Excel helps a bit with it. Best part of designing is the beginning - trying out different needles in various sizes, swatching different stitch patterns, getting ideas about the construction.
Is there any particular knitting techniques you love/dislike?
I love magic loop technique, I use it to all items which are knitted in the round. For items knitted flat I use circular needles also, they are so flexible compared to straight needles. I love different textures, stockinette stitch becomes quite boring after awhile. Seaming is something I try to avoid as much as possible! I also enjoy weaving in the ends and blocking, it is rewarding to finish the knitted item. Unraveling is still something I don’t do happily but have learned that it’s something that has to be done if the idea doesn’t work for some reason.
Do you ever have time to knit something for yourself?
Hats and scarfs, not bigger items. My kids, especially the youngest one, make wishes (a lot of them) what I could (should) knit for them. Knitting for the family, designing and daywork doesn’t leave too much time for knitting for myself.
How do you find Eco Cashmere yarn to knit with?
Eco Cashmere is really soft, light weight and warm to knit with, it slides smoothly on the needles. Cashmere behaves very differently from for example lambs wool - it isn’t stretchy and doesn’t spring back to form. This has to be taken into account when designing and knitting with cashmere yarn. After knitting with Eco Cashmere even the softest wool feels quite harsh for a moment. Most luxurious yarn!
Do you have an all time favorite finished knitting item?
I think it is always my last design, which is currently Arki jumper. I think I will develop the something new based on the design!
Do you have any knitting disasters?
Ask how many! I think the top one disaster is a large beanie knitted from unspun wool. I desperately tried to felt it in the washing machine but the result was more like a thick sided barrel which covered even your shoulders. I couldn’t even make a bag out of it as it was too stiff!
We are very lucky to have Tuuli on our team and hope she will be designing her beautiful patterns for us for years and years to come ❤️