Blog Interview: Rosemary (Romi) Hill

Have you seen Rosemary Hill's new lace book, New Lace Knitting? It's so beautiful!
When my review copy arrived in the mail, I had to talk to Romi to find out all about it.

Jen: What inspired you to write this book?
Romi: I've always loved books: the weight, the color, the smell and feel of paper as I thumb through them...and the clean white space of each page. I have shelves of special books, with one bookcase devoted to my very favorites that I go back to time and time again. As much as I love the digital medium, I wanted to write a tangible book that might sit on knitters' shelves and hopefully find a place into their favorites.

J: You designed so many different lace pieces for this book. Do you have a favorite? Why do you love it?
R: That's such a difficult question! I really worked each design over until I was happy with it, and added a little something special. I guess if I had to choose, it would be the Salt Grass Pull. It's a traditional gansey (fisherman's sweater) shape, but it's worked top down and in all-over simple lace, which is a complete twist on a working garment. I love how the traditional shape and shoulder strap construction lent themselves to the completely non-traditional lace fabric. I even blocked it on a woolly board to open up the patterning!

J: You’re shawl shapes are always so unique. How do you come up with so many different ways to knit a shawl?
R: Shawl patterning and shaping are like fun puzzles to me. I love the geometric side of designing and knitting, and I am always trying to figure out different twists on construction. Knitters often tell me they learn something new each time they knit one of my patterns. I love that! I guess it's always sort of kicking around in my brain: what can I do that's different?

J: I’m obsessed with the Williwaw Cardigan. I definitely need one. Can you tell me a little bit about the inspiration behind that sweater?

R: Welllll, I started out with a vision of the lace top, plain bottom, and asymmetric closure. That's my first sketch. I knew I wanted a kind of wavy lace pattern to fit within the wind and shore themed section of my book. It was in the engineering phase of the design that I began playing with the direction of the lace patterning up top. In order to make the design more organic and flowing, I decided to knit the top section side to side, and then work the stockinette stitch section down from the top. I think that's what gives it the feeling of motion it has. And by the way, a williwaw is a sudden violent gust of wind blowing down from the mountains onto water. You often can see them on my local lake, and I've gotten caught in a few while kayaking! 

J: What are your plans for the future? Anything upcoming you can share with us? Any more books?
Right now, I'm still trying to catch up on everything! I'm working on my club patterns, and on the fifth year of my 7 Small Shawl eBook subscription series. I have another project in mind too, but at the moment it's a secret. I'm sure I will end up doing another book at some point, but I'm not rushing into anything. It needs to be special, and it will take some time to put together the perfect project!


Thanks, Romi! 

Anyone who loves lace needs this book. No surprise here, Romi has come up so many interesting ways to use lace in her designs. There's sweaters, shawls, and other small accessories to choose from. And, it's going to be hard to choose what to knit! Like I mentioned in the interview, the Williwaw Cardigan is my favorite piece in the book, and I'm also very much in love with the Winter Wheat Shawl.

The increases in that shawl are absolutely brilliant. I feel like we all can learn a lot from Romi's designs!
Check out photos of the patterns in the book here. You can find Romi's amazing pattern catalog on Ravelry or visit her website to learn more. New Lace Knitting is in yarn stores and bookstores now, or you can purchase it online here.

Photos courtesy of Interweave/F+W.

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