Fleurtje Duivis is a Dutch artist who we are so pleased to have designed our exclusive pattern for the September knitting club box.
Hi Fiona and Gina, thanks for having me at Sonic Knits. I am delighted that the pattern for the Beeautiful Arm Warmers is part of the September box.
When did you start knitting and how did you learn?
I was six when my grandmother taught me to knit, during one of many weekends I spent joyfully at her house. My mother knits as well. She made my grandmother and me matching, blue sweaters. My mother must have been knitting into the wee hours of the night and I never suspected her of working on this project.
I don't know what it is with knitting, but everyone seems to relate to it, even people who don't knit.
At 27 I got ill with an unknown virus that I didn't seem to be able shake off, which turned out to be M.E. That is when I picked up knitting again. There is always a project in my bag when I go to see a doctor,and every single time I am knitting in a waiting room people start talking to me. Men often joke about knitting them a ha and more than once women have brought up their knitting projects from the past. I don't dare take out my needles when I am in such a place and not in a chatty mood.
Ever since picking up knitting again, there are so many stories to tell. Like having a knitting friend over for tea. While contemplating that a yarn shop should sell matching nail polish, I asked her to buy me some yarn. And when she did, she had indeed bought me matching nail polish as a surprise. She really is a wonderful friend.
So if you ever feel lonely, I suggest you knit in a public place and you will never feel forlorn again.
When did you start creating your own designs?
It started with baby booties. I wanted to knit a pair for a friend and had three patterns to work with as this was before Ravelry. None were to my liking so the three morphed into one. I then invented a knitted toy and several unique, all-over stitch patterns – mainly in the shape of dishcloths and all sorts of cosies within two years.
There were competitions for knitting designs to be found online and I entered a few times. Once I was a member on Ravelry, I discovered more competitions as well as calls for submissions so I decided to just give it a go. Nowadays, I can proudly say that six of my patterns were published in knitting books and magazines, one even on the cover.
So to those knitters who read this and are still feeling unsure to share patterns they have made themselves, I would suggest finding test knitters on Ravelry. There are indeed fellow crafters to be found who are willing to take the time and interest in helping you to write down clear instructions.
It can be surprisingly fulfilling to read what others thought of my designs, once they were published online (some for free). Not to mention the thrill when someone uploaded a picture of a finished object on Ravelry.The pattern doesn't use any purl stitch but looks as though it does. How did you develop your idea for using this stitch and the pattern as a whole?
Indeed, this pattern has only purls in the ribbed part of the arm warmers. I am a big fan of all-over stitch patterns and I get inspiration from different sources. Sometimes it is just something from a knitting magazine that I want to spice up, but mostly it comes from confection garments or crocheted clothing that I want to imitate with knitting. In other cases I might have been using a certain classic stitch, such as the bee stitch in this case and wanted to experiment to find out more options. That is how I ended up with this highly textured pattern for the arm warmers.
You raise awareness for ME, how important is this in your work as well as your life? How much does it influence and impact on the work you do? Especially with regards to knitting?
Awareness for M.E. is important, since the funds for research are drastically low, to say the least. I have been ill for 11 years and visited several doctors. After checking me for life-threatening illnesses and coming up with nothing, they sent me home empty handed. This is shocking and discouraging, I am not the only one with this experience.
Apart from raising awareness for M.E., the worldwide, online art project Blue Mark for M.E. has two other purposes. Firstly, to remind people (patients, friends and family) that there is more to life than being ill and rather than give unsolicited advice, remind our loved ones that we want to talk about what is going on in all our lives.
Secondly, for the fun of it. Have you ever tried being a Guerrilla Knitter?