How long have you been a part of Artistic Portland?
I am one of the original members when we first discussed opening a co-op in June 2013.
Where are you from?
I was born in Austria. A small town close to the border of Italy and Slovenia.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
In Austria, I have worked in various offices as bookkeeper, insurance claimer in a car dealership and customer services. Once in the US, I worked for 10 years as a nanny for a wonderful family. During this time, I went back to school and received my BA in child development. I continued working with children in pre-school, after-school care, and home daycare once my son was born. I was a part of starting and establishing the Portland Kinderschule Parent co-op (a German immersion pre-school program). Due to this prior experience, I was very open to joining and being a part of the Artistic Portland co-op when the opportunity presented itself.
How long have you been knitting and where did you learn?
Knitting has been passed on to me through my mother who was always knitting something for her five children. At first, I would watch and learn the process of unraveling garments that have gotten too small or too worn. I loved watching the unraveling of a sweater and was always fascinated watching my mother recreate something new and different. As soon as I was coordinated enough, she taught me how to knit - around age four or five. I have been knitting as long as I remember, but only after I inherited my mother-in-law's yarn stash did I start selling my creations.
What do you love most about knitting?
My favorite part about knitting is that I can take it anywhere and do it anywhere. Depending on what you knit, it can be done while watching a movie or you have to concentrate and calculate to keep pattern and gauge correct. Like a painter, I use the yarn to create with various needles and stitches into something new and unique
What frustrates you most about knitting?
When I was younger, I would get very frustrated when I had to unravel to fix a mistake. Today, with all the experience I make fewer errors, and I understand the benefit to planning ahead. Over the years, I have become more patient with myself and the projects I work on.
Do you always work from the same spot, or do you move around?
Most of my knitting is done in my little studio. Although I know how to knit while walking or standing, I prefer sitting to get a nice and even tension. I do take my knitting along when traveling.
The yarn bombing in our new location is amazing! Can you tell us about the process of that project?
As soon as we looked at the new location, our president Marianne Wilson Stein looked at me and said, "These two posts would look great with yarn bombing!" I agreed, but also realized it will be weeks of daily knitting to have to finish this project. I had plenty of yarn with more donations from co-op members. I envisioned something colorful and interesting to look at rather than just random stripes. So I began sorting through the available yarn, sorted it by color then started knitting various patterns, techniques, and styles as I inched along. I viewed it as knitting a sampler. I finished with a picot edge where I pulled through a thick strong zip tie. Karin Kaufmann, one of our new members, helped me assemble them onto the posts which took us all day. This is my first yarn bombing project .
The most unusual and touching commission project I have done was turning an old Scandinavian cardigan into tea pot warmers and cup warmers. This sweater belonged to a mother whose daughters gave it to the mother's friend when she died. This friend commissioned me to create for each child a set of these cozies. I thought that was very touching.
I am usually inspired and guided by the yarn itself. Depending on how much of yarn I have, how well I can combine it with another color I have in my stash, and the season or function it should have.
If you could wake up tomorrow with a new artistic skill, what would it be?
I have always wanted to learn how to bobbin lace. Again, as a child I was fascinated watching a friend of my mother's toss those bobbins around different pins and in the process create this beautiful delicate lace. I need more time!
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I love to ballroom dance!