4 Questions with Alice Starmore: An Exclusive Dover Interview
Alice Starmore has a fascinating tale to tell. We spoke to the author of the #1 crafts bestseller Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting about her knitting background, professional start, and more.
Clearly, knitting is a deeply ingrained facet of the culture of Scotland's Outer Hebrides. Did your mother teach you to knit?
My mother taught me to knit when I was very young. She was a dressmaker as well as a knitter and our house was a place of constant creativity. I was also born at a time when most women knitted as a matter of course, and I had three aunts who had been fisher girls in their youth and were experts at making traditional fishermen's gansies.
I understand that your first language is Gaelic — do you still speak it?
Yes I still speak Gaelic. The Isle of Lewis, where I live, is in the Outer Hebrides — the heartland of Gaelic and the only place where you will hear the language in everyday use.
How did you get your start professionally?
I designed a small collection of knitwear in 1975 and successfully sold it in London boutiques. It was featured in a national newspaper and from that small beginning my knitting career evolved in ways that were quite unimaginable to me when I began.
Your books are known and loved around the world, and you've adapted design elements from the textile arts of many countries into your repertoire. Are you still discovering "new" aspects of knitting and fabric arts from other cultures?
I am interested in everything. I find inspiration in all aspects of the world around me. There is enough inspiration in the natural world on my doorstep to last many lifetimes. I am also inspired by art, culture, history, science and music. My own culture features widely in my design work but I have always been interested in other cultures and in other places. My main problem is that I cannot possibly live long enough to produce work from the amount of ideas that come into my head.
So many designs, so little time. If you love color knitting, you will love this complete book of designs from every region of the globe.Published 3 months ago by Margaret Musgnung
Lots of good charts, arranged in logical order. I've entered a bunch of them into DAK so they're easy to pull up when designing knitwear.Published 3 months ago by Jenna McKnight
An excellent book by Alice Starmore. This, along with all of her books that I have, is very informative, a valuable addition to my knitting library.Published 3 months ago by Kathy Ann
I think this book needs 6 stars because it is very good. The title of the book describes very well the content. The one very instructive.Published 7 months ago by Inger-lise Andersen
I've mimiced alot of the patterns in this book to apply to many different sweaters. There colors also help with applying designPublished 7 months ago by Liz Wadzinski
The designs and all the technique information in this book make it a classic. I only wish there were color charts for all of Starmore's colors. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Pamela DiMuzio