Hi there! My name is Anna Wilkinson and I am a knitwear designer based in London, England. I love music, film, art and people watching. I work part time at a London based print studio, selling beautiful vintage designs to fashion houses all over the world. I love the travelling I get to do with work as much as I enjoy my home and garden.
Learn To Knit, Love To Knit is a book that covers and teaches a wide range of techniques through different garment and accessory projects that, once complete, leave you with covetable pieces. The first section of the book is aimed at beginners, with step by step guides to the basics and simple achievable projects. The second section of the book, the Love To Knit section, includes slightly more challenging garment projects that can be enjoyed by very experienced knitters or beginners that have started to feel more confident with the craft so want to try something a little more testing. I love every single project within the book and have designed things that I like and that I would want to use and wear myself. I hope any knitter can pick up the book and find something that they really want to wear and therefore make, regardless of their experience level.
The idea came about when I first met with Quadrille. We all felt that there isn’t really anything available for beginners to really inspire them to knit and continue knitting. It’s really important for beginners to feel excited by a simple project enough to want to pick up some knitting needles. The craft is time consuming and takes quite a lot of concentration when you are first learning, so it’s really important to actually want to own the end result so you challenge yourself to make it. I think that what “Learn to Knit, Love to Knit” offers someone, is the ability to knit and progress, learning new techniques, and ending up with some really lovely finished garments and accessories.
It’s really hard to identify one specific project as my favourite, there’s quite a few that I really love. The plain raglan jumper is a simple to knit, classic shaped piece in a stunning bright coral/orange that could be quite versatile within a wardrobe. I also really like the college-style cardigan and the slip stitch cape.
Until quite recently my work space was just my sofa surrounded by bags and bags of yarn and piles of books and magazines. I have just moved all my work to a little studio in Wimbledon which is great. It’s really good to be able to go to work and knuckle down for the day and then close a door on it until the next day. It’s quite a small space but I’ve organised all my yarn and bits and bobs so that I can see everything and know where everything is.
I am from a family who are all interested in music, art, textiles etc, so I’ve always been surrounded by inspiration and have been encouraged to be creative in many ways. I went to quite an academic school that didn’t really encourage the more artistic subjects, so I feel very fortunate to have had this background from my home life. When I was very little, my brothers and I used to love painting, writing, drawing, papier mache etc and as we grew up I started to enjoy working with textiles more, sewing and knitting. When I decided to leave school and study fashion, I was fortunate enough to get into college purely based on a portfolio that I had built up from all the little projects I had done in my own time out of school.
I was around 6 or 7 when I first began to knit confidently. My mother taught me and after a few attempts this was the age that I seemed to grasp the technique and feel more comfortable with it. It was a bit of struggle to begin with, getting used to the way it felt to knit as it felt strange and awkward to begin, but after a little bit of practise, it just seemed to click suddenly.
Some of my favourite authors are Raymond Carver, J.D. Salinger, Carson McCullers, Ernest Hemmingway, Paul Auster, and Jonathan Safran Foer.
In terms of knitting heroes, I’m a huge fan of Patricia Roberts knitwear work. Her designs are stunning and her yarn range is gorgeous. Each stitch acts as a significant part of each design.
I never look specifically for inspiration but I try to always be prepared with a notebook in case something comes to me. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where an idea comes from as it can be found anywhere and in everything. I try to just go with it if an idea pops into my head. I really enjoy living in London - it’s impossible not to absorb ideas from what’s going on around you. I’m a big fan of film, music and art so I never get bored being in such a vibrant and exciting city. I really love people watching - there are always lots of interesting characters in London with unique styles. I love looking around Liberty - I could spend days in there, it’s a really amazing shop - full head to toe of inspiring clothes, furniture etc from all over the world. I find colour incredibly inspiring also, so am always on the lookout for unique and exciting colour combinations. I really enjoy looking round markets and second hand shops, looking out for vintage clothes, antique furniture and little nic nacs - anything that catches my eye. Anything with character and a story really appeals to me - I think it’s the same thing that draws me to hand knitting because it’s so personal and you’re so involved with the craft and the process.
I’m working on a few different bits and pieces at the moment. I’m hoping to have a few new hand knit patterns available online soon that I’ve been working on recently.
I’m also going to be launching a knitwear and accessories label at the beginning of November that I’ve been working on with my friend and fellow knitwear designer, Lindsay McKean. It’s been a lot of fun working on and designing this collection and I cannot wait to share it with you - watch this space!
Anna Wilkinson is a splendid fresh talent in the world of knitwear design who, for her debut book, has put together a collection of 20 contemporary garments and accessories that not only teach you the basics of the craft but also give results that will be the envy of all your friends. Starting with the simplest stocking stitch scarf, knitted as long as you dare in quick-to-knit chunky yarn, Anna shows how you can make covetable accessories with just a few basic techniques. Moving through the projects, the Detachable Lace Collar and Eyelet Lace Top are both simple ones with which to hone your lace knitting skills. Colourful, fun and highly desirable, Anna's designs are flattering to women of all shapes and exceptionally easy to wear. A textured cape, knitted in a gorgeous two-colour, tweed-effect stitch, can just as easily be thrown over jeans as worn with something more dressy. Either way, the wow-effect of this knitted cape belies the simplicity of how it is made. Throughout the book, Anna is on hand with a ready-reference of techniques and tips to guide you. So, if you have ever really wanted to learn to knit but you have yet to find the right beginner's projects to tempt you, then Learn to Knit, Love to Knit is the book for you.