We had a chat to Vanessa Mooncie about her new book of patterns, Monster Hats.
Monster Hats is a collection of 15 knitting patterns inspired by old comic book creatures. The instructions are in both children’s and adults sizes, so all the family can keep warm in a ghoulish design!
What is your favourite knitting technique?
Join in a new ball at the edge of the work, rather than mid row. The ends can be woven into the seams, keeping the finished piece looking tidy.
I always take the yarn from the centre of the ball as this will avoid a tangle as you work, as well as preventing the ball of yarn from rolling away.
Do you knit English or continental style, and why?
I was taught the English way, but I might have a go at the continental method. It would be good to be able to do both.
What is your desert island yarn?
I love Erika Knight’s collection of yarns. The colours are beautiful. I also really like working with Drops yarns. I enjoy mixing the different textures.
How did you learn to knit?
My mum and grandmother taught me the basics of knitting when I was a little girl, but it wasn’t until I was expecting my first baby that I started knitting properly, encouraged by my mum. She took me shopping for the yarn and pattern to make a little baby’s cardigan and then sat and helped me make my first knitted garment.
What inspires you?
I find inspiration in all sorts of things. I live in the countryside and the colours of the landscape and the changing seasons provide me with ideas for new projects. I love theatrical and historical costume, vintage children’s book illustrations, fashion photography and I enjoy going to art exhibitions.
Tell us about your favourite knitting project...
My favourite knitting project is usually what I am currently working on. I loved knitting dresses for my daughters when they were little. I collect vintage knitting patterns and would reinterpret them; doing this helped me develop my own designs.
What is your biggest knitting ambition?
I would like to have a go at knitting a giant project with oversized needles and yarn. I’m not sure what I would make, yet, but it would be my biggest project. Literally.
Which notion/gadget can't you live without?
I always have a tape measure to hand, which I use a lot to check my tension, as well as measuring the piece I am working on. I often count and recount rows, then forget where I am, so I should start using the row counters my mum gave me years ago!
Tell us your tips for knitting hats...
Check the measurements of the hat to make sure you are knitting the correct size and do a tension swatch before you start. After shaping the top of the hat, make sure you leave a long length of yarn at the end to thread through the remaining stitches and gather the top. This length of yarn can also be used to sew the back seam, rather than joining in a new length. I like to use mattress stitch, which produces a lovely neat seam.
What is your worst knitting habit?
I will often start a new project before finishing the one I am working on. I get excited when I find some nice yarn or have an idea for something new that I want to try, so I have a few bags of unfinished pieces in my workroom. If I leave something alone for too long, it tends to get forgotten.