Alison Green has contributed nine lovely designs to Twist Collective. Her patterns are clever combinations of classic styles and modern twists. See more of her work here! Follow the whole Five for Five interview series here.
(Bernhardt, Little Liza Jane, Tiveden, Jaali)
1. How did you learn to knit?
When I was in high school (and college), I was a theater kid, and when I was 15 I was in a short play based on an Edith Wharton story called Roman Fever, playing an old lady who knitted throughout. I was always into arts & crafts, so I asked a friend to teach me to knitting, and I was immediately obsessed. I knit a bunch of garter stitch scarves, before my mom bought me some private knitting lessons in our church's service auction, and I learned continental knitting, purling, and started working on my first sweater (it was not wearable, but I learned a lot).
2. What was your biggest knitting/crocheting/designing disaster?
I love doing stranded colorwork, and years ago I fell in love with a sweater in a book mostly based on the awesome charted pattern and the color combination, although the photography made it hard to see the shape of the sweater (that was the first red flag that I missed). I knit the body, and vaguely noticed that the armholes (which were steeked) were rather long, but it was a drop shoulder sweater so that didn't see that unusual. When I knit the sleeves, I found it odd that the cuffs were quite tight, with lots and lots of increases to a very large upper arm. I didn't think that was going to look very good, but I just blindly followed the pattern anyway. I cut my steeks, sewed the sleeves in, knit the neck (ignoring the little voice telling me that I wanted a deeper neckline), and when it was all done and I put it on it was just so unflattering! I never wore it out of the house. It was unwearable, and unfixable. I still have it somewhere, and sometimes idly consider turning into a felted bag or something, because I do still like the colorwork pattern and the color scheme.
3. If you could go back in time to when you started designing, what advice would you give yourself?
I would tell myself not to wait so long to really commit to being a professional knit designer. For a long time I told myself I could never make any money in this business, and so I spent my twenties and early thirties trying to figure out a different career that I could make a better living that I would still find fulfilling. Finally I gave in and went with my real passion and what I'm best at - knit design and technical editing - and while I'm not exactly making big bucks, I'm enjoying life more and finding a place for myself in this industry.
4. What is one of your guilty pleasures?
I love binge-watching TV, and it's not unusual for me to watch the same shows (and certain movies) over and over again, especially when I'm knitting on a deadline, which is most of the time. I just watched the entire series of The Office, and some of the early seasons I've seen probably 4 or 5 times. Other series I've watched multiple times in their entirety are Freaks & Geeks, Buffy, Veronica Mars, and Party Down.
5. Finish this sentence: If everyone knew how to knit...
maybe random acquaintances would stop asking me to knit stuff for them. They could just do it themselves, or at least they'd understand how much time and effort goes into knitting!
(Klimova, Ossel, Petronia, Finial)