For our 2023 Christmas Advent last year we had the absolute joy to collaborate with Lydia Morrow aka WhatLydiaMade to create the bold and bright advent you all loved so much! Inspired by firelit nights outside and vintage firework packaging, Lydia created the Ballistics Bib, a cosy, modular accessory that can upgrade your favourite jumpers with an extra cosiness or can be worn as a statement piece over a t shirt on transitional days.
For those who may not be so familiar with Lydia's work, she creates possibly the coolest knitting patterns around which are also incredibly inclusive size and style wise - a real gem in the knitting world! As well as being a designer Lydia, is also a stylist and artist so it was no surprise when Lydia was able to create the beautiful graphics for the packaging and gifts you would have seen in your Qing Fibre 2023 - Lydia Morrow advents .
Working with Lydia our talented dyers created a colour palette inspired by the graphic colours and textures found on old firework packaging and some extra fun names to go with. It's hard to choose but my favourite colour has to be 'Static', a saturated yellow with tiny black speckles, when knitted up it gives the look of actual static how you might see on a vintage TV - how cool!
Until now Lydias 'Ballistics Bib' pattern and our Qing Fibre yarn bundles have only been available to those who bought out 2023 advents but as of today we are so excited to release these to everyone at 7pm GMT tonight (30th January) so if you missed out now is the time to knit your very own 'Ballistics Bib'.
After the advents launched and we all settled into the cosy Christmas break I had the pleasure to sit down with Lydia to catch up about her Knitting Journey and ask a couple questions from our lovely followers.
What was your first knitting project?
I started knitting when I was 7 and mostly just made scarves for... years? I made this self drafted hello kitty hat when I was 13 though and I was obsessed!
Tell me about the pattern/project you are most proud of and why?
I'm definitely the most proud of my Jeepers Jersey knitting pattern, it's the first pattern I made that was more focused on my own personal ideas and style and I felt so myself as a designer when I was writing it! I am also so proud of the way it has encouraged folks to really get excited about their own creative voices as well!
'Jeepers Jersey' by Lydia Morrow
Any advice to someone starting out knitting and any patterns you would recommend ?
I actually always say don't overdo it, start with a classic garter stitch scarf, or even just aim for a washcloth until you feel more confident with tension - I hate the idea that folks might put too much pressure on their first pieces and get put off of knitting forever. Just remember that your first few pieces can't be perfect, and that's just a part of the process of learning!
What would you like to see more of in the knitting community?
I desperately want to see more meaningful size and shape inclusion across knitting, it's not as hard as you might think. When you're fat it is very clear that a lot of designers don't care about or value your body, which is really demoralising and discouraging, and I think probably pushes a lot of new knitters away. I'd also like to see more patterns that encourage knitters to be designers, that's what I'm focusing on right now. I think a lot of people who knit don't always realise how creative and great at designing they are and I want to see pattern designers open up more of those opportunities for collaboration with knitters.
What has been your favourite part of taking part in the QF 2023 advent?
I really loved getting to focus on a really cool colourwork accessory that doesn't have to reckon with all the things that come with working on a typical garment. The whole piece feels exciting to me and I'm so hyped to see others knitting it!
Where do you like to find your inspiration for your patterns and projects?
Most of my inspiration comes from vintage knitwear. There are soooo many patterns out there that are just incredible but totally inaccessible for most modern knitters, and I love reinterpreting those styles in a 21st century way. I mostly get inspired when I see something I want to wear, which seems obvious but I think it's easy as a designer to start worrying about keeping up with trends etc. I design for myself first.
Aside from knitting what is your other favourite creative outlet?
The last 2 months I started writing again! As a kid I always wanted to be a writer but it's not something I carried on into adulthood. I am attracted to it as a hobby that is nearly impossible to monetise, it's kind of something I can enjoy for myself- but if you want to see any of the tidbits I share, I started a substack with my support worker!
If you could create your dream yarn colour and base combo what would it be?
Ooh that's really tough! For a long time I've been very staunchly a fan of superwash merino due to sensory issues and speckled yarns because they are gorgeous, but recently I've been exploring playing with more sheepy yarns and bright solid colours. My holy grail yarn is the perfect red- nearly neon, and RIGHT on the cusp between red and orange, on a wool based yarn with a little structure and very little drape so I could do something cool with silhouette- I think that's my answer!
I hope you loved hearing these answers as much as we did and find some inspiration to get your (one or many!) WIPs finished!