Angharad Thomas

Tell us a little about yourself. What other things do you do apart from design?

When I’m not knitting or volunteering at the KCG collection I might be walking, gardening, standing on my head (yoga), or trying to play my accordion, not all at once!

What attracts you to knitting/crochet as distinct from any other craft(s)?

I was brought up during that time when knitting was what girls and women did when they were sitting down and when making a garment yourself was a lot cheaper than going to the shop and buying it. So I knitted myself cardigans and jumpers that I wore from the age of about 11. I learned to crochet when it became trendy in the late 60s. I also machine knit which is quite different from hand knitting but has the same satisfaction of designing and making things.

How do you get started on a design? Where does the inspiration come from?

I am very keen on a design input and the inspiration can come from more or less anywhere – garments, adverts, the natural world, exhibitions – it really depends what I’m wanting to convey.

Do you ever start with a yarn and design something with it in mind?

It depends what I’m doing. I don’t often design for yarn companies but if I have yarn in my stash that I want to use then of course I will design with this in mind.

Who knits up the patterns?

I used to get my mother to knit things for me but sadly it’s just me now!

When you look back at the items you’ve designed, how has your work evolved? Which is your favourite of your designs?

My work has become simpler and more refined. I’ve been through the neon pink with beads, paint and shells stage and now I tend to keep designs much more focused.

If you could only design one type of garment/accessory, what would it be?

At the moment, gloves, mitts and anything for the hands.

Which yarn fibres do you most like to work in?

Wool or wool rich mixtures. I think wool lends itself to knitting and I don’t mind a small proportion of polyamide (Nylon) to aid wear in items like gloves and socks.

What design plans do you have for the next year?

More gloves, which will eventually be exhibited I hope, and perhaps more work for magazines like Knitting Traditions. Personally I have my eye on a large bag of my mother’s handspun yarns for a crochet blanket, and some recycled denim yarn in my stash for something for me as I never have anything I’ve knitted to wear to knitting events like Guild meetings. I also have some lime green 3ply wool on a cone which would machine knit into a very nice cardigan … but all these have been waiting some while already.

What does KCG mean to you?

KCG means the collection to me, mainly. The collection has come to mean a lot as I have found out what it has and the potential for involving others with it, whether they are Guild members, students or just interested individuals.

It also means representing the Guild at events such as the Knitting and Stitching shows and at other events I go to like the Estonian Craft Camp in July 2015.

How might KCG use its Collection to gain new members?

If we can let people see what is in the collection through the KCG web site and other digital media then they can use it for design inspiration or study. Then they can visit and see items in ‘real life’ as it were and enjoy seeing these amazing things close up. The availability of vintage patterns from the collection free for members should be a big attraction as there is such an amazing selection, and all part of the membership fee.

As KCG approaches its 40th anniversary in 2018, what would you like to see it achieve in the next 10 years?

Security for the collection

More access to the collection in real life

More access to the collection digitally

Funds to enable outreach work with the collection possibly with artists or community workers

An oral history project about knitting and crochet to capture memories and histories of items in the collection while donors and makers are able to do this.

You can follow Angharad's work on her blog