Sadly, Sue Blacker passed away in April 2021.
Tell us a little about yourself. What other things do you do apart from design?
I run The Natural Fibre Company which spin yarns commissioned by trade and farming customers: we spin both woollen and worsted spun yarns and also dye, all of which can be done to organic standards. We also make our own brand of knitting/crochet yarns, Blacker Yarns.
What attracts you to knitting/crochet as distinct from any other craft(s)?
The tactile nature of the making and the numbers and thinking in 3D make knitting and crochet fascinating for me, and they are also very sociable crafts as one can do them in company with others.
How do you get started on a design? Where does the inspiration come from?
Usually I get inspired by a combination of the yarn and some textural ideas, sometimes also by developments of our existing designs.
Do you ever start with a yarn and design something with it in mind?
Who knits up the patterns?
I will knit up a new design or at least a swatch and then we have a couple of excellent knitters who help out, critique and usually improve on our patterns.
When you look back at the items you’ve designed, how has your work evolved? Which is your favourite of your designs?
I think it has become more ambitious … my favourite is always the next one! One rather modest design is our V-necked slipover, which is very popular as it is simple, classic and has a wide range of sizes along with a couple of interesting variations.
If you could only design one type of garment/accessory, what would it be?
Which yarn fibres do you most like to work in?
What design plans do you have for the next year?
Some ideas for combining differing gauges of yarn in the same garment and including simple lace panels to create texture and striping … along with all the half-baked ideas which I have still not got around to completing!
What does KCG mean to you?
An inspiring collection of expertise and friendly networking, along with a sense of history.
How might KCG use its Collection to gain new members?
More publicity and travelling displays, possibly working in partnership to send out displays to shows or to mills and shops?
As KCG approaches its 40th anniversary in 2018, what would you like to see it achieve in the next 10 years?
More members and keep up the additional strengths developed in the last few years – the website in particular is a great resource, though not well enough known.
You can see more of Sue's work, patterns and yarns for sale on her website.