Knightsbridge Collection Feature / Tilly: Life as a Design Student

For the next couple of weeks we'll be profiling the designers featured in the Knightsbridge Collection with some insight into their process, tips + tricks about their garment or accessory, fun interviews, and other little tid-bits. We hope you enjoy getting to know the Kelbourne Woolens team and contributing designers. To view the full pattern line, check out the Knightsbridge Collection on Ravelry here

For today's post, Meghan, who works with us at KW headquarters, will talk about her dual life as textile design student and hand-knitter. 

MLK: I live to knit!  Or is it that I knit to live?  I guess both are true. Besides working for Kate and Courtney at Kelbourne Woolens, I am a full time graduate student at Philadelphia University studying textile design with a knitwear concentration.  

I stumbled on the textile program almost by accident. After living in Chicago, my husband accepted a job in Philadelphia. In the first week in our new city, my mom and I walked my dogs down the street and saw a tree covered campus. I looked it up, and to my great surprise, I found that the school was known for having one of the best textile design programs in the country. Shortly after I started school, I was hired as an intern for Kelbourne.  My knitting hobby was coming full circle!

Now that I’m ending my 3 year grad school experience, instead of becoming tired of knitting, I find that I enjoy it more and more all the time. I have had the opportunity to design for Kelbourne, and I found that as a newbie designer, I have a lot to learn!  I think that’s the really great thing about knitting; as much as you know (and I feel like I really know knitting) there is always so much left to learn and discover.  (The same could be said for crocheting, sewing, anything…..life….)

One of the surprising things I discovered immediately, but still ponder on a daily basis, is that my hand-knitting and my machine knitting ideas are completely separate. It is as if they live in different parts of my brain. The stitches of hand knits and machine knits are the same, and, for the most part, the end products are of the same ilk, but their development into being proceeds on such different paths that they feel unrelated. While machine knitting is light-years faster, there are limitations. The machine cannot do what a pair of needles in my hands can do without hesitation. While working on my recent collection of knits last semester, I was also designing and knitting the Tilly Legwarmers. While I was working on making an interesting cable detail for the legwarmers, in studio at school I was only concerned with different ways color and texture interact in one piece to create depth in a relatively flat piece of fabric.  

I find this disconnectedness between my two knitting activities to be rather comforting.  I love being in studio, geeking out on the knitting computer, building programs and then testing my ideas on the electronic Shima Seiki knitting machine.  But when my eyes and body get tired, I can go home, sit on the couch with my husband and dogs and pick up my hand-knitting and relax.  Because they are such different activities, the latter retains its effect as my relaxing hobby and doesn’t impede on my desire to continue to learn machine knitting. Maybe one day my two knitting worlds will meet but it is fine if they don’t. I live to knit!  And hopefully someday in the future I’ll be knitting full time to live my life and support my hobby!

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If you love this post on the Knightsbridge Collection, check out our other features here.