J.L. Fleckenstein comes from a family of artists and problem solvers. She sees creating things as a way of communicating something worthwhile, and one of her preferred mediums is yarn.
Last fall, J.L. created Aila, a cozy cowl knit in Berroco Ultra Alpaca. She says inspiration started with the yarn – one hank each of Lavender Mix and Pea Soup Mix that she found in her stash. The colors are worked beautifully together in a two-tone mock cable stitch that’s attractive from either side. You can get this free pattern on Ravelry, which included instructions for both short and medium length cowls.
When did you learn to knit?
When I was six years old my aunt taught my sister and [me] how to knit and crochet. I carry a vivid picture in my mind of that moment in time. Ever since then I have always had knitting needles, crochet hooks and yarn in my possession and creative fiber ideas in my mind.
Any interesting stories about your process?
My creative process usually begins with dream-like imaginings. I see a painting forming clearly in my mind in brush strokes, building and evolving until I have a clear concept of the piece I want to create. The same thing happens when I am designing something for knitting. I start imagining something in my mind, perhaps first inspired by a color. Then I sort of start painting various knitted forms and textures in my mind until I feel I have something definitive I want to go forward with. This often happens when I am trying to go to sleep at night.
If you could knit something for anyone in the world, it would be…?
…a sweater for my Dad. I planned to design and knit this fantastic, cuddly, shawl collar sweater for him. I could imagine how warm he would be in it, how special he would feel wearing it. I have a picture of him in my mind wearing that sweater, his white hair glowing above the collar and the sweetest smile on his face. He passed away two years ago and I had not been able to get the sweater done yet. I would love to be able to go back in time and make that sweater for him and give him a big hug while he had it on.
What’s your favorite thing about knitting?
Love. I think of all the things I have knit over the years and mostly, it has been for other people. No matter what it is I am knitting, love is at the heart of it. I think that is probably true for most knitters. We knit for others, we knit out of love and the fibers of those knitted items carry love in all of those stitches and knits and mistakes.