London-based knitwear designer and podcaster, Nathan Taylor will be making an appearance at Knitty City on August 27 from 2-4pm. Nathan has been knitting since October 2011 and although he started with socks, his passion is now double knitting. We are impressed by his 40+ designs he offers on Ravelry: a wide variety of socks, accessories and gorgeous double-knitted items.
With his upbeat energy, funny and friendly demeanor, Nathan has proven to be a successful podcaster. Over the course of only two years, he has accumulated quite the following on his YouTube channel called Sockmatician. He is also prolific on Instagram, @Sockmatician, where you can follow his knitting adventures.
We are very excited that we will have a chance to meet him. Longtime followers will be happy to have a chance to finally meet him off screen and in real life!
We would love for you to get to know Nathan a bit better and we asked him several questions:
Q and A with Sockmatician Nathan Taylor
Q: When did you start knitting, who taught you? Do you do other crafts as well?
A: I initially began knitting at the age of about eight. My older sister had been given a kit to make a Pink Panther stuffed toy, and as I always wanted to do whatever she did, naturally, I want to make one as well. Sadly, the kit only included enough yarn for one toy and only one pair of needles, so my mum raided her cupboard under the stairs and found some really thick needles and some REALLY thin , dark green yarn. Undeterred, I set about learning how to follow the pattern, and I made myself a dark green pink panther! He is a bit like a string vest, with the laciest of open gauge. And he shows more stuffing through the fabric than fabric itself. But I still have him and I am very proud of him.
Fast forward nearly thirty years, and I hadn't knitted anything since! A few friends who knitted, and were always trying to convince me to take it up, saying that it would appeal to the way my brain works. But I just wasn't interested. They finally bullied me into learning how to knit a sock and that was it: I was sold!
Q: What items do you like to knit the most?
A: Anything with the double-knitting technique. I just love the feel of a double-knitted scarf or shawl. the fabric is unlike any other type of knitting. It has a density to it that makes it super warm, but still has wonderful drape, which you wouldn't get from a thicker, single-sided fabric. I love nothing better than having one yarn in each hand. In fact, I feel almost naked when I knit only one color! I am utterly evangelical about it, and now go around the world teaching people how to do double-knitting. My aim is to take over the knitting world, one double- knitter at a time, and I think I am well on the way to achieving that!
I still have a fondness for socks too, and I have always got a pair of vanilla socks on the go for when only mindless knitting will do.
Q: You also design, how did that come about?
A: It genuinely happened by accident. When I first started knitting socks, I was looking at patterns, trying to decide what I wanted to make. I couldn't find a single pattern that I wanted to knit exactly as it was. There was always something I didn't like about it, so I would move on to the next one. After browsing hundreds of patterns, I realized that the only thing for it, would be to come up with something of my own that would suit all of my tastes. And this designer was born!
Q: We see you have a design published in Vogue Knitting Magazine. Care to tell us a bit about it?
A: That’s the 42nd and Lexington Double-Knitted Shawl! Vogue Knitting Magazine re-named it Semicircular Double-Knit Shawl. I’m very proud of it. I got an email out of the blue, from someone at VK, asking if I would be interested in designing a piece of double-knitting for them. Would I?!! Bear in mind, I was a relatively new designer at that point, and had only had one pattern published in a magazine, so this was more exciting than I knew how to deal with.
The shawl itself is based on the Chrysler Building, right here in New York City. It has always been one of my favourite buildings, and as NYC is my favourite city, I wanted to craft as many elements of the the building into the shawl. It’s quite a beast: it includes sections of double-knitted lace, as well as a really unusual five-segmented structure, incorporates three colours, and features a pointed triangular edging that requires DK German short rows, which I first of all had to figure out how to do, as I don’t think anyone had ever documented them before. Because DK is reversible, with different colours on each side, with the greys and silvers that I chose for the shawl, you get Chrysler by day on one side, and Chrysler by night on the other.
Q: Can you tell us why you felt compelled to start a podcast?
A: I realised that the knitting community was gathering even more momentum, and I wanted to find a way to reach out and engage with people that I wouldn’t otherwise come across in my day-to-day life. The internet was the perfect place for that, as it unites people all around the world. Podcasting seemed the natural platform for me, as I’m an actor in my other life, with a long career in West End musicals, so performing doesn’t daunt me in any way and I knew I’d be comfortable in front of the camera. It has proved to be more rewarding than I could have anticipated, and I have made some wonderful friends online, many of whom I’m slowly getting to meet in real life, and that’s exactly why I want to visit Knitty City, so that I could touch base with some of my New York friends in the flesh for the first time.
Q: You have built a great community around your podcast, what does this mean to you?
A: It’s just wonderful. It seems that the people who watch my podcast are all as bonkers as I am, so they all fit together really well! We laugh a lot (I include a regular Grammar Rant spot in the podcast, which always seems to get people fired up!), we support each other through not only difficult knitting experiences, but some people have allowed us to share their lives’ journeys, and we can all support each other through some of those times too. It’s wonderful know that someone is sending you love from across the world in times of need. I love my podcast family—my OSAATers*, as I call them, and I wouldn’t change them for the world!
*OSAAT is my personal mantra and catch phrase, and it stands for “One Stitch at a Time,” It’s a reminder that no matter how complicated the finished project, it’s only ever One Stitch at a Time. That’s a good thing to remember in life too, and it’s how I sign off each podcast episode I record. Incidentally, I have learnt that “Osaat” is a Finnish word that means “You can!” That couldn’t be more perfect!