Anabela: You're self-taught as a knitter, so why don't talk about what inspired you to start, and how you kept it up?
Tara-Lynn: At the time I was becoming interested in textile and craft. Something about knitting just resonated and I liked the instant gratification of it. Having this ball of wool that I could turn into something: it just amazed me. I relied mostly on library books. It became an obsession. I used any yarn I could get my hands on.
A: How do you design your pieces?
T-L: It always starts with an idea and a shape. I usually start sketching things, then knit swatches. I like it to look easy, and not contrived. It has to feel like it all happened organically, because when I try to force things it never works. I don't get too technical – I mean obviously I do, once I get the pattern written – but in the beginning it's just trial and error.
A: Do you try to work with the yarn available to you or do you seek out a yarn that fits your vision?
T-L: It's both. At this point I exclusively use South American wool. It's everything I desire, with hand spun textures, hand dyed colours, and it’s fair trade. The merino & alpaca wools I knit with feel closest to a natural state, with their natural hues intact.
A: How do you feel when you knit?
T-L: I recently took a break from knitting, because I have a lot of pain related to it. I'd finished the samples for this season, but I found I couldn't not knit. I didn't last a day. It's meditative for me, and I feel that I am my most myself when I'm knitting.
A: A few years ago you made your patterns available for sale for the first time. How do you feel about that decision now?
T-L: It was extremely liberating to make the patterns available. Even though knitting is so solitary, we really are a community, and I wanted other people to know that they could do this
A: What have been some of your career highlights so far?
T-L: Working alongside creatives & other artists I really respect. I am always overwhelmed by this community of independent, supportive women I have met. German Vogue used a headband in an editorial. No matter what happens, I was in Vogue.
A: How do your lookbooks come together?
T-L: Models are usually always friends or friends of the photographer, and this seems to always bring out the most authentic representation. The lookbooks are what I look forward to the most. I love the styling, which is so important to me.
A: You like to keep the makeup light and the styling simple, not overdone.
T-L: Absolutely. This last one we shot was the first time we've shot outdoors and I have always wanted the knits to be shown in this way. The photographer, Arden [Wray], has a very natural and intimate aesthetic, and so it really was a dream.
A: Can you see yourself doing this forever?
T-L: For. Ever. No. But a version of this forever? Sure. I'd have to always be this personally invested and hands on. I'd like to grow it for the makers if I could, and always offering limited edition knits.
A: This, but bigger.
T-L: Bigger, but still me.
all photos c/o anabela piersol (of fieldguided), knit issue 3 q&a