Local Knitting Designer, Emma Fahrlander, Weighs In On the Craft

Chunky knits were all over the fall fashion runways. I’m not sure if it’s because we need comfort or a heavy layer of protection, or both. Over the last year, several news outlets across the country reported an increase in knitting, driven both as a constructive pastime and the calming nature of the craft.

While stitching a sweater for the coming chill may appeal, I like the idea of a super chunky throw. Local knitting designer, teacher, and aficionado, Emma Fahrlander, weighs in on my chances for success.

Local knitting designer, teacher, and aficionado, Emma Fahrlander.

When did you start knitting and why?
I started knitting when I was eight years old. A family friend taught my sister and me how to knit so we could make Gryffindor scarves to wear to the midnight Harry Potter movie premiere. I never did finish that scarf, but the craft really stuck with me! It was something that kept my hands busy and calmed me down, which was huge during those tumultuous teenage years. It continues to be a source of peace and personal accomplishment for me today.

Have you knitted items for the home before?
Of course! There’s nothing cozier than home goods you make yourself. I have a couple of scrappy blankets that used up leftovers from other projects, so I got even more joy out of those projects with the sustainability factor. (Plus they look so cool and unique!) I’ve made almost too many pillows to count. You know that insurance commercial with the young adults turning into their parents? There’s the woman with so many throw pillows you can’t sit on the couch? I’m almost to that point. I’ve also given many a handmade housewarming gift to deserving loved ones. I love coming over years later to see them still in use.

Do you have any tips for someone who is just getting started?
I always tell my beginners to go easy on themselves. Everyone makes mistakes, and the key is to just keep going. I’ve yet to meet anyone who is truly incapable. Will you have to make some adjustments to technique? Absolutely, and that’s great. Knitting is knitting, any way you do it. Finally, everyone’s learning style is different. Find a teacher (or book or YouTube video) that makes sense to you.

If you were to design a chunky throw for fall, what fiber and needles would you use?
Chunky knits are indeed all the rage right now. I’d suggest a super bulky acrylic or wool blend. Something you can easily wash, because home goods should get used all the time. You’ll want some giant needles to knit those on, something in the 19 to 50 range. Think stakes for stabbing vampires you see in the movies. They’re a little cumbersome to start, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll have a finished blanket in no time!

Follow Fahrlander’s fiber adventures on Instagram, or on her site.

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