Designer Interview! Lily Ubbelohde

It’s time to get to know the Holla Knits designers! All week I’m featuring interviews with the designers that have contributed to the Spring Summer Holla Knits collection, and today it’s Lily Ubbelohde, designer of Romp Around the Clock.

Lily Ubbelohde

1. When did you first fall in love with knitting?

I started knitting in high school when one of my close friends was going through a tough time. I figured the best solution was a hand knit scarf, so I googled “how to knit” grabbed some chunky yarn and large needles and never looked back. I spent a lot of years knitting scarves and hats. I was really nervous about following patterns or messing things up. I was convinced that I had to see someone else do it before I could do it myself. Since I’ve made my first sweater, and started knitting with Allyson, I’ve made it a point to try more difficult and scary things and continually push myself to figure things out.

2. What made you want to start designing?

I started designing because there wasn’t a pattern for what I wanted to knit! In one of my first classes with Allyson I told her, I want to knit a romper, tickled with the idea that someone could knit something so delightful and hilarious. I think the idea of spending so much time knitting something lends it a seriousness and gravity that isn’t always in line with the actual object. (see: rompers for adults, narwhals, guinea pig sweaters) Two years after this proclamation I’m actually seeing my crazy idea come to fruition! This is the first design I’ve ever done and I’ve learned so much from the process. I definitely don’t think I’ll stop here and I’ve got a little sketch book filling up with lots of ideas. Thinking of what I like to wear or details I want in a piece has really helped me get an idea of where my projects will go. I’m mostly interested in designing so I can have great clothes that I can wear. If I can share them with other people and they like them, that’s just a bonus!

3. What was the best design you’ve ever knit?

This is a difficult question to answer because I feel like I get something out of everything I knit even if I end up hating it or hate knitting it along the way. Hands down in terms of success though I have to go with Beatnik by Norah Gaughan. I knit this project as one of Allyson’s knit alongs. It was a fun, engaging, and challenging project. Not only did I love making it but I wear it more than any other thing I’ve made, ever. The fit and color are so flattering and work so well with everything else in my wardrobe and I love being able to point to my sweater and tell people I made it myself. The cables, although fun to knit, are much more impressive looking than they really are to execute.

4. Who is your favorite designer/who are some of your favorite designers?

The world of knit wear design still feels so new and fresh to me, for so many years when I was making hats and scarves I just made up my projects as I went along following the general template I had learned. I feel so overwhelmed by how many people and names there are out there but these are a few people who’s work I’ve been drawn to:

Alexis Winslow always has such interesting colors and patterns in her work. I’m knitting the Delancey Cardigan as part of a Sweatshop of Love Knit Along right now and I love not only the final look of the sweater (stripes!) but the unique construction.

Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark. I loved her feature in the Interweave Knits (Spring 2012) and I can’t wait to knit up the Seberg Sweater for myself.

I first got to know Cirilia Rose through twitter but I love how wearable so many of her designs are. I can see them fitting right into my closet seamlessly.

Hannah Fettig. I love the look of Hannah’s designs but I have to admit that I rarely have the patience to knit them. A half finished Feather Weight Cardigan can attest to this. None the less, I love to see her projects when she launches them they always have such beautiful drape and form to them.

5. If you weren’t a knitter/knitwear designer, what would you be doing?

As this is my first design I don’t know if I feel comfortable calling myself a knit wear designer quite yet, maybe with a few more projects under my belt I will. As much time as knitting and crafting take in my life I still manage to find time for many other things. I am starting a modern dance company in Chicago this year (Grey Matter Dance) with a close friend of mine, Maggie Bridger. I love to bake and cook. I’ve recently gotten into painting and refinishing furniture, as well as working on my home decorating skills. And if I couldn’t do any of those things or I got to pick a different life, I think I’d like to be a restaurant critic. Eating delicious food and writing about it, sounds like my cup of tea!

2 responses to “Designer Interview! Lily Ubbelohde

  1. I love that you are accomplishing so much with your knitting! I remember your hats and scarves in the studio and some of my favorite dance memories include needles & yarn. I can’t wait to see your company perform (great excuse for a trip to Chicago for us). Lily rocks it out.