Susan B. Anderson is a popular knitwear designer who's probably best known for her wee knits for babies and adorable toys (check out my review of her book Itty-Bitty Toys).
She's also a blogger with a well-organized legion of fans that took her to the top of the heap in the 2012 About.com Knitting Readers' Choice Awards category of favorite knitting blog. I talked to Susan about how she got her start knitting little things, what's in store for her next and why she loves blogging. Enjoy.
About: How and when did you learn to knit?
Susan B. Anderson: I learned to knit as a teenager. I was 19 years old, working as a lifeguard at a neighborhood pool. I bought a how-to-knit pamphlet and some yarn and needles at a fabric store, and during the off-duty breaks from lifeguarding I taught myself to knit. I fell in love with knitting that summer. Since that time I have never been without multiple projects on the needles.
About: You’re probably best known for your adorable knit toys. How did you get into that genre of knitting?
SBA: While writing my second book, Itty-Bitty Nursery, I decided to design a few toys to include in the book. The first toy I designed is called Chubby Bunny, and it was like a light switched on while I was working on that toy. I fell in love with toy design at that point and it has become one of my favorite items to create.
About: Would you say toys are your favorite thing to knit or do you have another favorite type of project?
SBA: I don’t know if I have a single favorite item to knit. I actually enjoy all kinds of knitting projects from baby and kid items, hats, women’s accessories and sweaters. Of course, toy knitting will always have a top spot on my list of favorites. I basically love it all!
About: Where do you get your inspiration for designs?
SBA: I get inspiration from all over the place including children’s literature, nature, photography, ceramics, illustrations, children’s toys, and from my own kids. I am always thinking about designs and how to make things work. I get a lot of ideas when I am out on my daily run and then when I get home I have to quickly write my new ideas down before I forget them.
About: How do you describe your style?
SBA: As far as toys are concerned, I would say fun, sometimes clever and always do-able. As far as my other designs, I would say simple, modern and often with an added twist.
About: Do you have a favorite book of yours or a favorite project from one of your books?
SBA: Itty-Bitty Hats, my first book, might have to be the favorite book of mine simply because it was the starting point for my knitting career. Everything about that book was exciting, magical and new and it was and still is so well received. Things really took off for me after Itty-Bitty Hats was released in 2006 and I am forever grateful for that baby hat book.
About: Any new projects in the works?
SBA: Yes, I have a new book coming out in the spring of 2013. It will be my fifth book with Artisan Books. I am finishing that up right now and I am really excited about it. I have lots of other projects in the works that will hopefully be released in the near future. I am doing a lot of self-publishing of single patterns lately, too, which is fun. I’m keeping busy.
About: Your blog was named the favorite among readers in the 2012 About.com Knitting Readers’ Choice awards. Why do you think your blog is so popular (and your fans so devoted)?
SBA: First, I have to say that I am honored to receive this award. Thank you to those who voted! I appreciate it.
As far as the blog goes, I sincerely love my knitting and family life, and my blog. I try to keep things honest and informative but always light, upbeat and fun. My hope is that people feel good and are inspired when they share their time with me on the blog. I feel fortunate that people have responded so positively to my blog and my knitting. Without the interaction of the loyal and fun readers there wouldn’t be a blog.
I am always thankful to the blog readers and knitters in general for adding so much joy to my life.
About: When did you start the blog? Why did you want to blog?
SBA: I started blogging in the fall of 2006 right after my first book tour for Itty-Bitty Hats ended. I met all of these great knitters who wanted to keep up and keep in touch with me so when I returned home I started writing my blog. I wanted to create a happy online spot where I could share my love of knitting and family.
About: What’s your favorite part of blogging?
SBA: My favorite part of blogging is the interaction I have with the readers. I have had so many mothers and grandmothers send me photos of their new babies and children wearing an Itty-Bitty Hat or swaddled in an Itty-Bitty baby blanket or sweater. I have had e-mails and comments from people with elderly or ill family members who have knit a toy to brighten their days. I have heard from countless charities all doing so much good in the world through knitting. I also get to hear from new and experienced knitters who are inspired to try something new because they saw it on the blog. I love all of the response. It's the heartwarming stories big and small, and the words of appreciation and encouragement that make blogging so worthwhile. I have fun with it and I always look forward to posting a new entry.
Thanks, Susan, for taking the time to talk, and congratulations!