I love hearing people talk about why they make. When there is so much tugging at our attention, demanding our time, and still, people choose to make textiles by hand. This is such a testament to the joy and happiness making can bring.
Today, I continue my series of interviews with this upcoming year's Pro-Verbial designers...
We always try to choose one designer who is local to us as we like to support fellow Californians working in knitwear - and this year that is Ksenia. We love her bold, clean lines coupled with intriguing combinations of stitches. Her designs are elegant and wearable - the perfect combination.
5 Questions with Ksenia
1. You design under the name Life is Cozy. As fellow lovers of keeping warm and coziness, we are curious as to how you incorporate coziness into your designs. And how coziness makes you feel.
For me, coziness is a feeling of comfort, of a warm hug, of being bundled up in a soft blanket in front of the fire. It embodies safety and a true feeling of home. I try to translate this sensation into knits. My sweater designs often play with volume - think balloon and bishop sleeves, straight silhouettes, and a generous amount of positive ease. Shawls mostly feature just one or two colors and center on texture, drape, and generous size. I hope these pieces can provide the comfort and coziness of a handknit hug to their wearers.
2. What are your favorite colors to knit with/wear? Why?
I love to knit with lighter colors, especially creams and shades of pink and yellow. I feel like they show the textures best, and my designs are known to be texture-centered. These colors also comprise a good 80% of my wardrobe :) But sometimes I can't say no to a gorgeous saturated forest green or a dark garnet red.
3. How do you like to style your handknits?
My most worn handknit pieces are cardigans, and they easily play together with flowy midi dresses and high-waisted pants I wear a lot. And because a lot of my designs are completed in a very structured color palette, I am not shy combining several of them in one outfit. I just try to balance the textures so that they highlight each other instead of playing tug of war. For example, you can see me wearing a stockinette stitch top with a cardigan embellished with cables and bobbles on top, and a quiet texture scarf (think simple lace or travelling stitches) for extra coziness.
4. What motivated or inspired you to begin designing your own knitwear?
I was born and raised in Ukraine, where I received a degree in mathematics and worked in the field for many years. During that time, I used to knit and crochet to relax & express my creativity. I even had a small Etsy shop with handknits, mostly scarves and cowls. We moved to San Francisco in 2015, and our life changed drastically. It only felt natural to finally give my lifelong passion for fiber arts a proper chance. Designing comes instinctively to me. Also, numbers and spreadsheets are my friends and I’m not afraid of grading patterns to numerous sizes thanks to my mathematical background. So it was decided, and I switched to designing and writing patterns full time.
Knitting to me is a perfect pairing of pure creativity with solid math. It is a magical tool for translating ethereal inspiration into physical objects, and I don’t think it will ever stop to amaze me.
5. You are local to the Bay Area, how does living here inspire your work?
You've probably already heard everything I can say about the beauty of our nature and architecture. I live in San Mateo and drive up to San Francisco weekly for a knitting meeting with my friends. This means I always need to wear a few layers to be ready for a whole spectrum of microclimates our area is famous for. Surprisingly, this has been one of the main drivers for my design inspiration! Because of such a need I'm in constant search of new layering ideas, so shawls, cardigans, scarves, vests, and ruanas make up the parliament of my designing queendom.
We've had a sneak peek of her Pro-Verbial design and we promise you it is gorgeous.
Please join us for Year 14 of the Pro-Verbial Club.