Nurture Knitwear: Maker Spotlight•
Posted on August 01 2023
Today we get to introduce you to Megan Gonzalez of Nurture Knitwear, who is not only an awesome knitwear designer, but also the newest member of our team here at Thread & Maple! She's known for her relaxing-to-knit but stunning-to-wear designs--one of which we get to share with you today. (Stay tuned to the end to grab a free pattern!)
So check out what Megan has to say about how knitting can empower women in tough situations, her #1 tip for learning something new, and exactly how crazy she was last year (hint: it involves a lot of sweaters).
You won't want to miss this Nurture Knitwear exclusive!
Nurture Knitwear Question 1
What does knitting bring into your life and what do you hope to bring to the fibre community?
I found knitting at a time when I was pretty lonely and isolated. I’d moved states—away from my family—when my firstborn was only 6 weeks old. My husband had to travel for his new job a lot. It felt like we’d barely settled in when our first Wisconsin winter set in.
Alone in the darkest, coldest winter I’d ever experienced with a baby… To say it was difficult, just doesn’t cut it.
So when spring rolled around and everyone emerged from hibernation, I knew I needed to make friends and find a community if I wanted to make it through the next winter.
I’d crocheted for about as long as I could remember, so I reached out to a local yarn store to see if they had a fiber night and was invited to come that evening.
When I did, it felt like coming home.
The shop owner and 20+ women there were so warm and inviting. They brought me in and made me feel like family from day 1. They introduced me to another woman who would become a dear friend and who introduced me to an amazing and supportive group of mothers in the area.
Within just a few weeks, I was not alone.
Not only that, but they encouraged me to start knitting even when I felt I couldn’t take on something new. And when I did, I took to it like breathing.
Knitting has brought calm into the wonderful chaos of having kids. It helped bring a sense of peace and purpose to times of difficulty, loneliness, or transition.
It’s been a rock for me. And that’s what I hope to bring to others through my patterns.
My goal with Nurture Knitwear has always been to empower women to carve out a little creative space for themselves to learn, to find peace and satisfaction, and to refill so that we can continue to pursue what (and who) we love.
Nurture Knitwear Question 2
What are your top 5 favourite knitting resources to learn new skills?
Before you start learning a new skill or trying to solve a new problem, you need to remember one thing. There are as many ways to knit as there are knitters. There is no “one right way.” There are things that could be better for your hands, could make the stitch easier, or could look more professional. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only way. So keep searching until you find something that clicks for you.
If a certain tutorial doesn’t work for you, try a different one. If you don’t like how a certain increase or bind off looks, try something else. Don’t be afraid to go at a question/issue from every angle.
And if you don’t like a certain technique, I recommend giving it 3-5 tries before you write it off for good (otherwise I would’ve never knit another sock after that first one and now they’re a fave). But you don’t have to do anything you don’t enjoy—and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
*Ahem, stepping down from my soap box now.*
Nurture Knitwear's Fave Knitting Resources
- Very Pink Knits - She's got super professional videos which have yet to lead me wrong. Be sure to check out her slow-motion series, which is fantastic for learning a new stitch.
- Suzanne Bryan - She's helped me "get" things that just haven't clicked on other tutorials. While the quality is a bit rougher on some of these videos, the tutorials are top notch!
- Purl Soho - I like that they jump straight into the techniques without any fluff at the beginning. And they're straight up pretty.
- Your Local Yarn Store/Knitting Group
Type my question into Google and check out the blog posts that are available on the subject. A lot of time and research go into those posts and they can be a treasure trove. From step-by-step photo tutorials of a single stitch to round ups of 20+ stretchy bind offs, you can find a post for any question or skill.
Fave learning blogs:
- Ysolda - She's got fabulous (and gorgeous) tutorials from knitting basics to new designer necessities.
- Tin Can Knits - This designing duo has a ton of resources for learning different techniques, but also for putting your own stamp on their patterns.
- Nurture Knitwear! - I've got some great tutorials for beginning knitters looking to take their skills to the next level!
- Facebook Groups
I was fortunate enough to purchase someone’s entire collection of knitting books, and I love flipping through for ideas and inspiration as well as learning how to do something. If you don’t have your own knitting library, head to the actual library! They’ve usually got a whole section of instructional and pattern books for you to peruse and learn.
Nurture Knitwear Question 3
What inspires and influences your designs? Are there any particular designers or artists you look up to?
Wow. What a question. I find it’s different things for different designs. Sometimes I start with a sketch or a stitch pattern. Sometimes I know the name and want to create something that evokes a feeling.
I’m signed up for a lot of design calls—when a magazine or company is looking for designs for a new collection they send out a description of the collection and a moodboard to all the designers signed up to the call list. I LOVE these. The prompts push me to think outside of the box. And even if the design isn’t chosen for the collection, the idea behind it often turns out to be a favorite.
I’m going to super cliché for a moment because my original inspiration was/is Andrea Mowry. There’s something so playful in her designs and I love her fearless obsession with certain techniques… because I totally do the same thing. Last year, sweaters were my obsession and no kidding, I knit 13. Yeah, I’m crazy.
I am also totally inspired by indie dyers who are 100% artists. I literally just bought a skein of yarn from The Fiber Seed to hang on my wall as art. And this spring Longdog Yarns came out with a Lord of the Rings color line that inspired a whole sock trilogy this summer (see above, also do you know how many trios there are in LOTR?!?). I also have been known to pick up a skein of yarn and say “this needs to be a lace sweater” with a picture of the whole thing in my head.
And for any aspiring designers out there, remember that inspiration tends to come in waves. I will sketch 15 different ideas in 3 days and wonder how in the world I will ever have time to knit them all. Then I will go months without feeling like I have a single original idea. Embrace the cycle. The ideas will come back. Don’t worry. Enjoy the ride!
Connect with Megan
Remember that Free Pattern We Mentioned?
You can get the popular Nurture Knitwear pattern, Lakes of Titan, for FREE when you join our newsletter.
Just sign up in the footer below and we'll send a free copy straight to your inbox!
(Current subscribers check the Aug 3 email for your copy 😉)
Thanks, Megan, for the pattern and for sharing your knitting story. We totally understand knitting through emotions and are so happy you found your way to the knitting community.
Stay tuned this month for some awesome new releases and a big sale, happening soon!
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