Posted by sarah on September 6, 2012 / Leave a Comment
Portlander Sivia Harding has continued to wow us with her creative patterns and exquisite designs. Read on to hear what’s shaped her style, and don’t miss out on the classes she’ll be teaching this month and next, at Happy Knits!
I’ve read about your beginnings with fiber arts, but can you tell me a bit about that, then more on how you got started with knitting?
I taught myself how to knit in the year 2000. I had moved to Canada in 1998 and had left all of my fiber tools and equipment behind out of necessity. I had done just about everything except for knitting. I was mostly a weaver in those days. I was terribly, terribly bored and frustrated after a while in my new home. One very serendipitous day, I went into the public library and checked out a video on learning how to knit. It wasn’t a very good video but it taught me the basics. It was all downhill from there. I was immediately obsessed.
Many of your patterns are for fancier designs, many of which are to be adorned. What draws you to this type of design? And to knitting with beads?
This is such a good question. In another life I was probably one of those people who went blind from embroidering magnificent, complicated things. I always start out designing “fancy” and step back to what I call simplicity. I want my designs to be enjoyable and intuitive to knit, and I really think they are, once you get past the surface look of it. Beads came in because I saw how much more beautiful lace patterns were when ornamented with a few salient beads. I can’t remember exactly when that happened, but it didn’t take long. Beauty calls me, and beads and lace are beautiful!
You offer instruction for a number of different designs – is there one that you enjoy teaching the most? And do you feel knitters at any level are capable of mastering these?
The most enjoyable one would have to be Harmonia’s Rings. Any knitter can master the Moebius technique as given to us by Cat Bordhi, and when I offer my particular take on the form, light bulbs start turning on and it gets really fun. Other than that, everyone can learn the simple bead techniques and how to make their knitting unique and beautiful with the addition of beads. Most if not all of my classes include those.
What’s your favorite kind of yarn to work with, for your various projects, and why?
Well, hmm…I am definitely a yarn junkie and love all kinds of yarn!! I must say that luxury yarns call the loudest for my particular projects. I love beautiful, soft yarn! Silk and cashmere blends call pretty loud.
I’ve heard you’re a big fan of thrifting for materials to use in your crafting – what does this kind of activity add to your art?
This is just me… I am a thrifter from way back. I envy people who find wonderful caches of yarn and notions in thrift stores, but I have never been particularly lucky that way. I do find most of my home furnishings that way though, not to mention fabric and clothes. It is a major pastime. As far as what it adds to my art, hmm. Perhaps just an attitude of not wasting anything. Materials are precious after all.
What else can you tell me more about yourself, and how you connect to your work? Are there other activities that you enjoy as much, or more, than knitting, and fiber arts?
I just started sewing on a treadle sewing machine and I am pretty obsessed with that right now. I also love gardening, since I just moved into a house with an actual yard to call my own. Films and books figure large, too.