Issue 7: Lee Landis
At what age did you start knitting? How did you learn to knit?
I have been knitting since I was about 10 years old. My parents worked late all the time, so we were stuck in aftercare after school. There was a teacher, Ms. Evans and she taught all the little girls how to knit, it was very cute, I haven’t stopped knitting since.
How do you work/what is your creative process?
I work with a lot of thrifted, budget yarns and materials so I really just do my best with working with what I have and making whatever I can with that, I think that really sparks my creativity. I also really love experimenting with lots of different patterns. I never make the same thing twice because I get bored easily.
What motivates you to create?
I love fashion and it’s so satisfying to wear something that you made and being able to show that off. Being able to share my talents with other people is really cool.
How would you say your upbringing is reflected in your work?
Growing up frugal has helped in the sense of being sustainability like I said. I use a lot of thrifted materials; I unravel things and really do the most. I spent a lot of time alone as a child and grew up with two younger sisters and my mom, so we would always be crafty, and my mom provided a space to have creative freedom with whatever mediums we wanted to. I fell into knitting and have never stopped.
Has being a part of knitted nonsense inspired you as a textile artist?
It’s really cool to be able to share skills with one another, we have been able to do show and tells and whatnot. Being in the same room as so many other artists is so inspiring, so it makes me want to keep continuing this as others gain interest and want to learn.
Did your interest in knitting and crocheting influence your decision to go to school for fashion design?
Definitely, I knew I always wanted to do something in art. I knew graphic design or painting or whatever would not be my strong suite so fashion design it was. I feel like the art of textiles is underappreciated, but younger people are growing more and more interested in textiles as a medium of art.
How do you practice sustainability in your work?
I often thrift for supplies and reuse what I have. I save scraps to put them to use in a future project. My family gives me a lot of yarn that they find, from garage sales, barn sales, I will take whatever can be made into something.
What would you suggest to somebody who had just started to knit?
Definitely to keep practicing because it can be very frustrating. Stick with it and make what you want to make rather than forcing yourself to do commissions or what other people want you to make. Knitting and arts and crafts in general should be stress free, and to make a fulfilling piece of art means doing what you want.
What’s the most rewarding part of knitting?
When something I make fits me its really satisfying. I don’t like to use patterns I usually just freehand my pieces, as it’s difficult to figure out the right gauge and I’m smaller than most of the pattern sizes out there. Once a garment fits you and looks better than you imagined it to be, it’s just so satisfying. People will compliment my pieces and you say you made it is just super cool. It’s a privilege to be able to make what you want and be able to make a living doing what you love.