Hi makers! Kelly here, featuring another amazing yarn artisan for our How To Wear It blog series! The OML team loves to connect with makers and celebrate our unique styles, and the stunning work of Ash Alberg, the talented designer behind Sunflower Knit, is joining us here on the blog to showcase a most gorgeous knit sweater design.
How does Ash describe her HTWI style?: Beautiful, Practical, and Sustainable.
Ash says they have a personal style philosophy that's complete with red lipstick, dresses, cozy layers and boots - perfectly showcasing how knitwear design can reflect a lot of aesthetic. Everything about Ash's designs, from the fibre itself to the stitches chosen and incorporated into a pattern, is inspired by the natural world in some way. Ash's knit night crew jokes that their colour palette is "non-colour"...and that they're totally on board with that. We're excited to get a glimpse into the magical world of Sunflower Knits with Ash. Ready to join us? Let's go!
Hi makers! Ash of Sunflower Knits here.
All of these photos were taken during my road trip around Iceland with two dear friends, Samson Learn and Marshall Haywood. Samson is also the photographer I use for my books, and the purpose of this road trip was to shoot all the designs for my new book with yoth yarns, Ferðaskór (travelling shoes), and to interview local players of the Icelandic Fibreshed. Conveniently for me, Samson also captures a lot of candid photos, so the photos are a combination of pattern shots and candids.
Warm and Practical
This photo was taken in our campground on the eastern coast of Iceland. I was cold constantly during our trip, so I was grateful to have so many knits to bury myself under! I lived (and slept) in the sweater, hverir, and luckily Yoth's father base puts up with some pretty harsh wearing. I also had on mosa (the hat), Fjörður (the massive cowl, which I always wrap around my head 4 times so I can bury as much of my face into it as possible), and Norðurljós (the mitts). You can't see them, but I also had a pair of yarrow handshoes underneath the mitts. I have no circulation in my hands, so I have to keep quite a few layers around them once the temperature drops. Most of our trip had daytime temperatures between 5-10 degrees celsius.
Sustainable Slow Fashion
We took this photo of hverir on our second-last day in Iceland. At that point, I had already been living and sleeping in the sweater for a week and a half. You'd never know it from the photos though! This sweater is my favourite, and now that I'm back in the Canadian prairies and winter has set in, I'm wearing it almost daily yet again. (I don't sleep in it though - my house is warmer than our vehicle was thankfully.)
The skirt was actually one of my relatively rare clothing purchases in recent years. I wanted a high-waisted skirt for the trip because one of the patterns is a crop top, plus I live in skirts and dresses most of the time, but the weeks before leaving were even more chaotic than normal - I was still working a full-time day job (now I work part-time), I bought my first house less than a month before leaving and had to move in before the trip, I was trying to finish off all the book prep, and I was also curating a pattern collection for my local fibre festival that was launching a little over a week before I left. So sewing a skirt, which was my plan a, was just not realistic. Fast forward to plan e - ducking into urban outfitters and finding the perfect skirt and then proceeding to wrestle with my conscious and politics for buying it. In my experience, having a slow fashion wardrobe is an exercise in acknowledging privilege and compromise and capacity in each moment. Very few things are as simple as "x is good, y is bad", and our wardrobe decisions are definitely not that simple. That's why I love being a maker - it lets me directly interact with the politics that I care about on a daily basis, and is an ever-growing practice.
Sunset Knitted Beauty
This was from our first night in Iceland! We drove out of Reykjavik in the evening after a couple of interviews, and found a beautiful mountain to hike. We stopped partway up to rest, and I pulled out my knitting while we stared at some sheep a few metres away. I'm wearing hverir and mosa again, as well as my favourite shawl - a pashmina from a street vendor in New York City that I got a decade ago and have worn ever since. I also have my venque backpack, and my project bag was made by my dear friend Anna of Long Way Homestead. I was knitting the sample socks for Stained Glass from my Tiptoe Collection.
Ash Alberg is a queer femme and fibre witch who seeks to create beautiful and practical designs using sustainable methods. equally importantly, they seek to nurture the skills, knowledge, and creativity of fellow fibre witches to achieve their goals through design, teaching, and collaboration. Ash lives in the Canadian prairies and plays with fibre, plants, stones, and bones in their home studio.