Rugged Knits author Andrea Rangel was the topic on this beautiful July Tuesday at the Yarn Thing podcast with Marly Bird. That book title sounds like a summer full of adventure…
Andrea lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. She was born in Peru, which may that she was born a world traveler, Tuscon, AZ, Jordan as Peace Corps Volunteers, Seattle, Washington… She learned to knit with her grandmother, but when grandma passed away, there was no one to continue to learn with. At age 18, moving to Seattle for college, and auntie was knitting at a family gathering. Andrea received from her purple mohair knitting and size 5 knitting needles. Her hands remembered how to knit and she kept knitting while she got her degree in English with a education certification. Eventually she stopped teaching and became a knitting designer. She’s also learned to crochet, which she does and says ‘I love me a good Granny Square!
Andrea says the first year she knit, she JUST knit. That purple mohair eventually became a vague rectangle which she attached to a piece of canvas and she used the finished project to carry her books to class. She later went to a yarn shop and asked to learn lace. The photocopied a pattern from a Barbara G Walker treasury, cast-on a few repeats and proceeded make a few scarves! She admits she didn’t understand gauge, was twisting her stitches, ignoring the directions. (Andrea credits Marnie McLean’s technical videos as helping her, and a lady at the yarn store, researching books, the internet, Ravelry… Plus JUST Doing!) She did eventually find the joy in all of those things and as a designer she loves seeing what other people are enabled to do.
Her first pattern, Andrea says, was in Knitty 2009, called Hex Shawl, and still Andrea says would go back to publish more with them because of their support. She created ‘The Dude‘ as a dare to copy the sweater Jeff Bridges wears in the ‘Big Lebowski’. She says it was a torture to knit, that people probably think she hates knitters, her goal was to copy the original as best she can. Andrea has since created more “knitter friendly” and she loves that people are loving it, knitting and wearing it.