A chat with Joji Locatelli

Monday brought the release of this month’s Boost Your Knitting pattern, the stellar Sterlyn Shawl, designed by the incomparable Joji Locatelli. This gorgeous shawl, knit in, well, scrumptious Scrumptious 4-ply, is the perfect canvas on which to practice April’s featured technique, fixing mistakes in your lace. I caught up with Joji the other day and really enjoyed hearing more about her thoughtful approach to the Boost Your Knitting brief. Read on for Joji’s tips on avoiding mistakes in lace, what she does when she makes them, and the technique she’d most like to conquer this year!

The Sterlyn Shawl by Joji Locatelli, April’s Boost Your Knitting Pattern. Photo © Jesse Wild.

The Sterlyn Shawl by Joji Locatelli, April’s Boost Your Knitting Pattern. Photo © Jesse Wild.

KR: Your Sterlyn Shawl is just stunning – I love the mix of gentle eyelets, bold lace bands, and the multiple colours! What inspired the design?

JL: Thank you! when I was invited to participate in this project, Jen mentioned a lace design. 

I remembered as a beginner knitter, the first lace patterns were a bit intimidating because I didn’t really see how each section worked until the whole piece was finished. Working in one color made it more difficult for me to picture the finished project. I thought of the different colored bands as a way of knitters to divide their work in sections, giving them more confidence to tackle each band one at a time. I am glad it worked out!

Those beautiful lace bands. Photo © Jesse Wild.

Those beautiful lace bands. Photo © Jesse Wild.

KR: The technique that goes along with the Sterlyn Shawl is fixing mistakes in lace.  Do you have any favourite tips or tricks for avoiding mistakes in a project like Sterlyn?

JL: Whenever I work on a lace pattern I try to make sure that each repeat starts where it should, and I check on every row and on every repetition. For example, if we are working an arrowhead lace pattern and row 3 starts by working a ssk over a yo from the previous row, I try to make sure that every time I start a repeat that ssk is indeed over a yo. That helps me find mistakes easily before moving on!

Photo © Jesse Wild.

Photo © Jesse Wild.

KR: What’s your personal attitude to mistakes in your knitting?  Do you like to drop stitches and fix or rip back?  Are you someone who can leave a small mistake that won’t be noticeable (I’m trying to get better at this!)?

JL: I don’t like to rip back. I will drop 100 sts if I need to! Ha! And it will probably take me much longer to fix than if I just ripped back and re-knit, but I hate the idea of moving backwards.

And I can absolutely live with mistakes! I am not perfect nor perfectionist ;)

I love the stunning silhouette of  Dark Cloud , released by Joji earlier this year. Photo © Joji Locatelli.

I love the stunning silhouette of Dark Cloud, released by Joji earlier this year. Photo © Joji Locatelli.

KR: One of the things I really admire about your design work is how wonderfully varied your patterns are. Aside from lace, what other techniques do you like working with most?  Are there any techniques that you won’t go near?

JL: Thank you!

I love many techniques, but I consider myself a fairly ‘simple’ knitter. My favorite technique is cables. I just love love love working with them! I also like short rows and the ability to shape things three-dimensionally with them.

I don’t design with Brioche stitch yet, although I have knitted with it a couple times (while trying to learn) and I am trying to add more colourwork to my designs too.

Joji’s recent design  All of the Lights  features beautiful cables AND lace! Photo © Joji Locatelli.

Joji’s recent design All of the Lights features beautiful cables AND lace! Photo © Joji Locatelli.

KR: And are there any new techniques to learn on your list for 2019?

JL: I’d love to learn how to steek a sweater! Never done it...

KR: A month or two ago, we were talking about being marooned on sleeve island on the blog and Ravelry. Jim, inspired by Desert Island discs, had the idea to have knitters pick three things – a yarn, a knitting book, and a piece of music – that they’d take with them if they were stuck on sleeve island.  What would your picks be?

JL: Oh! I would take a single ply fingering weight merino with me (from any dyer! I love them all!), Knitting without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman and a Coldplay playlist to keep me company.

KR: Lastly, care to share what’s on your needles at the moment?

JL: Oh! Absolutely! I have 3 wips at the moment: a new shawl design, that also feathers bands of lace and garter stitch, an intricate cabled jacket and a blanket (a simple garter stitch piece that I intend to use a lot of scraps with!).

Photo © Jesse Wild.

Photo © Jesse Wild.

Thanks Joji for chatting more with us today! You can see her 200+ beautiful designs over on Ravelry, visit her website, or catch up with her in her Ravelry group. And if you’ve been thinking of joining in the Boost Your Knitting fun with a Sterlyn Shawl of your very own, we’d love to have you! You’ll get twelve patterns from twelve talented designers, with twelve sets of photo and video tutorials, delivered to your Ravelry inbox each month, as well as a virtual living room of knitting friends to cheer you on! You can purchase Boost Your Knitting for £30, which includes worldwide shipping of the print book in September 2019.