Maine, United States

Making No. 2 / FAUNA Contributor Feature: Mary Jane Mucklestone
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Making No. 2 / FAUNA Contributor Feature: Mary Jane Mucklestone

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Enjoy an interview with Mary Jane Mucklestone, designer of the Sea Urchin Treasure Bag for Making No. 2 / FAUNA.

Tell us how you got started in your craft.

My teenaged next door neighbor taught me to knit when I was about 5. She did not teach me how to cast off however….I had to wait until she came home from school to show me how to take my lovely garter stitch troll blanket off the needle. She admired my work and then slipped it off and ripped it out, turning it into ramen. I didn’t really pick it up again until after high school when my best friend came home from a year in Sweden knitting continental style. I thought she looked cool and I wanted to look as cool as she did.

Tell us about a challenge in your making that you've had to overcome.

Strange as it sounds, I’ve never had a designated studio space for my work since leaving art school! Currently the only room with good light also serves as living room, dining room and kitchen. It’s a challenge to always have to put things away, it stops the flow. My dream of a studio is possibly going to become a reality soon, fingers crossed.

Share a funny story about something that's happened with a project.

My knitted eyeballs were made as the sole ornaments for a Christmas tree, many many staring eyeballs. They hung from the branches, watching.

Share a project, either past present or future that you are especially proud of.

I really really love my Wildflowers Cap from the Flora issue of Making. It features a simple, very old Scandinavian flower motif that looks strikingly modern, even Mod in some colorways. But I love the hat just as is in Fancy Tiger Craft Heirloom Romney in grey and muted blue. I can’t wait to get it back. I left it in Carrie’s car, which was probably just an excuse to get together with her as soon as possible!

What's your favorite color?

My favorite color is green, it reminds me of the outdoors.

If you were going to create something just for fun today, what would it be?

I’d like to knit a blanket. A really cozy one to wrap up in. With an all-over stranded pattern motif, where the wrong side is as pretty as the right side. Of course - it will take longer than a day to finish!

If you could collaborate with three people, who would they be and why?

Kathy Hatori, Jackie Ottino Graf and Kristine Vejar, all natural dyers, whose life is color…like mine!

What currently inspires you most?

Local sources, be it food, fiber or color.

Why are you excited about the project you designed for Making?

I love the beach and especially love dainty sea urchin shells. It was fun to try and interpret their dotted patterns as a traditional style fair isle motif.

Any helpful links to online resources that might help makers create your project?

The yarn is from Jani Estelle of Starcroft Fiber Mill in downeast Maine. The sheep live on an island and there are not many of them so the yarn is by it’s nature, in very limited supply. What she’s got currently is on her website and you can get on an email list to be notified of future yarn releases. Don’t overlook her Felting Wool, it really is the best out there.

What are you currently making/knitting right now?

I am finishing up a fisherman’s kep, a style of hat from Fair Isle, Shetland. I’m using very special yarn from a very special friend’s very special blend of wool, from a very special flock of sheep. What she does not know - the hat is a gift for her!

Thank you, Mary Jane!