Making No. 6 / BLACK & WHITE: An interview with Whitney Hayward
Enjoy an interview with knitwear designer Whitney Hayward! She designed the Ushida Cardigan for Making No. 6 / BLACK & WHITE.
How did you get started?
I started knitting when I was studying abroad in Japan. I was in a homestay, and I was terrible at Japanese. My host-mom knit pretty regularly, and I wanted to learn how to do something, anything, in Japanese so I could stop being so illiterate, and get to know her better. She taught me how to knit, and read Japanese knitting patterns, for that I'll forever be grateful. The cardigan in BW is named after her—I never expected to have the patience for knitting, much less the ability to design, and it was a pretty lovely surprise to find a home doing both.
Tell us about a challenge in your making that you've had to overcome.
This problem extends well into other sectors of my life, but I struggle with being too ridged and progress-oriented in my making. It's too easy for me to get entangled in setting sight on finishing something, ignoring the rest. I've had to focus on intentionally downshifting gears and enjoying the process and journey to feel right. When I don't, it shows in my work. Having the time for making is such a straight-up luxury, and recognizing that luxury daily by enjoying (most of) the moments is critically important.
What role does black and white play in your making?
I begin most any knitting design idea in monochrome. If I have the ability, I almost always swatch in a neutral yarn—color, vibrancy, sometimes feel distracting when I'm hashing out something new. Texture, hearty cables, all feel more subdued and powerful without the crutch of color. Which likely sounds like I'm fairly anti-color! I guess it's more about finding freedom in limited parameters when starting something new.
If you were going to create something just for fun today, what would it be?
A quilt! I've yet to actually finish one, but if I did, it would likely be monochromatic.
What currently inspires you most?
Music, seeing others play, and feeling the power of it by doing it myself. The best way to get my brain flowing is to plink away at the piano for a few beats to stretch and step away from my computer.
What tools could you never be without?
A simple yardstick and a super sharp 6B pencil.
What materials get you the most excited to make?
Nothing makes me happier and more excited to cast-on than a loosely plied woolen spun yarn in a natural undyed shade.
What excites your about the project you designed for Making?
The squish of Cormo paired with cables feels pretty exciting!
What are you currently making/knitting right now?
I'm knitting a simple stockinette hat out of Barret Wool Co's Wisconsin Woolen Spun fingering weight. It's so light and airy, pure meditation.
If your craft would send a message to the world, what would it be?
Don't take anything too seriously!