Maine, United States

No. 5 / COLOR – Knitting Narratives with Anna Maltz

No. 5 / COLOR – Knitting Narratives with Anna Maltz


Anna Maltz is charming and delightful, and her voice is strong…as an artist, designer, entrepreneur and story-teller. If you follow her on Instagram, you’re probably familiar with her sweater spotting adventures along with her ingenious new book, Marlisle - a beautiful combination of marled and fair isle knitting. Anna has spent her life exploring as a maker, and observer of beauty, both in the expected and unexpected. Here she share’s a bit of her story and what drives and inspires her. Grab your latest project and have a listen…I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. You can find anna at and on Instagram @sweaterspotter.

/ listen /


You can also and listen and subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher.

/ notes & resources /

Anna Maltz / Guest site
Marlisle / Anna's new book
Farrell Hat / Anna's hat design in Making No. 5 / COLOR
Woollenflower / Julia Billings, natural dyer 
Garthenor yarn / Yarn mentioned by Anna and used in Farrell Hat - Find it at here

/ giveaway /

This weeks giveaway is sponsored by Anna and Making and we’re giving away a copy of Anna's book Marlisle and 2 skeins of Moeke Elena yarn in Natural. To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this blog post.

/ sponsors /

This episode is brought to you by our lovely sponsors.

The Net Loft in Cordova, Alaska. @thenetloft

The Woolly Thistle @thewoollythistle


/ transcript /

No. 7 /COLOR - Knitting Narratives with Anna Maltz

Ashley: [00:00:04] Welcome to Making a podcast for makers. I'm excited to share with you some incredible people I've had the opportunity to talk to in this community we love so much. From knitters and quilters the builders and painters, here's where you get to listen to a little part of their making journey.

Sponsor: The Woolly Thistle: [00:00:20] I want to thank our sponsors for this week's episode. The Woolly Thistle brings you favorite yarns from across the pond and makes them easily accessible in North America. At you'll find the best of British yarn such as Blacker Yarns, West Yorkshire Spinners, The Knitting Goddess, and Jamieson & Smith to name a few. You will also find yarns from Scandinavia including Plotupoi, Roma and Tukuwool. At The Woolly Thistle they encourage woolly wanderlust and they share information from where the wool was grown and milled specializing in finding yarn made at the source. Whether that be on the wild Scottish islands or in the Devon countryside or in the mountains of Wales they'll find it and share it with you. With excellent customer service and beautiful yarns and books to peruse. You will love shopping at Make sure to follow along on Instagram @thewoollythistle.

Ashley: [00:01:21] Anna Maltz is charming and delightful and her voice is strong as an artist, designer, entrepreneur, and storyteller. If you follow her on Instagram you're probably familiar with her sweater spotting adventures along with her ingenious new book Marlisle, a beautiful combination of marled and Fair Isle knitting. Anna has spent her life exploring as a maker an observer beauty both in the expected and unexpected. Here she shares a bit of her story and what drives and inspires her. Grab your latest project and have a listen. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. You can find Anna at and on Instagram @sweaterspotter. And with that here's Anna.

Anna Maltz: [00:02:05] My fiber journey started, feels quite typical in a way. 5 years old feels like this really good number that quite a few people who learn to knit when they were a kid it's often around 5 years old and I'm part of that gang I guess. I learned from my mom and my maternal grandmother more than my paternal grandmother. She was more of a sewer I don't remember her knitting at any point. I think she could but she made all of our aprons and sewed on all the bias binding by hand and all of that. So but my maternal grandmother was a knitter and she was a weaver.

Anna Maltz: [00:02:50] She wove professionally. And so when I was 5 I went to stay with my opa and oma and they lived in the countryside in Holland and that's when I really learnt to knit. And in that time that I learnt to knit I remember doing it on my grandma's lap and for some reason thought I should once I'd gotten how to do it that I should also understand how to do it with my eyes closed.

Anna Maltz: [00:03:19] So I remember sitting on her lap and being like look I can do it with my eyes closed. And I made a scarf for my teddy bear I think and knitted a few things after that and then don't really have another big memory until around 14 when my best friend and I decided that I was going to knit her a cardigan, or I decided to do it as a surprise for her. And I knew I wanted to do it in mohair and it's really funny thing because there wasn't the Internet then. What did we do without the Internet.

Anna Maltz: [00:03:58] Like how did you buy things and you got the yellow pages out and you looked up "yarn shop" and you looked up suppliers and things like that. So I remember having a conversation with a lady at the Yorkshire mohair mill because I wanted chocolate brown mohair and it was real regional accent stuff and so I was talking to her and yeah I made my friend Bronya a cardigan and then I think it sort of died down a little bit again but it was still there.

Anna Maltz: [00:04:32] Any skill that you get will benefit you whether it's something that you learn and then never do again. You still have done it at some point right. So I think they knew that by knitting they were giving me this skill to make what I wanted to, to give me control over what I wore, but also to give me control over my own entertainment. Which of course if you teach a young kid how to control their own entertainment as a parent or as an adult around that child you're also benefiting from that. And I think from an early age like my mum really knew because I didn't go to school until I was 10 so she knew that she was going to have me at home for longer than a lot of kids get to be at home and therefore part of that would also require that I was able to play by myself and entertain myself a lot because she'd also need time to do other things. So I think like for me knitting had been part of that. And then at 17 in the UK you decide what subjects you're going to study and you really specialize so at the time that I was at school you generally narrowed down to three subjects at that point. So I kept it at four: biology, geography, art, and French which was a totally weird combination.

Anna Maltz: [00:06:10] It was geography that was the first to go because I think I was curious in the Anthropology side of it but it was all about land mass and structure and that was less interesting and then biology went because that was like I'd wanted to study animals and it was all like micro cells and things like that. So I ended up studying art full time from about 17. From there went on to art school and then got frustrated because I was at this really conceptual art school which I didn't quite realise was amazing at the time because it was a place where you were just an artist and it really didn't matter whether you were a painter or a sculptor or video or printing. You were just an artist which took a few years to realise that many of the other schools I would have been able to go would have made me disclose whether I was going to work in textiles. But through being there with just like as long as you could justify what you are going to do you could do it if you knew that like the art history background and you could reference the artists that were relevant to your practice. Then you could do whatever you wanted. But I got quite frustrated with the fact that it meant that most of what we were doing was without a grounding in knowing the process or knowing how to make things. So I brought knitting into my work. Into this art school environment where I felt like I was not being taught skills. And looking back on it I can see that for the teachers who I had they thought they were giving me this great freedom because they'd gone to art school at a time when they were given super duper big rules like you have to draw like this you need to use this color palette. This is how you draw naked ladies.

Anna Maltz: [00:08:11] But to me it felt like there was this moment way you go OK you break one set of rules when you know what the rules are and you break a very different set of rules out of ignorance. And so being able to use something like knitting where I understood the rules meant that I was at a point where I could break different rules then I would break as a novice.

Anna Maltz: [00:08:39] So I started knitting and the first projects I made where I netted these extended arms onto workman's gloves that I would find as I was going round like that were abandoned on building sites. Like this idea that you would knit this additional care like this extra warmth onto something that was workwear that people wore every day but that was also lost. So it was kind of a futile. And from there I made a Superman suit so I knitted a really woolly Superman suit. And I think a lot of that had come from. I spent a summer looking after a friend of my grandmother's on Fire Island and I was around a lot of her friends and the young ones were like 65 and we'd go swimming and all of their swimsuits had like totally deteriorated so they'd be like a boob floating out and then it would be like floating out and me as a 21 year old would be super embarrassed by that and they'd be like ah doesn't matter and then just like tuck it back in.

Anna Maltz: [00:09:41] But you know it was also like that was the textiles that they'd probably gotten 60 years before and elastic kind of gives out and things. But I was knitting this scarf which actually turned into my Diagonapples pattern years later. But because I was knitting all the time they were calling me Madame Defarge from A Tale of Two Cities and I'd never read any Dickens before. So then I decided I had to know if they were being insulting or not. So I went to Strand Books and I got the cheapest paperback copy and started reading this book and it's Madame Defarge is. She records everything that happens during this section of the French Revolution that she witnesses she records in her knitting in this secret code. So her stitches become the secret code and that was, you know being in art school at the time at this really conceptual course that was like this perfect transition into Oh yeah when I make those stitches there this recording and like there this recording of that time I take to do it. There are recordings of where I was at the time the distance all of those things and it has this history. And to me it's sort of like this history of the women who taught me how to do it.

Anna Maltz: [00:10:59] It's the history of the way that you know knitting is now viewed as women's work but it really wasn't necessarily and it still isn't everywhere in the world. So I think that moment was this transition of knowing like OK knitting isn't just this way to make a nice sweater for my friend or a scarf for my teddy bear. It's this really rich way to say there are these other skills. I want to talk about. And there are these other histories histories of women's learning of sharing information of it being outside of like out in a sense outside of a lot of business systems or systems of sanctioned education. Like I didn't go to school at a time where when knitting was taught in school that was something that I had because of the family that I had.

Anna Maltz: [00:12:02] When it came to doing a masters I thought it's really time for something else. It's like London has these really world class art schools but this is this place where I've always been. I went to university seven minutes bike ride from where I grew up. So I was in San Francisco sort of by chance and I thought I'm going to go for interviews. So I went to the art schools look to the art schools there had this weird little portfolio of like a few photographs I brought along with me and had these really nice conversations and they were keen to have me at a few of the different schools there which is like super duper luxury and exciting. And so when I got home I applied and I got in and I got a really nice big scholarship which made it comparable to what I would have paid if I'd gone to school in the UK so that made it possible.

Anna Maltz: [00:13:05] And so I went to California College of Arts and Crafts which actually in the two years that I was there getting my masters decided to drop the crafts. So it became California College of the Arts. Yeah. So I was in San Francisco for two years at school and because I have citizenship I was able to stay for another three years afterwards being an artist. And so I lived in San Francisco for five years, met my partner there, then brought him back to London with me. I always joke he's like he's my best souvenir. And like crazily that's 12 years ago already. So yeah I knitted my artwork for a long time and I showed that in galleries. And that was kind of in the art press rather than like knitting press I guess. And at some point just it didn't feel like the right place anymore.

Anna Maltz: [00:14:10] And I sort of had a couple of years of hiding and came out of it knowing that I had all of this weird knitting knowledge because I'd knitted Superman suits and mermaids and naked people and bunny suits like all these full body costumes that I took photographs of unexpected just the people who I knew wearing. So it was this idea that you could make heroes out of everyday people but also everyday skills. So I came out of that and like you know you don't go into a pattern book from any generation and I've I've been a collector of knitting patterns for a really long time. So I've got them sort of from the last teens which is funny because that's 100 years now right. And you don't go in and look for a mermaid suit. Or how do you make a 7 year old child suit. So like thinking about how you adapt things like where do you put a gusset so that the legs can move when you have it on. And how do you get into a full suit and that sort of thing. So all of those skills so then I worked for a while as a consultant working for a few small knitting companies and fashion designers got really good at designing collections but designing what they would look like and how they fitted together not based from a perspective of being a seamstress or being you know being a sewer or being a knitter it was about how to shape this collection. So they actually often miss the skills of how did you make it a real thing.

Anna Maltz: [00:15:58] So I would step in and help with the drawings and the mood boards that they made then help in to turning that into real garments. Or rather not necessarily real garments, but into how it becomes instructions that real knitters could actually understand if they were going to knit that by hand. So that was my jump into I guess more pattern making. And then from there I started making my own patterns and Ravelry and Instagram for me was super instrumental as well of finding a community of knitters to talk to. I did a project six years ago in the Philippines. I set up a livelihood project with a friend who was originally from the Philippines but we met each other at art school in San Francisco. And so she'd been up in Luzon collecting poetry because she went on to do a Ph.D. afterwards in English. And they have these epic love poems and in particular around Banaue in the Philippines the tradition of the love poems is all about getting your work done before you make love before you do romance. And she'd been there and I taught her how to knit while we were at art school and she had her knitting along and at some point she realized that she was being watched. And Jean who was doing the laundry to kind of make up her budget while she was being a farmer was watching her knitting and was super curious about what it was. So they had this big conversation and it turned into a conversation about the traditions of farming in the area and how many people were needing to leave.

Anna Maltz: [00:18:05] So it's one of Banaue is a world heritage site and it has these incredible rice terraces that were all built by hand a couple of thousand of years ago. And unlike most places of that scale like if you think about the pyramids or the railways in the USA that was all built by slavery. But these rice terraces were built by a community for each other.

Anna Maltz: [00:18:31] And so like there's a whole bunch of people who still farm that way and you can't put tractors on them and you can't put even water buffalo on there to help with the farming. But the world's changed an awful lot since then. So they were having a really hard time making ends meet. So they got talking about whether knitting might be the answer. Like this thing that could feed into what they were doing on the off-times between the harvests. So I got to be in the Philippines on the side of a mountain for five months teaching a group of 25 women how to knit and it was one of the most exciting and amazing groups of women I've ever gotten to teach because in the tradition of farming there it's the women who are the farmers and it's kind of the guys who do the heavy work like they come down and they carry the rice but it's women who watch the cycles of the weather and the seasons and the earth.

Anna Maltz: [00:19:34] So they're doing the planting and checking when things need moving around and when things need weeding and harvesting and all of that and all of that happens by hand and I feel like the majority of the teaching that I do I guess if you want to say in the West it's people who come to making in a way to get back in contact with their hands. So being with this group of women who use their hands every day and then watching how they learned was this incredible thing to do because they also like most of them knew how to read but reading wasn't something they did regularly like it made me realize when I need to know how to do something I jump online whether it's to look up knitting or reference like how do I do a certain technique or how do I make a souffle. I go online and I read a recipe but everything that they were learning wasn't paper based and wasn't writing based so when we were making patternss together they memorized every single pattern and would communicate that verbaly to each other.

Anna Maltz: [00:20:47] So that was this incredible. I was there for three months and then I went back for two months and the project is still ongoing but I haven't been able go back yet. And I'd love to. But coming back from that really far away place it felt really important to start doing something really close by. So I came back to London and it was like Okay what am I going to do here.

Anna Maltz: [00:21:15] How do I do things that are more local and in an amazing sort of turn of events. I'd been in contact with Pom Pom and that turned into I've been writing that column for the last five years and their offices are really close to where I live in Hackney in East London and that's turned into this really satisfying really exciting relationship where they let me write about what I'm excited about writing about.

Anna Maltz: [00:21:51] Yes so I guess aside from that five years in San Francisco I've always lived in London. Like kind of in the same corner of London which I feel super happy about. I think the way that people mix here is you know obviously it's not without problems but in comparison to a lot of places in the world it's pretty magical. I'm absolutely not the exception here of having parents from different places of being first generation of all of those things. So my dad is from New York and my mother is from the Netherlands so they met in Amsterdam.

Anna Maltz: [00:22:32] My mother was working there my dad was too. And a few years on they were finding housing hard to find in Amsterdam and my dad was struggling. The Dutch are a bit funny because they're so super proud of the fact they were really good at languages. They kind of don't really let you learn Dutch. So he'd been struggling to learn Dutch while he was there. So I think workwise he was also wondering what would happen. And so I think they just thought hey we'll go live in London for a year. We have friends living there and it was closer language wise for my dad but it wasn't moving back to the US which I think politically he also wasn't super keen on.

Anna Maltz: [00:23:21] And my mum was keen to stay close to her family in the Netherlands so they thought they'd try London for a year and that year I think for them that years now rolled onto about 45 years maybe and kind of a few years in I was then born.

Anna Maltz: [00:23:41] So when I grew up my friends all of us had parents that were from somewhere different not just some way different from England but also somewhere different from each other. So that was Hong Kong and Bangladesh and Pakistan and India and Iran and Holland and France and Canada and all of these places.

Anna Maltz: [00:24:08] I think when I've been in other places that's something I really miss about London and it's one of the things that makes me really happy about being here. And it's an expensive city and obviously those things of gentrification has its issues but I can still go to Ridley Road my local market and see people from everywhere. Shopping for all of the foods that make them feel like they're at home.

Sponsor: The Net Loft: [00:24:44] The Net Loft originated in an actual net loft of a commercial fishing warehouse in 1984 and the rural fishing village of Cordova, Alaska and was founded by Dotty Widmann. The Net Loft carries a wide variety of yarn, needlework, scrapbook, papercraft, art and hand craft supplies as well as a selection of fine gifts jewellery and chocolates. Many of the products reflect and are reminiscent of and influenced by the incredible beauty of the natural setting of this coastal town. Dotty's hope and desire is to not only provide quality materials for creativity but to also create a welcoming environment for the collective learning and sharing of creative pursuits among friends. This year The Net Loft continues to host our ongoing projects. Birds by Hand and The Cordova Gansey Project. Anyone can be involved in these special projects whether you'd like to knit a gansey or a small bird to share as a part of the Copper River Shorebird Festival. And coming June 22nd through the 28th The Net Loft will be hosting a special retreat, Fisherfolk. Spend a week exploring resting learning and reveling in your craft and nature in Cordova. Dive deep into history and making of gansey sweaters, lace shawl design, field sketching, journaling, embroidery, and spend days in between exploring the landscape whether by kayak hiking or walking. Registration is now open for this once in a lifetime event. Make sure to visit For their wonderfully curated selection of goods including some of our favorite yarns such as Brooklyn Tweed, Woolfolk and their own Land and Sea collection. You can find these in their shop in Cordova, Alaska and now available online to everyone.

Anna Maltz: [00:26:23] So with the Penguin book there was one particular Penguin, the Humboldt Penguin which has these speckles on the front rather than just being pure black on the back pure white on the front.

Anna Maltz: [00:26:36] And while I'd been looking at how I could maybe knit that I kept on coming up on these stumbling blocks of knowing like I don't like doing and intarsia and I don't really like doing piece netting and like how would I get speckles just on the front without having these epic floats and then turned into marlisle popped into my head. A marled yarn is one where two colors are spun together but you can still see the strands separately so it's like ah. So if I use two strands of yarn, like both the colors I need but I use them together most of the time I can use them separately to get one color whenever I want and that avoids the giant floats that I would otherwise get. Like my mind just totally started racing at the possibilities of that. Like what.

Anna Maltz: [00:27:28] That allows that the regular knitting that I'd been doing before didn't allow and so kind of from that moment which is almost 3 years ago of making that sweater and realizing all of the things like that's what my drawings who are full of. Like that's what my head was full of like what's possible with this.

Anna Maltz: [00:27:51] It's weird it's like it's not a new approach to knitting because it's not adding any new stitches but because of using the two together and then using them separate. It's just not really something that's been done and like I've done a whole bunch of historical looking at old books and had friends looking at old books and it's just something that's not really there. There are a couple of things that are kind of it but it's a super obvious thing and so yeah.

Anna Maltz: [00:28:23] Oh gosh if you knit garter stitch in the round you have this jog where the knit and Pearl rows go. So even though your knitting in the round which feels like it's the seamless thing you get this jog because you're transferring from knit to pearl in the same place each time. But if you run this line of a single one of those colors. So if you're using two colors as a marl and then you use this one color you make this visual line but it's a seam that's a decorative seam. It's intentional, rather than the unintentional seam that you get when you do garter stitch in the round. If you knit two or three knit stitches in one of the colors.

Anna Maltz: [00:29:10] So that's like this function of Marlisle too. You know you're still anchored to the fact that you do have floats so you're sort of still dictated by the rules of not wanting floats that are too long because if you stop catching the floats then it muddies the pure color that you're getting on the front and you kind of want that pure color in order to set it off really differently from the sections that are marled. So yeah. And I was having all of these ideas for pattens of like oh yeah could be mittens like this or you could knit a scarf in the round and then cut it and then have the fringing that is the steek be the fringing of the scarf instead. And so all of these ideas were coming but because it was a technique that has really been used before. It felt like if I did it just as single pattens there'd be all of these questions to answer. And I've never been an elaborate blogger.

Anna Maltz: [00:30:10] I think Instagram really suited me because it's picture based it lets you show these little bits of in-between life too. So it wasn't like I had a blog where I could explain this technique that I'd been working on. So it really felt like rather than releasing single pattens they needed to go out as a whole collection with discussion of how the technique worked how everything you know what problems you might come across like what happens if your yarn is twisting like crazy because you're using two together and that's driving you totally crazy like you stick them in a Ziploc bag or you put an elastic band around them and you let them spin.

Anna Maltz: [00:30:52] So it was thinking through that as a Book and also because it was a technique that I've been teaching for the last two years I've kind of also had all of those years of students going. So why. What's that and how do I do that and can I do this and oh yeah you can do this.

Anna Maltz: [00:31:14] So there will always be somebody who asks the question that inspires somebody else and that inspires me and it always feels like an exchange because I'm not teaching beginners classes. So you end up being in these rooms with people who are excited about what they're doing but are very often experts already in what they're doing and still want to learn something else. And to me that's like at some point I stopped asking questions about like so why you here or How far did you travel and it's like the question became why are you still knitting. Because I'll be in a classroom where somebody maybe learn how to knit two years ago on the Internet. And that goes crazy high speed right. Because if you learn things as an adult and you get really into it and you have the internet you can learn things at l ike breakneck speed. But you're also have people who've been knitting for 50 years and they're still doing it. Or 15 years and they're still doing it. So like my question has become why is this still interesting like why do you still love it.

Anna Maltz: [00:32:30] And I know why I still love it. After you know, I mean I've been doing it for you know 35 years now. I do it because there's always something new to learn. Like there's always a different approach, there's always a different way to do it. But it's also about the community and that sharing. So when I teach classes it's a lot about sharing what I know but also encouraging other people to share what they know.

Anna Maltz: [00:33:01] So I feel like through that process of doing that in the classes that I taught on Marlisle I was able to sit down and write this book on how to do this thing but also really thinking about like how would you do that if you've been knitting for a year and how would you do that if you've been dating for 50 years and trying to stay really aware of giving instructions so that nobody feels like they're being talked down to but nobody feels like they're kind of missing some things. So one of the big things with the Marlisle book that I did is each of the pattens is knitted in a hand-dyed yarn and an undyed yawn. And each of the pairings is really specific and emotional and conceptual I guess for me like The Midstream Sweater in there is done with an East Coast and a West Coast yarn. So there's Jill Draper. And A Verb For Keeping Warm. So you have California and Montana Sheep and New York sheep coming together and like New York is where my dad is from. And my husband is from California so it's like those ideas of sheep from those different places. There's another pattern in there where the Delftig mittens are Moeke Yarns is made by Dutchwoman.

Anna Maltz: [00:34:38] Well she's not a Dutchwoman, she's a Romanian woman but she lives in Holland which makes her Dutch in that sense and then the other yarn is from Ovis et cetera and Saskia is a Dutch woman but she lives in Germany but she dyes on a lot of Dutch wool and then like I'm this kind of Dutch woman because I grew up speaking Dutch but I grew up doing that in England. So I think for me it was looking at yarn combinations to further extend the stories that we tell in our knitwear. I suppose I was also curious about making things local and also complicating that idea. Like to me I really like the idea of local yarns rather than national yarns. I kind of get a little bit and see when we use language about yarn coming from a country specific. I think that that's language that if we used it on human beings it becomes scary quite quickly. So I wanted to do a lot of talking about the yarns I was using about them being local and having meaning within a local area rather than being bound by nationalism. And talking through that with friends who've been knitting for ages. I've been like that's one of the things I've been like that's great it's made me look at my stash really differently now. Like I've been thinking about how I might pair things not just by weight but also like which holiday memories I have because we all go on vacation and we bring yarn back with us.

Anna Maltz: [00:36:23] And there are these stories of where we got the yarn and who we got it from and night the joy of supporting the people who make the yarn whether they're you know more the shepherd side of it or somebody who makes amazing colours or both.

Anna Maltz: [00:36:39] When I think about designing one of the first steps is like what's going to be be but also like what color is it going to be. And then it becomes about who is that color going to be like who makes that color. So Carrie had approached me to check if I would be interested in designing a hat for the COLOR issue.

Anna Maltz: [00:37:05] And I was like super excited to do that. And so Carrie and I had been talking about good color people who might work for this one. And we were both really excited about working with Jules who is Wool & Flower, and who makes lots of pouches but also is she's a natural dyer. So she's super into wild crafting so finding plants in her local environment based on the seasons and she was then excited to join in on the project.

Anna Maltz: [00:37:44] And we were talking about like what colors would also have some reflection of these patterns coming out in springtime. So one of the colors in there is nettle which is a super voracious plant that a lot of us have around in our gardens in England and they just pop up not just in gardens but like in any little bit, and they taste really good if you can get them before the dogs pee on them and they're also really really good for colour as well. So that's one of the colors that's used.

Anna Maltz: [00:38:20] There is also avocado which is a different kind of wild crafting that's like what your friends have in their kitchen. So I think that Jules is originally from Australia which to me is like the spiritual home of avocado on toast. So that feels like a nice representation of that.

Anna Maltz: [00:38:43] And Jules does a lot of thinking about what yarns she dyes on as well so she got really excited because she'd just been talking to Sally and Johnny. Sally started Garthenor Yarn and that is the first two organic certified yarn. So Sally had been farming and been realising there was all of this care that she was putting into her sheep and the land around it and vegetables. So the feed and the animals themselves if you ate the animals could be certified as organic. And yet the fleece that came off them couldn't be.

Anna Maltz: [00:39:25] So she worked really closely with the soil association here in the UK to develop their organic certification for yarn. And then it kind of spread from there. So how I understand it is it's like that was the first organic certified yarn and so Jules had just found that out.

Anna Maltz: [00:39:48] So she was kind of like hopping around with the excitement of having found that out and I was really excited because I just found out I was designing this pattern. So I talked to her about being excited about having her colors on it and then she was excited about using that yarn and it's kind of like this little knock on effect of being excited about different things and like just how that spreads.

Anna Maltz: [00:40:14] So yes so Jules dyed the plant colors on Garthenor yarn. That then I knitted and designed it into a hat that's now in the COLOR issue of making. Color is such a solid thing that I live for like I absolutely adore color and using very very specific colours is totally key to the knitting I do and to the knitting I did at art school like I spent months phoning around before the internet for Superman Yellow. And it was this thing where people kept on telling me I could dye and I knew I could dye it. And I can dye but I find finding the color fun rather than making it so to me it's like this thing where.

Anna Maltz: [00:41:08] I have lots of friends who are dyers and the way they feel about dying that's this incredible knowledge and incredible passion and I'm happy to listen to their story on that and their knowledge on that. And that's not the bit that absolutely tickles me. And that's not to say that color doesn't tickle on me. I love color. But it's the finding and then being able to talk to the person who made it or to track it down because it's like some really weird color that was big in the 80s and doesn't exist anymore. Or like it's that really 1920s or 50s shade or that kind of thing it's like through working with a lot of hand dyed yarns like you realise that actually we kind of think it's these colors but there are certain colors that one person makes specifically really well. Like Anna Strandberg who dyes dandelion yawns in Stockholm. She does mints super well. Lorissa who's Travel Knitter does really dark red's really well. It's like everybody has these little things and I love letting other people do it and I love knowing about that expertise being there and it doesn't need to be mine like I want to cut to the chase and do the knitting part of it. Like that's the puzzle part. I really like and if I was going to have sheep and shear sheep and card it and spin it and dye it I'd have way less time for knitting. So I'm super duper happy to be part of a community where each person gets to do the bit that jazzes them the most.

Anna Maltz: [00:42:50] It's difficult to stand up and go This is something I'm good at. I do this well look at me I'm great whereas it's super easy to go oh my gosh my friend Jules she knows everything about plants she's the herbalist like she does tours of botanical gardens and like takes people round and goes so this plant makes this color and that plant makes that color and if you mix them up they do this and don't eat that one and this one's good for you. She's amazing! She's a genius! But you know she's not going to stand there and say that but I can say that. So it's like this joy of sharing that knowledge like it feels like we all do these different parts of an amazing whole.

Ashley: [00:43:41] This week's giveaway is sponsored by Anna and Making and we're giving away a copy of Anna's book, Marlisle, and two skeins of Moeke Elena yarn in natural. To enter this giveaway leave a comment on today's episode's blog post at We've been busy working on finalizing all the details for our fall issue BLACK & WHITE. We can't wait to share more in the coming months. And of course there's still time to subscribe at Or pick up our latest issue COLOR from your favorite local yarn shop. We're also in the middle of our UNIFORM make-along celebrating the knit and sewing books written by Carrie of Madder and Jen of Grainline Studio. If you haven't already checked out or joined our make-along there's still plenty of time. Visit our blog at for all the details. And if you are already a part of this fun event make sure to tag your posts on Instagram with #uniformmakealong.

Ashley: [00:44:32] The biggest of thanks to everyone involved in this week's episode: The Net Loft, The Woolly Thistle, Anna Maltz, and our producer Alice Anderson. I hope you'll join me each week as we talk and learn from more fascinating makers. For podcast notes and transcription visit If You're interested in being a part of this podcast as an episode or give away sponsor. Shoot us an email at Have a wonderful week.