Leah Prestamo is a knitwear designer from NYC, and although this is our first time working with her, we certainly hope it won’t be the last. Leah’s cardigan and cowl for our Better Together collection, Chanson, is one of those patterns that will have your fingers itching to start and we are sure you will want to knit more than one when you look at all the colour combinations you can achieve with Cirro and Cumbria Fingering.
We love to share the stories of our designers and the designs they create for us, so over to Leah.
A Gift from Grandma
“My grandmother taught me to knit when I was five years old and she coached me through many, many dolly blankets and raggedy-edged scarves. I used to watch my grandmother knit every night while she watched her programs (Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune every evening). I used to daydream about the projects I would make and how quickly I’d be able to go if she’d ever just teach me! I still hear her voice in my head when I make silly mistakes: “Don’t knit when you’re too tired!”
“It’s definitely because of her that knitting is such a huge part of my life, and as an adult I’m glad to have it as a way to remember her. I began designing after making myself a few custom sweaters and finding that I enjoyed the challenge.”
Music and Knitting
Leah sees a lot of similarities between music and knitting which inspires her: “The movement, the repetitions, the meditative nature of each, and the building blocks of stitches and notes to build a coherent whole.
That’s why most of my knitting patterns are named after musical terms.” So, you can see why she chose the name Chanson, which means ‘song’ in French.
“Sometimes the yarn suggests an idea right out of the skein, but most of the time I noodle around for bit. I generally create a few large swatches to get a sense of the yarn’s drape, body, and suitability for different kinds of stitches. I’d like to say I plan out my projects carefully, but in reality, I’m very impatient! Usually, once I’ve chosen a stitch pattern, I cast on the whole project and work out the kinks as I go,” she told us.
How did the yarn combination lead her to design a cardigan and cowl? “I adore the cuddly coziness of this yarn combination and wanted to come up with designs that would do it justice. Cardigans are a huge closet staple for me (I’m always cold!), and I like having cardigans with a little drama that can spice up an outfit. Pairing a cardigan with a cowl was a no-brainer – I mean, could anything be cozier?
“Working out a lace stitch that would complement the subtle color and texture of the yarn took the most trial and error, but once I had worked out the perfect stitch everything else fell into place. I’m excited to wear these pieces together and I hope others enjoy them as much as I do.”
We hope you have enjoyed learning more about Leah and her beautiful designs and we’d love to see how you get on with your Chanson Cardigan and Cowl! Please tag us in any posts with @TheFibreCo on Facebook, @thefibrecompany on Instagram, and #BetterTogetherChanson