‘Show me how and I will master it.’
St. Paul, Minnesota knitter Paula Knutzen loves knitting, chatting and getting together with like-minded friends. Her ‘knitting production’ is prolific, taking on new challenges and very difficult color and lace patterns with determination. Paula is well-acquainted with winning blue ribbons at the Minnesota State Fair and spends a significant amount of time knitting for others; to help those in need or to celebrate the milestones in lives of people around her. Paula is also a dyed-in-the-wool St. Paul Saints baseball fan!
When asked about her creative challenges, Paula says ‘gauge has always been a bug-a boo’. Anyone who has ever knit a piece that requires considerable shaping understands that statement. Ever the practical knitter, Paula also says, ‘show me how and I will master it’.
Paula is currently involved with several weekly knitting groups in the Twin Cities but fondly remembers when she was seven and her grandmother taught her how to knit.
Here’s a bit of Paula’s story in her words:
A little bit of background…
- When did you first become interested in fiber art?
My grandmother taught me to knit (ad crochet) when I was 7 years old. I remember because I had just joined Brownies!
- What about the medium of fiber appeals to you?
Handwork has always appealed to me. Maybe it is the control of manipulating fiber with my fingers—also the ease of correcting errors!!
- What type(s) of fiber (medium) do you work with the most?
Natural fibers. I prefer wool or wool blends. Occasionally I wander into novelty fibers, but do not enjoy that as much.
- What theme or ideas are recurring in your work?
I am drawn to ocean themes. Old Shale is my favorite pattern and I seek our Shetland patterns and anything that is sand, shore, sea, or water related. I grew up smelling the Atlantic Ocean and I think there is salt water in my veins!!
Your creative expression:
- What are your creative challenges?
Gauge has always been a bug-a-boo. I have pretty much mastered it, but always do a swatch for garments!!
- How do you approach your work?
Usually the yarn speaks to me and I find a pattern after putting the yarn in my stash. Sometimes that takes years!!
- What tool could you not live without?
My stitch gauge tool and a tape measure.
- What is your creative process?
I guess I would say, show me how and I will master it.
- Does your location, physically or as an idea manifest itself in your work?
Not really. I do have a knitting chair, though. And it is a rocker—the Presidential Rocker that President Kennedy was famous for to soothe his back.
- What are some of the pleasures you get in your work?
Tension relief, daydreaming, tactile pleasure of the fiber, giving away my finished items, to friends and for charity. I have always done charity knitting.
The fiber community around you:
- What are some of the big ideas that influence your work?
Do not think I have any big ideas—just little brain waves. I love to make little gifts for personal ‘non-holiday’ occasions.
- How do you view the artists of today?
I am amazed by their creativity and prolific output.
- Which fiber artist do you admire the most?
First and foremost, EZ! Before I knew who she was I was influenced by her liberating force relating to knitting. Also, Candace Eisner-Strick, Myrna Stahmann, Arnhild Hillesland. Arnhild has done a fantastic job of passing on the art of Norwegian knitting techniques and traditions.
- What is your work motto?
If you want it, you can make it.
- Where do you exhibit/sell your work?
I don’t. I make things for use, not show.
Paula’s Ravelry name is petiteknit.