Knitting month: an inteview with Tiam Safari

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I’m very excited to bring to you today an interview with Tiam from Knit Safari!

Tiam Safari is a London-based yarn hoarder, cat lover, and general knitting enthusiast, who started KNIT SAFARI in 2014 as a way to share her yarn creations. Tiam rediscovered her love of knitting after moving back to the UK, and searching for something to help her relax after a stressful day at the office. Tiam works as a freelance designer for major high-street brand collaborations, has knitted pieces for The Oprah Winfrey Show, designed things for Mollie Makes, KnitPicks and hobbycraft, and has been featured online for Vogue Australia.

How did you start knitting?

My mum taught me to knit and crochet when I was 5. She is an amazing knitter, so is my grandmother. I knitted on and off throughout high school, but picked it up seriously when I moved back to the UK 6 years ago and had a *super* stressful job and needed something to relax with after work.

What's your favourite thing to knit?

I love having multiple things on the go - socks are great for flights (I travel a lot for work), sweaters for the sofa, chunky things for speedy projects and lightweight things to mix up the tension on my wrists.

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Where do you like to go online for knitting inspiration or for learning about knitting?

I love looking at Pinterest for design inspiration - it has everything I could want in one place. I also read WGSN as part of my day job, and a lot of the trends carry over into my crafting. 

What do you look for when buying knitting supplies?

I am *always* on the hunt for interesting, innovative yarns. I prefer yarn in solid colours, but I don't have a preference for yarn fibre as there have been loads of advances in fibre technology lately. I have my eye on some yarn made from Rose Bush or Mint fibres, but I don't know how to spin my own yarn so right now it's just a blue-sky dream.

What suppliers would you recommend to someone starting out in knitting?

I think it's important to start with forgiving yarn, that you can unravel and start again, without destroying the fibre. Cygnet Yarns do some fabulous chunky acrylic yarns in gorgeous shades, and I love trendy companies like We Are Knitters and Wool And The Gang for their bright, bold and interesting yarns!

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What are your top tips for someone who is starting to learn how to knit?

1. Don't be afraid: if you make a mistake, just undo it and try again. It's not permanent!!

2. Pick an interesting but short project for your first make, that will inspire you to want to keep knitting until you finish it. Lots of people recommend dish scrubbers, but personally, I say go for a fun chunky scarf that you can wear with pride and bask in all the complements once it's done. It will make you want to keep on going!!

3. YouTube is full of tutorials, so grab your sticks and play along. 

What is the most common mistake you see in beginner knitters?

Twisted stitches - where the stitch is worked so that the "legs" cross (either from entering the stitch on the wrong side, or wrapping the yarn in the other direction.) Once you can read your knitting, it will really help spot these types of errors and take your knitting up to the next level.

What questions do you get asked most frequently about knitting?

"How long did that take you?!" - I'm a fast knitter, so the answer is probably less impressive really.

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If someone tried knitting and quite enjoyed it, what would you recommend as the next steps for them?

Pick a project that introduces one or two new techniques - maybe it's an interesting stitch, or shaping technique. Don't be afraid at cables or knitting in the round! Think of it as "leveling up" :)

Why do you love to craft?

I love to think of something and just... make it. I always have! It's so satisfying to start with a piece of string and end up with a 3D garment, and it's something that I do to relax at the end of a busy day, so it's wins all around!

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Thanks so much to Tiam for sharing her inspiration and enthusiasm for knitting. Go and check out her website for more gorgeous knits, patterns and yarn (I really want to make that hot water bottle cover!)

Rachel x