As part of the original Around the World in 80 Skeins tour, stop 11 was to visit Emma Fassio, a knitwear designer living in Turin, Italy.
Hi, Emma! Please tell us a bit about where you live and where you are from.
I live in Turin, a city in Northern Italy. I met the love of my life 23 years ago and I moved here: we are happily married and we have two beautiful girls. My mother is Swedish and I learned to knit and love fibers as a child while watching her create many beautiful sweaters for the family. My father is Italian, and because of his job we moved around a lot. I spent all my Senior High School years in the States, in New York.
What’s the best thing about where you Turin?
Turin is a beautiful town: it was the first capital of Italy. There are many museums and historical buildings, it’s really nice to walk around the center and watch all the architectural details. In an hour drive we can be on the most incredible mountains, the Alps, or in the countryside where the most delicious wines are produced (Monferrato and Langhe).
How did you get started knitting and how did it turn into designing?
I started knitting as a child, when I was six years old and I’ve never stopped. Before starting to write knitting patterns, I had my own knitwear design label and I designed and produced limited edition sweaters and accessories. In 2009 I started writing about my passion for knitting unique clothes on my blog. At the same time I started to write patterns for handmade with the style I used in my knitwear design label.
Where is your favorite place to work?
I don’t have a favorite place, my knitting project is always in my bag and I always have a sketch book with me, I never know when an idea might come and I have to take notes right away, otherwise I’m afraid to forget it.
What is your design process like? Do you plan it all out before you pick up your needles, or do you let the yarn show you where to go?
I would actually say both, sometimes while I’m knitting ideas evolve and other times I work on something I’ve sketched and written.
Do you have a favorite local yarn store?
Here in Turin there is a really nice and home friendly local yarn store, Wool Crossing.
Is there a big fiber arts culture where you live?
Italy is fashion and design, both on an historical and modern point of view. So I would say that this influences all aspects of knitting and crochet.
Who are your favorite designers?
It depends from the moment and mood of the period. For example, I love Kate Davies for her incredible work with Fair Isle and Stephen West for his extreme creativity and color use. But there are so many and they are all so talented, that I would love to name all of them.
How does where you live influence your designs?
I think that every day life influences my designs: every detail, color, or architectural element I see in my daily life inspires me. Maybe I don’t realize it right away, it sits in my creative mind for awhile and then it materializes itself in a pattern.
Do you have a favorite design in your portfolio that was inspired by your culture/environment?
I would say all of them, to design knitwear is my passion and I love all of them. When I create, I work on ideas that are the result of my cultural and environmental background.
It was really lovely to learn more about your beautiful designs and inspirations. Thank you for being a part of the tour!