CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
Stop number four is to visit Sally Cameron, a knitwear designer in Cape Town, South Africa.
Hi, Sally! Where are you from originally and where do you live now? What do you miss most about your hometown?
I was born and grew up in Pretoria and moved to Cape Town about 4 years ago. What brought me here – my husband 😉 I have lived in the UK and in Switzerland, but there is nothing quite like being in South Africa. I do miss Pretoria, especially the Jacarandas that bloom in the spring, but Cape Town is very beautiful.
We have Jacarandas here in San Diego as well and they are the most beautiful trees when they bloom – so much purple! How did you get started knitting and how did it turn into designing?
My mother taught me to knit when I was a young child. I have been knitting most of my life. After having children and home schooling them, knitting was something for me in an otherwise very chaotic day. Designing happened by accident when I joined a design swap and totally fell in love with the process. I am an ideas person. I don’t like doing the same things over and over but I have more ideas than time. I love the ability to have a creative outlet and to see the visions in my head become reality.
How does where you live influence your designs?
I think it influences me quite a lot. I have just finished a collection of patterns all inspired by the South African landscape and people. I have worked with some landscape photographers to show South Africa through knitting. There is so much beauty and colour and culture here that I feel like I have only scratched the surface.
Your photo shoots with South Africa as the background are so beautiful. Where is your favorite place to knit and design?
I will knit anywhere. That is the beauty of knitting it is so portable that it can be taken along on the daily journey. I like to design at night when it is quiet in the house. Usually my couch or desk surrounded by paper, pens, charts, yarn and needles.
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?
A bit of both, I always have a sketched idea, a swatch and some pattern/stitch ideas before I start. I have usually figured out all the basic figures and construction before I start. Sometimes what I thought would work does not and I am flexible to change and let the design grown in its own direction as I go.
What is your favorite knitting snack/beverage?
South African Rooibos Tea (Red Bush) and dark chocolate
Do you have a favorite design in your portfolio that was inspired by your culture/environment?
At the moment my new South African collection is my favourite. It came out on Sunday, 12 October, my mothers birthday, she taught me to knit and the collection is dedicated to her.
It is really an amazing collection! Who are your favorite designers?
I love seeing what other South African designers are doing and creating. Clare Devine is a good friend of mine and I love her designs, although she lives in Edinburgh now she is from South Africa. Heidi Bears with her genius crochet toys is another huge favourite, she inspired me to learn to crochet. I also like patterns with a story and so I am always looking for new things to knit and new stories to tell with yarn.
Two other really lovely designers from South Africa – is there a big knitting/crochet culture where you live?
It is not big but it is certainly growing. We have just started a once a month knit club in Cape Town to bring knitters and crocheters together.
Do you have a favorite local yarn store?
There are not really any brick and mortar yarn shop near to me so I tend to shop online from South African dyers: Nurturing Fibres, Hartlam, Natural Yarns, Colour Spun, etc
What inspired you to create your book?
I have a good friend who is a landscape photographer and I wanted to find a way to combine my passion for knitting with his beautiful photos, a way to share South Africa with the knitting world. The book came out on Sunday. 🙂
It is called Mzansi, South Africa on my Needles. Mzansi means “South” in Zulu and Xhosa.
Thank you so much for sharing your designs, inspirations, and your beautiful country with us! Best of luck with the book!