I’m so excited to share Cirilia’s new book with you! Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads: A modern knitter’s guide to discovering and exploring style, by Cirilia Rose, will be officially released on November 4th. I was sent a review copy (woo! and further disclosure: I’m friends with Cirilia) and I’ve very much enjoyed reading it and admiring all designs, wishing for the free knitting time to make my favorite pieces!
I got to see the sample knits at a sneak peek show thing she did at Stash in Corvallis over a year ago, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting the book ever since. So many beautiful knits! (You can see them all on ravelry here.) In addition to the 25 patterns, the book also includes several fantastic essays on style, with topics like Think Like a Stylist, Substituting Yarns, and Looking for a Come-Up (AKA Thrifting).
I’ll flip through a few of my favorite items here for you…
But this is a quick book review because we need to get to the fun part – Cirilia answered a bunch of interview questions for us! Some book related, many not so much. Let’s go!
The Magpies section of your book is all about special single skeins – what’s the most recent extra special skein of yarn you added to your collection? And/or a single skein purchase that stands out in your memory?
Zealana just made a yarn called Cervelt. It’s made out of red deer down from New Zealand and is exclusively available at String in NYC. I have a single ball of it and I’ve been joking that I’m going to go out for dinner and just leave that instead of paying. Designing a special one ball project is on my to-do list, actually.
The Nomads section is about traveling, and wearing your knits out in the world; you also give a helpful list of styling recommendations for traveling – I love the tip about bringing an oversized sweater or cowl to function as a blanket/pillow as well as its intended purpose. Any non-style travel tips that add comfort or ease to long days of transit or hotel stays?
I am a creature of habit so I always pack my own tea and toiletries. I’ve also gotten pretty into the habit of doing a little Lisa Eldridge style beauty routine on longer flights, and in my hotel rooms, I think my skin is pretty happy about this. I also always pack knitting, reading material and workout gear but…sleep usually wins.
You talk a bit in the book about your experience as a stylist – any funny embarrassing moments on a photo shoot set that you’d like to amuse us with?
Yes. Oh goodness, yes. The first time I styled a man it was for Norah Gaughan’s men’s collection for Berroco. I didn’t understand men’s pant sizes at ALL and the poor guy couldn’t even pull them up. He was a good sport (and a total babe), but I was really, really embarrassed.
I love the way you talk about color – recommending that knitters step outside their comfort zones when choosing yarn colors. Do you have a favorite color or color combo of the moment, this season, that you find yourself wearing constantly?
I’m really loving black these days, actually. It makes it easy to get dressed and since I’m living in a city it helps me ward off unwanted attention. I once read that people who wear black lead colorful lives, and I definitely agree. That said, I’m liking really clear royal blue, vivid and weird oranges and interesting pastels, especially when they lean neon. They all look great with black!
Is there a color you always thought you hated when you were younger, and then something made you change your mind?
Orange has really wormed its way into my heart, partially because of Norah’s love for it and partially because it’s such an underdog in the knitting world. It’s consistently a low seller alongside yellow and brown. I love it, especially when I think of it in food terms (something I recommend in the book). It has a piquancy that is addictive.
Can you tell us about a favorite store in another country that you wish would expand to open a branch in your city?
Yes! Tiger, an incredible Danish dollar(ish) store.This has become my favorite stop in Iceland. Where else can you find pastel marble Easter eggs, radiant orchid headphones, crocheted nylon baskets, sequined cat masks, novelty yarn and a four-pack of toothbrushes all for the cost of a pizza?
When you were in high school, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A journalist. And I think that’s pretty much what I am, in some form. I research, report and distill, I just didn’t think it would be about yarn!
What’s the first cassette tape and/or CD that you ever bought or picked out for yourself?
Probably something superbly 90s like Smashing Pumpkins or Luscious Jackson. I still love a 90s vibe, I’m glad it’s back in fashion.
What’s your favorite TV show to binge watch while knitting, that you’ve watched all the way through more than any other show?
Well, the usuals, Freaks and Geeks, Gilmore Girls, Buffy, Firefly, My So-Called Life, etc. My favorite show that no one ever seems to know is a British comedy called Peep Show. I also adore Parks and Recreation. I can’t pick a favorite character, they’re all amazing. So much heart, and whoever names the characters did such a great job, they rival Strangers with Candy in that realm.
What’s the most recent movie that you saw and loved?
I really enjoyed Drinking Buddies, which is part of the whole mumblecore movement. It felt natural and heartbreakingly accurate about how hard relationships can be. I also LOVED Under the Skin, even though I spent most of it in fetal position and that was in the theater!
What’s the most recent book that you read and loved?
I’m not an amazing reader, as much as I’d like to be. Sustained attention isn’t my strong suit, sadly. Pretty Good Number One went very quickly for me and made me even more excited to go back to Japan one day (I lived there for the first two years of my life). I’m in the middle of #GIRLBOSS and I’m really liking it. She echoes a lot of what I have always said, namely to not wait for opportunities to fall in your lap.
What’s the most recent knitting pattern or project that made you gasp when you saw it?
The sweater that my friend Carolina Swallin made for our machine knitting class. She used to design for H&M and she has her own line of incredible accessories but she really blew it out of the water. All of Stephen’s Crazy for Color collection. I saw Fox Paws by Xandy Peters in person at Rhinebeck and got pretty sad that I never have time to knit for myself!
A link was recently circulating amongst knitters, to a list of all 118 sweaters that appeared in Twin Peaks – do you have a favorite Twin Peaks sweater?
Anything on Audrey Horne.
I love your cat, Goldstar, who shows up often in your instagram feed – can you tell us about a particular move that he charms you with?
Goldstar is actually a not-so-dainty lady and I have been head over heels for her since day one. She is abnormally cuddly and will tolerate nearly any amount of snorgling. One of her funnier habits is being so relaxed she falls off the couch or my lap mid-stretch. The poor thing is a total klutz and I love her for that.
I favorited your Bjork swan costume on ravelry before we ever met, over six years ago – love it! Since it’s October, what’s your favorite costume of a past Halloween (besides that one)?
Oh man, that was in the early days and fairly last minute! I should reprise it and do a better job. I pick extremely dorky, unrecognizable costumes. I’ve been Jane Goodall, Emily Litella and Bob Ross. This year my boyfriend and I are going as Harold and Maude. I just realized I’m kind of stuck in the 70s! I’m okay with that.
Thank you so much, Cirilia! That was fun! (Side note – I feel so bad about misgendering Goldstar, especially since I have a lady cat with a gender-neutral name who gets mistaken for a boy cat often. Ooooops!) Bob Ross is a brilliant Halloween costume idea!