An interview with Dieuwke van Mulligen
Today I'm really excited to introduce you to my dear friend and knitting buddy, Dieuwke van Mulligen. We've known each other for a while now and meet pretty often on various knitting events. Now you can learn about her a little too :-)
Hi Dieuwke. Can you tell us a little about how you began knitting? Is your educational background connected with knitting?
My grandmother has always knitted a lot, and I have been fascinated by it since I was little. She taught me to knit. In Denmark, knitting is a part of the school curriculum (around 3rd grade I think), so it's not at all odd if you can knit. I knitted on and off during my teenage years, and when I started University I used it as a de-stress tool. So it's always been a very personal thing for me, a hobby I pursued myself, and I didn't even consider an education in textiles. Which I could have though, as my grandfather actually was a teacher at a school specialized in textiles. He died when I was young, so I never really got to know him and soak up knowledge, but my mother and grandmother tell great stories about him!
What inspired the name of your brand? And Rav Id?
My Rav ID was the one that came first. My name is kind of complicated (did you notice? ;)), and the friends of one of my ex boyfriends chose to shorten it to "dutte", which (in Danish, at least) sounds remotely like it ("duke-uh" is a more accurate pronunciation). So I just picked that up and used it as a nickname.
My brand - well, I didn't really establish Knitter's Kitchen until I started trying out dyeing. As the dyeing happens in my (tiny!) kitchen, the name seemed appropriate.
How do you name your designs?
That's a tough one! It varies a lot - sometimes I already know the name before I've even finalized the design idea, sometimes I have a design where I simply have no idea what to call it. And sometimes, like with my Ridges collection, the stitch pattern is the initial inspiration and then I go from there.
What would your ideal day consist of?
My IDEAL day would most likely be one filled with knitting and friends! Having time to watch a movie, knit on something fun, chat and have coffee/tea and cake. Weekends without any fixed plans work fine for that.
What is your favourite weight yarn to design for and knit with?
That's a very good question! It depends on the result I want. Sweaters are great in DK weight - but fingering weight makes for lovely light fabric as well. I can't really choose between the two!
Can you describe your own core style and do you design with that style in mind?
I always have problems describing my style. But I guess I'm trying to do things simple (I often need to remind myself of the KISS principle; Keep It Simple, Stupid), with funky details like advanced techniques, while also giving easier alternatives. I'm a sucker for asymmetry and alternative constructions, which I myself think is very obvious in my designs so far. I don't always design with my style in mind, often it just comes by itself!
Do you knit other people’s designs and if so, can you tell us a few of your favourites
I do, sometimes! It's hard to get time for it though, as there always seems to be a sample or second sample of a design that needs finishing. I usually go for things with fun constructions or lovely texture. Knitting other people's designs is exploration and/or relaxation for me, so I tend to browse around. I'm a fan of Heidi Kirrmaier and Ankestrick, of whom I've knitted quite a few pieces in the past. And then there's the ever popular Camomille shawl by Helga Isager - I made that one 6 times, and it wouldn't surprise me if I "accidentally" cast on one more at some point. It's one of the most versatile and relaxing knits I know! In my knitting group consisting of 7 people, we have a total of 22 projects from that pattern. Everyone made it at least once!
If you could only knit with one colour, what would it be?
This is one that changes with the seasons! But to be honest, I think it would be blue. I think I must admit that blue is my favourite colour these days, I just love all shades.
Do you share your needles /tools with anyone?
I guess I do. Everyone is welcome to borrow something I have when they need it (there is a lot of tool borrowing going on at knit nights!), but a few things I just keep to myself, like for instance my Signature needles.
Are there any crafts or hobbies you do (other than knitting of course ;-)?
I like to do ALL THE THINGS! I have a spinning wheel, a sewing machine, and I dye yarn once in a while. At the moment I'm very much into my motorcycle and my car (a vintage one which needs actual repairing, which I want to do myself), so that also takes up some time. And I love reading books and watching movies and shows, luckily that can often be combined with the knitting!
Do you dream about knitting at night?
Sometimes! I can have a hard time falling asleep, or wake up in the middle of the night, because I have an idea. So yeah, I guess I do ;)
What are the 3 most important knitting items you use?
I take it you mean finished pieces? I use sweaters/cardigans, socks, and shawls or cowls every day. Only if it's really hot in summer you can catch me without something woolly on, else I always wear something knitted.
Do you have an anecdote to share? Something funny, nice, interesting?
I'm very stubborn at times. I have been known to frog and re-knit something several times, for instance I knitted the Aileron shawl 7 times over before I was happy with it. I'm currently working on a sweater for my brother, it's the 6th time I cast that on... And I already finished it twice! This only happens with my own designs though. You can say it means they have been thought through thoroughly ;)
If I'm knitting someone else's design, I have an unspoken rule about a maximum of 3 tries. That goes for the pattern as well as the yarn - if it doesn't work the 3rd time, I consider it cursed!
Something nice: I have a bunch of very knit worthy people in my life. One of them being my 4-year-old niece, who is over the moon when I knit her something. Her smile and enthusiasm makes me want to knit her everything. She's recently started "knitting" when I'm visiting (AKA wanting to play with my current WIP, just sticking the needles in here and there and potentially making a huge mess), perhaps I should bring her some needles and yarn of her own soon!
Thank you for talking to us.
Dieuwke has been knitting ever since she realised that the thing her grandma was doing was creating garments for her family. She lives in Denmark, a yarn paradise with its many LYS’s where she conveys her inspiration through designing knitwear.
See you soon!