Carrie Bostick Hoge’s beautiful collection, Madder Anthology 1: Camilla, Sibella, Imogen, and Beatrice, is a stunner. She used four motifs to create a series of lovely knits that are both practical and elegant. We talked with her a bit about her process and how this collection came to be.
1) You’ve stuck with a minimal number of design elements, yet the patterns seem to cover a lot of creative ground. Tell me about the thinking behind this limited design palette, and how did you use those few elements to create such a wide array of styles?
I generally don’t like to overdo things and that philosophy seems to be a big part of my style as a knitwear designer. Keeping things simple isn’t just about keeping things easy, though that is often a fun side effect. To me, it is about balance—finding a stitch that really speaks to me and working it in a variety of wearable silhouettes in a pleasing and beautiful way. It suits me not only to design this way, but also to knit in this manner and to wear clothing in this style.
2) Your photography has a soft, dream-like quality to it in this book. Tell me about how you conceptualized of the photography. Did you use a filter? What was the effect you were trying to create?
Yes, dream-like…I always try to capture a dreamy beauty through my photography. Light plays a huge role in the success of that, as does the location. The palette was very soft and warm, so I wanted to respect that and so I sought out the warm light in the early and later parts of the day. I used a Portra Film filter.
3) Where did you do the photography? What drew you there?
A few of my favorite spots in Maine—Two Lights, Kettle Cove, and Crescent Beach.
4) How did you choose the yarns that you chose? We really like the palette that you used, and it works wonderfully with the rest of the book’s aesthetic. Tell me what types of colors you are drawn to. Are there any colors on your wish list for Quince & Co?
I actually was intending the four stitch stories to work together as a collection. But, once I started seeing the knits pile up together, I noticed that I used a lot of the same colors in each story. I really enjoyed working with two of the newer colors in Tern: Mist and Terra Cotta. Also, Sedum is one of my new favorites. I’m really drawn to those warm pinky browns and like to see it in contrast to the cool, gentle blue shade of Mist. And, Chanterelle has been a favorite since day one. I feel like I can work that color into almost any collection!
Hmm…new colors for Quince….more browns, grays, earthy pinky/peaches, and blue-grays.
5) Tell me a little about your design process. Does the overall style and shaping of the piece come first, or is the “knitterly” elements, the unique stitch patterns and arrangements that come first? Where did the inspirations come from for the patterns in the book?
First comes the stitch obsession. Lots of swatching occurs! I love getting to know a stitch and finding what types of fabrics work best. I like to experiment knitting in different weights of yarns, different needle sizes, and sometime different fibers. Once I get a feel for the kind of “fabric” that works best, the next step is to imagine a silhouette that best suits this. Sometimes there are styles of sweaters I’m really itching to create and other times I really have to dig deep and search out inspiration (Pinterest is a great resource).
The silhouettes I designed in Anthology 1 were all inspired by easy-to-wear styles I enjoy in my own wardrobe.
6) What’s next for Carrie Bostick Hoge?
Soon I will be releasing a limited edition book called Elements that feature 5 sweaters. Contributors are myself, Bristol Ivy, Olga Buraya-Kefelian, Amy Christoffers, and Cecily Glowik MacDonald.
Also, in the new year I’ll be releasing a couple Simple Pleasures ebooks—gray sweaters in simple shapes. Fun winter knitting!
All photography by Carrie Bostick Hoge.