This month we get to meet Pru. Timing couldn't be better as I am so excited to be able to share with you Prus' journey and work as we lead up to the Fibre Feast SA market on Sunday 12th, June long weekend where Pru will be running a Yarn Tasting through her business Dear Pru.
Pru and I had what I can only describe as a very chaotic first meet in the form of a business catch up. It was never meant to be anything official of course, rather two fibre obsessed people coming together to chat about the Yarn Tasting and for me to provide some sample yarns for her. It was a Monday so I had my kids but we had also just gotten our dog Ed over the weekend. Our backyard wasn't fully secure yet and as we had planned to meet at a park, along came the dog. Chaos pursued of course and next minute dear Pru was helping me chase and catch my dog when he houdinied out of his colar, helped to push my kids on the swing and even load them into the car when it all got too crazy. She did this all with a smile on her face as we talked yarn, workshops and markets.
Pru is an absolute gem. Not only is she kind, she has a passion for fibre, wellness and teaching. Such a great combination and we are so lucky to have her in our fibre art community.
If you are in Adelaide and can make it Sunday 12th of June to Fibre Feast at St Agnes be sure to stop by her innovative Yarn Tasting stall where you can squish and knit a range of different yarns and go in the draw to win one of your favourites.
For now though, lets meet Pru!
Tell us in a few sentences a little bit about yourself: Some info you may like to include is where you are from, do you work outside of your fibre obsession, family etc. Anything you are comfortable in sharing.
I am a knitwear designer and teacher. This role was a natural collation of two passions: for fibre arts and for lifelong learning. My interest in sewing, knitting, macrame and other fibre arts was nursed from early childhood by my grandma and other key women in my life, including one of my two sisters who I still knit with regularly. I recognise now that knitting filled many important roles for me: creative self expression, mindfulness and connection with others. Even as a teen, I designed unique garments for myself and others; I used “reward rows” to break up the monotony of studying, and I shared rich conversations with friends and family about pattern design and stitch technique. I keep coming back to knitting as my preferred artistic media, and knit daily as an intentional meditative practice. Knitting as an adult has mostly been a solo endeavour until about ten years ago I started offering a lunchtime knitting club for students at the school I was teaching at, and then fatefully, decided to offer a community knitting workshop. It was in this moment I realised that I could apply my professional expertise in designing and delivering engaging teaching and learning to design knitting workshops to share skills with others. When I am not knitting or doing all the administrative stuff that goes along with running my business Dear Pru, I enjoy tending my outdoor and indoor plants, listening to audio books, drawing with my nieces and nephews, and going on adventures with my husband: usually involving food, often involving trains and planes, but sometimes just us, on foot around our neighborhood
Please share one random/ interesting fact about you.
My one claim to fame is that I played bass, keys and sang backing vocals in a band that won Triple J unearthed in 2008: we got to open for Missy Higgins at the Thebby. I haven’t played in ages… but I’d like to learn guitar!
Which fibre art/s has sent you down the rabbit hole?
I regularly sew clothes… and used to sew dolls as a kid. I’ve had brief periods of obsession with macrame, rug making, tapestry, cross stitch, embroidery, but my one true love is knitting.
How long have you been creating?
I first picked up knitting needles at 5. Haven’t been able to stop since!
How/Why did you get into it?
My neighbour, Pat, was trying to keep me occupied til dinner was ready after school one night and I remember her crafting knitting needles out of bamboo skewers and rubber bands and somehow we had some wool? That was my first knitting lesson.
What are your future fibre goals?
I would like to publish more patterns- I tend to focus on designing for teaching workshops rather than publication but I would like to share my patterns further.
What is it about fibre art that makes you love it the way you do?
Such simple materials in different hands can be wrought into so many unique expressions: even when working from oral or written instructions! And it’s ancient: I love stepping back from a class or a knitting circle and thinking: humans have gathered in this way to share and make for centuries, how incredible is that?
What is your most challenging piece to date?
The Stag Head Pullover by Norah Gaughan. My friend Alex and I did it as a knit along one winter. The cable chart for the front is 90 stitches by 106 rows…epic. But so satisfying! We had a cast off party at a pub, and cast off the last few stitches of the collar together and made our husbands watch and toast us!
How have you learnt your craft - selftaught, workshops, books, online tutorials?
I am mostly self taught, but the years spent discussing and analysing the patterns in the English Woman’s Weekly with my grandma were incredibly formative! I continue to learn by observing, trial and error…
Do you have a favourite book or tutorial you would recommend?
I have a YouTube channel where I save all the helpful tutorials I come across into playlists. Don’t get me started on my “reference library”
Is there a fibre artist that inspires you the most?
Norah Gaughan is my favourite artist/ designer: I love her brain! She is so intrepid, disciplined, and curious: she is innovative and is always pushing herself: this is particularly evident in her two recent publications: Twisted Stitch Sourcebook and Knit, Fold, Pleat, Repeat.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting into the craft but isn’t sure?
Just start somewhere. I think as adults we are conditioned to think we should only invest time in what we’re already good at, and we forget our power to learn something new. And we can also romanticise starting new things only to realise learning can be slow and even painful sometimes! So I would say: don’t be daunted. Let it do double duty: learning a new skill and learning self- compassion.
Best Tip or Trick?
Knitting is a whole body experience: not just hands. Make sure you stretch regularly, sit comfortably and change up the gauge of your work if knitting for long periods so that you aren’t taxing your hands, eyes or hands always using fine yarn and needles.
What is your favourite knot/technique to do?
Why I love knitting cables…hence my obsession with Norah Gaughan and Jared Flood… I love the way displacing a stitch or two to the left or right, behind or in front of the work can create so much movement and texture!
Neutrals or colour?
Are you drawn to pattern or texture?
What would you say is your style? Geometric, boho etc
All the things, all at once
What is your favourite VADA BLUE fibre to use and why?
I’ve been experimenting with some Vada Blue fibres for my Yarn Tasting event at Fibre Feast in June and I really love the Banana and cotton fibre blend: so unique, vibrant and bobbly and it gets me thinking: what can I make with you?
Where can you find your work? Ie: online, markets, website, shop? I have a website: www.dearpru.com which lists all my workshops, links to ravelry etc but you can often find me teaching at Yarn Trader, Port Adelaide and Yarn Creative Australia retreats around Australia.
If you have a social media account – let us know.
I am mostly on Insta- actually probably spend too long on there looking at everyone’s else’s WIPs and FOs! My handle is @dearpru
Feel free to add anything else you think of that people might find useful or interesting
I hope I have shared enough that you are curious to seek me out on Insta or join my mailing list to learn more
Top left - Pru, Top Middle - Slip Float Wrap workshop at Yarn Retreat Barossa, March 2022, top right - Alex & Pru in Stag Head Pullovers , bottom left - Dear Pru logo, bottom right - Big Yarn Cardi