Yellow Couch Interview with Cirilia Rose

Meet Cirilia Rose on Creativebug from Creativebug on Vimeo.

Congratulations on your new Creativebug Workshops, Cirilia Rose! We’re thrilled to be working with you. Can you tell us how it all began for you?

I was toiling away in graduate school and got a job at Webs to earn some extra cash. I learned so much by osmosis there, from the owners to my coworkers to the constant stream of guest designers and teachers. I eventually left graduate school to join the design department at Berocco. Working alongside Norah Gaughan was a yarn-centric version of graduate school! I eventually moved out west and joined the team at Skacel where I’m currently serving as creative director.

I still teach and design on a freelance basis and I am currently working on a book with STC Craft. When my editor, Melanie Falick told me about Creativebug, I knew I wanted to be involved. I love the idea of being able to reach more knitters even when my schedule won’t allow for travel and teaching. It is a huge honor to teach alongside my personal heroes like Melanie and Debbie Stoller.

I saw a very sweet Instagram of a text between you and your mom, can you discuss that?

Cirilia and Mom Texting

She was congratulating me on being published by Vogue Knitting for the first time, a total career highlight (I used the Vogue Knitting Encyclopedia to design my first sweater, a Kurt Cobain inspired cardigan). I used to cut up magazines (still do sometimes for the tactile experience) and make collages (what I now call mood boards). It cracks me up that I ended up in a career where I am basically doing the same things I was doing for fun at ages 5, 12, 18…it is a LOT of work but a lot of the time it just feels like fun.

bulletin board

I now use Pinterest and my cell phone camera pretty heavily to keep track of all of the inspiration I see. It’s a way for me to stay inspired. I also collect buttons, packaging, bright and shiny candy wrappers and even nail polish. I love the visual stimulation, and I try to surround myself with it. My mother and my grandmother always fostered that impulse and we all share a love for clothing and crafting.

How do you stay inspired? Working in a creative role, it’s not easy to keep cranking out the goods. How do you recharge?

If I’m not traveling somewhere to recharge, I lay like a slug on my couch and watch visually stimulating movies. It’s a way to vicariously travel when I can’t, whether it is to another place or another time. Some favorites:

– The Science of Sleep– How can you not love a man who says (about his crafty crush) “I love her because she makes things. You know? She makes things with her hands. It’s as if her synapses was married directly to her fingers,” and “I am collecting beautiful objects. A pair of shoes. Some glasses. Telephone. Typewriter. They are made from wool and felt. With apparent stitches. Their delicate, unfinished appearance is friendly. And they are quiet.”

– Anything by Ang Lee– lushly photographed, incredibly costuming

– Bright Star– I love that it is about a real life seamstress, and that some of the costumes were made by French fihber artist Sophie Digard.

– Really, anything by Michel Gondry. He has such a reverence for handmade!

When you are traveling, where do you like to go? I read that you speak Icelandic?

I do love Iceland. It is almost overwhelmingly inspiring, especially for knitters. From the street art, to the magical landscapes to the way everyone is clad in wool, just as a matter of course. Babies wear knitted sweaters, teenage boys wear them. Janitors have old worn out pieces with worn-out elbows. The yarn has a different quality there. The sheep have been there since the 9th century, and it is specially suited to that climate, which happens to be similar to the one I live in. The language sounds like music to me. I took classes at the Nordic Heritage Museum here in Seattle, and we even formed a choir for the annual Yule Fest!

I have an ever-growing list of dream locales, right now Oaxaca and Nashville rank pretty high.

It seems like you are always on the go. Are there any hobbies that you really wish you had more time for?

I love collecting fabric and I’m picky and thrifty about my clothing, so I’d really love to be able to sew my own clothing at some point. I’ve tried, my I am really intimidated by my machine! I’d also love to have the time to quilt, I love the look of an old worn quilt, and the striking graphic designs, especially historical classics.

thrift shopping

What’s next? Are there any new goals on the horizon?

I’d really like to get more into yarn development. HiKoo, Skacel’s in-house label, just introduced a yarn called Kenzie that I feel really involved with.

new yarn

It all started as a chat with a friend over drinks and now it’s a real yarn–I kind of can’t believe it! It’s so much fun to be involved in every part of the process, from choosing the fiber, weight and construction to designing the labels and choosing palettes all the way onto photo shoots and promoting it in the marketplace. I feel very fortunate to be able to work with mills to create new products that I hope knitters will love. I haven’t lost my love for knitting, so when I get excited about a yarn, I think other knitters will be just as happy with it.

Finally, do you have any advice for people who want to get into knitwear design? Or take their own “craft” to the next level?

If you’re looking to turn your hobby into a career, just put in the time and do your research. Ask a lot of questions, both of others and yourself. It’s a rapidly changing industry and the job you are perfect for might not even exist yet. Thing about where you fit in and work that angle. The great thing about knitting is that it is nearly impossible to “master.” It’s humbling and exciting to always have new challenges. Most of all, have fun!
Kenzie yarn girls