Kurt Payne From NZ to Scotland

This week we’ve been catching up with New Zealander, Kurt Payne. Kurt will be in the Crafting Village at Loch Ness Knit Fest 2017. He knits both English and Continental styles with various purl and tension techniques and enjoy helping people find the perfect match for them, taking their knitting to the next level, both in speed and consistency. Kurt will also be facilitating a ‘come and try’ session called ‘twice the fun’, techniques for knitting socks and sleeves two at a time on one or more circular needles so come have a go.

Given Kurt is travelling over 11200 miles from NZ to Scotland, we were really eager to know a bit more about his background in crafting and what draws him to the Highlands of Scotland in October.

Earliest memory of knitting…
“I started learning to knit when I was four or five, I remember being told that my knitting through the back loop was wrong, along with “you can’t cut knitting” and “sweaters are too hard to knit”. I am happy to note thirty years later that indeed you can cut knitting! Sweaters are easy to knit in just a few weeks and knitting through the back loop is just another of many useful techniques, especially if you want a nice elastic rib finish to your garment.”

For the love of knitting…
“There’s a number of things I love to knit. A good fully lined, seamless tea cosy, though I do have enough of them now so am working on sweaters. I love converting patterns from flat piece work to seamless in the round and have lately started to explore more stranded colour work and steeking. If something is going to be knit flat I prefer to do it on a machine, though that often means  the garment sits around for a while waiting to be sewn up. After entering a few exhibitions in the last year my seaming and finishing techniques have improved immensely and I have enjoyed making garments look perfect.”

Favourite fibre…
“I hand spin a lot of my own yarn and really love working with lambs wool, especially from Corriedale sheep. Even if I buy a commercial sweater I prefer lambs wool over anything else. Alpaca is another fibre I like to blend with wool for added softness and warmth while being lightweight. In New Zealand we make yarns with brush tail possum fur in the blend, my favourite, by Outlaw Yarn, is called Bohemia Sport and is a blend of 45% Polwarth, 45% Alpaca and 10% Possum fibre.”

Inspired by…
“I really love Elizabeth Zimmermann and am constantly referencing her books when planning sweaters and her writing style is helpful when trying to learn new stitch techniques. I have recently watched her DVD’s back to back which made me love her even more. I am also inspired by master hand knitters Beth Brown Reinsel and Charles Gandy who have been so encouraging as I make progress on TKGA’s master hand knitter program.”

Travelling to Scotland…
“This trip will be my first time visiting Scotland, every thing I know so far I learnt from ‘The Broons’ comic collection my cousins gave me while visiting New Zealand in 1995 and the stories and photographs from my Grandmother. It is so exciting to be visiting and seeing everything for real.”

Loch Ness Knit Fest Excitement…
“Where to start!? Exploring all the different yarn options available in the marketplace, expanding my international community connections, hanging with my good friend Kyle Kunnecke, plus I have booked into two classes with Di Gilpin. I always enjoy hunting out new ideas to share with groups of knitters, spinners and weavers back home.”