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Best-selling author Monica Russel is back with a brand new book Nordic Knits for Childrenthis time with 15 Nordic-inspired clothes and accessories for children, aged 3 to 9 years, that blend classic Scandi style with fun and functionality! We caught up with Monica to find out a bit more about the book and what she's been up to during these strange times.

How are you Monica and how are you coping with everything that’s happening?
I am one of the luckier ones. We’ve remained healthy and apart from being quite isolated socially it’s challenging but we cannot complain because there are so many worse off than us. As far as my business I am teaching workshops on Zoom which is going really well and people love to learn new skills, be creative and have “people contact”, albeit virtually.

For those that don’t know you, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a qualified teacher and Art Therapist and have spent most of my working career teaching in schools and colleges and working as an Art Therapist in hospitals. I have always knitted and due to changed life circumstances left my job as a manager in Further Education and started designing knitting projects, and then stocking yarns and selling them as well as knitting kits and patterns.


Tell us a bit about your company The Knit Knacks.
At a knitting show I was approached by a representative of Search Press and asked to do my first book on Boot Cuffs. I guess my stall was a bit different to others with tea cosies hung across the top of it and baskets used to display work and this must have been the initial attraction. I have now run The Knit Knacks for 10 years. I am lucky because I can combine my passion for teaching with being creative and selling my own products. I like to use natural fibres when doing my own designs and I particularly love using colour combinations for my patterns and kits. I try to keep my kits affordable and have projects for those new to knitting as well as competent knitters. I have now had nine books published and my designs regularly feature in magazines. I also design for a number of yarn companies.

The other side of the business is teaching. I teach regularly at a Community learning centre to people with basic knitting skills or more competent learners who would like to develop their skills further. I also run workshops in my home in East Sussex, at yarn shops, people’s houses and at several knitting shows. I am always keen to develop people’s skills and get them on the road to being proud of their creations.


Your new book, Nordic Knits for Children, is finally here! We’re all very excited. Can you tell us a bit about the book and how it differs from your other books such as your best-selling book Fair Isle Knitting?
Nordic Knits for Children was a lovely book to do and set me new challenges as previously most of my designs had been for adults, babies, and homeware. I loved having the freedom to do both modern and traditional projects so hopefully the book has something for everyone. I was lucky that I was able to include some colourwork into some of the projects and to extend my sources of yarn. The Fair Isle book was my first” big book” that not only had patterns but techniques as well and this was also the case with Nordic Knits. The book will offer knitters the opportunity to develop their skills and try out both small projects such as a scarf or mittens as well as larger projects such as a dress. This book has a more contemporary feel than the Fair Isle one and fits a gap in the market for 3-9-year-olds

Fair Isle Knitting is available from Search Press, RRP £14.99.

The projects look quite daunting, are they suitable for beginners?
Once people have mastered the basics, they can try to further their skills with a bit of colour work such as the scarf, which will give them the confidence to try some of the other designs.


What was your favourite project to work on and why?
I really liked doing the duffle jacket which combines textured knitting, colourwork and some originality with a cord edging. It is a great unisex project, and I am sure that children will love wearing it.


Do you have any tips for beginners?
Persevere and seek help when needed!

What inspired you to write this book?
Seeing how little there was out there for modern designs for 3-9-year-olds and of course my commissioning editor who came up with the framework for the book.

What are you working on at the moment?
Teaching on Zoom and designing for a yarn company and a magazine.

Do you have any exciting plans for 2021?
Visiting my son in Scotland, growing more vegetables, going on holiday, and producing more creative knitting designs. I would also like to do more face-to-face workshops.

Visit Monica Russel's website

Nordic Knits for Children
 is available from Search Press, RRP £12.99.

View more titles by Monica Russel HERE.

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