YF profiles: Kerrie


Kerrie Allman is the founder of Yarn Forward. A lifelong knitter with a passion for all sorts of fibre arts, Kerrie took a little time out to tell the blog about herself, her job, and – of course – her knitting.

Kerrie at work

Kerrie says that the idea for Yarn Forward came in part from a sense of disillusionment with the existing UK knitting magazines. “I longed for something slightly more grown up, aimed at those of us who know how to knit and don’t want to be reminded how to cast on each issue.” But the idea could easily have stayed just that: “It was only when a friend told me that she would be able to help me get the first issue off the ground and had some experience in publishing that I decided to just go for it.”

Now, Kerrie is the Senior Editor of the magazine. Her main role is commissioning features and patterns, but she can find herself doing all manner of things when the occassion requires: “I have sold advertising in the past, stuffed thousands of envelopes, answered emails and queries, and sold the magazines to shops and subscribers. On photoshoot days I’m general dogsbody!

And after all that work, what is it that makes Yarn Forward special? “Lou and I are passionate about making a high quality magazine aimed at the more experienced knitters, or those of us who like to be stretched. There is nothing else like it in the British Market at the moment and I think that’s why we are popular.”

Even with Kerrie’s passion and commitment, getting an independent magazine up and running is a difficult business with many pitfalls. “The worst times have to be between issues 1 and 3 when I realised that this was not something that I could do on my own. I had some very serious problems with suppliers which, coupled with having made some silly mistakes, meant that the magazine suffered some delays in publishing and damage to its reputation.”

But experience, and the introduction of new people to the Yarn Forward team, has allowed Kerrie to put her early struggles behind her: “the best times have definitely been in the last 5 months working with Lou as a partner. Having Lou’s support has made it all good fun again and has shown what we can achieve with the magazine. The last issue was the first one we worked on together throughout and we loved the way it came out.”

After the jump: Kerrie shares her knitting triumphs and tragedies, and tells us about the knitters who inspire her.

When did you learn to knit?

I learned to knit from my gran when I was about six years old and haven’t stopped since. I have never really learned to crochet properly, I’m kind of self taught and tend to make it all up as I go along which has interesting results sometimes. I’m very good at making a chain though if that is ever of any use to anyone!

Who inspires you?

I am hugely inspired by friends both in real life and on blogs. Michaela falls into both categories, every time I go to her house I want to start a million new projects – she always picks styles and colours that just scream out to me. I have tried to sneak various projects of hers out under my coat but she always seems to notice at the last minute! I really respect Annie Modesitt at the moment for continuing to be so prolific and talented at what must be a hard time for her personally.

What other crafts do you enjoy?

I love to sew, spin, paint and draw although rarely get time to do any of them these days! I love to experiment with sewing techniques in knitting and vice versa, I have been known to take apart shop bought fleece hats to see how they are constructed so that I can attempt to recreate the shape in a knitted hat. I’m always intrigued by cross over in my hobbies, and how I can combine them in one project.

What are your favourite needles and notions?

Do you know, I’m really not fussed. I do love bamboo needles but I’m not snobby about metal or plastic needles. I bought tonnes of needles from a charity shop once to use in the classes that I teach and I tend to use whichever pair of these is the right size – I’ll just go with whatever is closest at the time!

Kerrie's cardigan design

What are your favourite styles and techniques?

I love classic styles that won’t go out of fashion. I’m also really into clever little pieces that are quick and easy to knit with surprising appeal. Anything little, fiddly and fun is bound to get my attention!

Are there any techniques you have yet to try, or would like to improve?

I am torn between being desperate to try steeking and also really not sure whether I want to. I hope to get my courage up soon. I need to improve on my finishing techniques: seaming is something that I enjoy but am not very good at, so it’s constantly on my long list of things to improve.

What are your favourite books and websites?

Stitch dictionaries, without a shadow of a doubt. Love em, can’t get enough of em. I check all of the forums fairly regularly, and like everyone, I’m on tenterhooks waiting for the new Knitty to come out every season. I also love whipup.net. Non-knitting wise I’m a tad obsessed with Dooce.com and postsecret.blogspot.com

Handspun baby jumper

What is your favourite thing that you’ve ever made?

I think that has to be a sweater for my daughter Trinity out of my own handspun yarn – it just seemed so precious to knit with yarn that I had made. The pattern was a really simple one I made up myself. I loved knitting it and wish she still fitted into it now!

And are there any projects you’d rather forget?

Too many to name! I made so many disastrous sweaters for me before I realised that what I like to KNIT and what I like to WEAR don’t match up – after that, I learned to knit more for other people and less for myself.

And lastly, what is the project you dream of taking on one day?

I would love to knit Eunny Jang’s Deep V argyle vest. I have the pattern and the yarn, just scared of the steeking!


One Response to “YF profiles: Kerrie”

  1. Lorraine Ea Says:

    What a lovely entry. It is nice to read about th beautiful handspun sweater for your daughter. I look forward to reading more…

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