NKW#10 - The Vintage Queen: Interview with Tasha Moss

The fantastically-coordinated Tasha

Tasha blogs over at By Gum, By Golly!, sharing her love of all things vintage, including her passion for vintage knitwear. If you don't already follow her blog, be sure to check out her amazing creations. She was kind enough to answer some questions for the Knit Week - Thanks Tasha!

Tasha, please can you tell us about when you learned to knit.

I learned to knit over Christmas 2005, I think. About a year before I had taught myself to crochet from a booklet I purchased at Wal-Mart (of all places) during a vacation, when I wanted a new craft to try out. Not long later my mom started knitting again after a 20 year hiatus. I swore up and down I’d never be able to figure out how to knit, it looked too hard and too complicated compared to crochet, but she somehow managed to convince me to let her teach me. And here we are today!

Why do you knit – what do you enjoy about it?

That’s a hard one to answer! I love the rhythm of knitting and how soothing it can be. It’s a great stress reliever and a great thing to do with your hands. I can knit on the bus, I can knit watching a movie, or on an airplane. Any few spare minutes, if I’d like, I can pull out knitting. I love that about it. But there are so many other aspects of the knitting itself that I enjoy.... planning projects, selecting colors and types of yarn, making my own alterations to patterns. I just love everything about it.

What are your favourite things to knit – items/garments and techniques to use?

While I love all sorts of things, I’m a sweater knitter first and foremost. If I had to pick one type of thing to knit exclusively for the rest of my life, it would be sweaters.
I love to try out different techniques! Knitting sleeves from the top down using short row shaping for the sleeve caps, knit-in button bands, i-cord and picot edging, you name it. And I’m always excited to try something new.

Vintage Star Cardigan
How do you feel about knitting for friends and family? Do you love it, dread it, or somewhere in between?!

I admit, I’m kind of a selfish knitter! I knit because I love it, and I knit mostly for myself. I admire people who knit for friends, family or charity, but I’ve never understood why it seems like knitters are often expected to knit for others. Some people literally seem appalled to find out you’re knitting something for yourself! I’ve never gotten that feeling nearly as much with other crafts. I do knit for my loved ones on occasion, but it’s few and far between.

What knitting resources do you find invaluable – books or online (or people!)?
I wouldn’t be the knitter I am today without lots of resources, online and otherwise! In terms of books, one of my favorites technique books is a little booklet called The I Hate to Finish Sweaters’ Guide to Finishing Sweaters by Janet Szabo. It covers so many things that I had a hard time finding information on when I first started knitting sweaters.

Online, I have founds the Ravelry forums to be infinitely helpful. There is something really powerful in having a group of strangers tell you “really, it’s not so hard-- just try {insert new-to-you technique here}”. You can find all sorts of information by doing a key word search of all the forums. Seaming, set-in sleeves, different cast on methods, you name it, it’s there. If someone isn’t explaining the answer, they’re pointing people somewhere that does. And because you can write as much as you’d like in your Notes section of each of your projects, I often use that space to document things I’d like to remember about a project that may help me in the future, thus making myself my own resource, sometimes!  firmly believe I wouldn’t be the knitter I am today without Ravelry and bloggers who have taken the time to document certain aspects of knitting. And YouTube is a particularly great resource for those techniques that really benefit from video instruction. (I recently got a video camera to try it out myself!)

Do you have any knitting triumphs and disasters you'd like to share?

Here’s a disaster! I once knit a super bulky weight raglan cardigan and discovered as I was nearing the neckline that one of the sleeves would have had my arm sticking out from the front of my body, not the side. In my haste to finish it (since it was such a quick knit I wasn’t being that careful, clearly), I totally screwed up where I connected one of the sleeves. I had several sweaters under my belt at that point, too! All I could do was laugh at myself.

Can you tell us about how you got started 'knitting vintage', and about your experience with vintage patterns?

My first vintage pattern was a Bow Knot scarf a few years ago. It was a fun and easy knit, and I think it showed me that knitting with vintage patterns wasn’t necessarily any different than knitting with modern patterns. I knit my first sweater from a vintage pattern about a year later. I love knitting vintage because my personal style is vintage. So of course as a knitter who loves vintage, my bent is towards vintage patterns. There are so many outstanding vintage knitting patterns, but the trouble can be that the patterns themselves are often tedious to knit. Frequently colorwork is not charted, lace sequences are pretty much never charted, and patterns only have 1 or 2 sizes and everything is seamed and worked flat. Yes, there are patterns that aren’t like that. One of my favorite alternatives you sometimes find in vintage colorwork patterns is using a grid for the entire sweater, which is genius. But most of the patterns from the 1930s through the 1950s follow a format where everything is written out line by line and the entire pattern is knit flat. All of these things can be changed with enough legwork, if you’re so inclined. Which I usually am!

That all being said, I also enjoy modern patterns because I find some of the newer designers explore some fabulously interesting techniques that vintage patterns don’t usually use. So sometimes I find myself knitting something that isn’t that close to my style simply because it’s just so much fun!

Can you tell us about your Vintage Knitting College?

I read a ton of crafty blogs, and I’m always impressed the amount of people sewing with vintage patterns and talking about the details on their blogs. But for those who want to knit from vintage patterns, well, there’s not nearly as much of a wealth of knowledge. By no means do I consider myself an expert on the subject, but I have worked really hard to find ways to make vintage patterns a little easier to work with. So I thought it would be fun to have one place where I could share all of my tips and tricks. I really enjoyed running a vintage knit-along this spring, during which I delved into a lot of detailed resizing information. That’s when I first really thought about the idea of having a place where, over time, I could present a wide range of topics that would be appropriate for vintage knitters. Resizing patterns, beginning colorwork (colorwork patterns form the 1940s are absolutely fantastic!), learning more skills that can speed up your knitting such as working in the round and steeks. Some are techniques that a knitter back in the day would have known herself, some are more typically modern techniques that can be applied to vintage patterns.

I’m starting it off by documenting all of the steps I’m going to take in knitting a stranded fair isle pattern from the 40s. It will run the gamut from basics like how to work with two balls of yarn and how to pick colors for a vintage look, all the way up to the somewhat advanced technique of planning out steeks, aka cutting your knitting to avoid knitting flat.

My plan with VKC over time is to organize it by topic and approximate skill level, since the same project might involve a variety of skills. That way people don’t have to feel like one project is too advanced for them to follow, but they can pick and choose what topics they’d like to read about. I’m still hashing out ideas for it, so it will definitely grow and get more organized over time!


What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started knitting?

Great question. In hindsight, I wish I would have known that the most basic knitting skills can carry you into a huge variety of projects. You don’t have to knit 30 garter stitch scarves if you don’t want to. By all means, do if that’s what makes you happy, because that’s all that really matters! But if you aspire to knit sweaters, or knit socks, or knit shawls, don’t be afraid to try new things early on. Ultimately it’s all just based on knit stitches and purl stitches, anyway. Just go slowly, and if you need to look up techniques along the way, there are tons of resources online to help you. Don’t ever say “I’m not advanced enough yet to do that”. You never know until you try! :)


  1. This makes for good reading, I always enjoy learning more about ... ummmm ... (full disclosure) ... my daughter!

  2. I just love Tasha! Her blog is terrific, as is her style.

  3. Love this interview. She makes me want to knit vintage NOW!

  4. Really enjoyed reading this interview - thank you. x

  5. Glad you've enjoyed it - I think I could wear anything Tasha has knitted!


Thanks for reading and commenting - I love to hear what you have to say