BNAFA – Vicki Stiefel, The LaidBack Knitter

A woman of incredible talent and depth. I first ‘met’ her through her very genuine debut book 10 Secrets of the Laidback Knitters (still my favorite book of the year).  Since then I have been continuously blown away by her talents, varied passions, and kindness. Just check out all her links at the end of this interview to get a taste of her awesome-hood-ness.

10SecretsPlease tell us how you became the amazing fiberista you are today. How did you fall in love with fiber arts?

As with many fiber lovers, my current fiber iteration is 2.0. My mom taught me to knit, and I knit and I knit as a kid. In college, I knit a giant purple cardigan that fell to my knees. It was quite gorgeous, out of mohair and merino. As a new mom, I knit my babies miniature Icelandic sweaters. And then I stopped. As they grew, my boys didn’t care much for hand knits, nor did my then-husband. I was pretty busy being a mom, a wife, a writer, a teacher. Big pause here. Then in 2001, a friend said I had to see all the new, cool yarns. I did just that, and i haven’t looked back.

What is your most astounding fiber victory to date? What technique(s) offers the most challenge?

My book, 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters. I can’t quite believe it’s out there, yet it is. Also… I guess I don’t look at knitting as victories or challenges, but rather fun. One victory of note was scoring the most spectacular cashmere sportweight (undyed, artisanal) at the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival a few years ago. It’s beyond heavenly.

Who inspires you? Does that inspiration present in your fiber work?

Steve Jobs did. He walked with me through my babies and most of my adult life. My late husband, my kids, my students, and just about anyone who tries to help others. I also love risk-takers. You know, those who “go where no human has gone before.” And kindness. That always inspires me. My inspiration presents as me. There’s “me” in everything I knit or create by hand. A transference, if you will. My fiber work is my relaxation and my joy, and I like nothing better than passing it on to those who will find pleasure wearing it.

Why do you do what you do? What drives you?

I’m endlessly curious, and so I love tweeting as @knittingnews. I love finding all sorts of fascinating stuff about fiber, knitting and crochet, even sewing, and passing that on. Inventive patterns turn me on, as do exciting skeins of yarn, and art created from fiber. I love critters, and so yak and buffalo and cashmere and corriedale and all the other creature fibers thrill me. I love to write—it’s what I do—and so I crave writing about knitting and fiber.

Where do you see the fiber community headed? What trends do you see coming (or going)? {Gaze into that crystal ball.}

Okay – crystal balls are great fun, and here’s what mine tells me: More fiber combinations and more unusual fibers, such as Kollage’s blue jeans. More and more authentic fiber, and an appreciation of artisanal fibers. I realize I’m not saying much that’s cutting edge. Hummm – well, I’ll just have to think more about that. I’ll get back to you…someday, after I knit just one more row.

What would you like to see more of in the fiber community?

One word: Perspective. I love the fiber community, but on occasion we lose our perspective. Always a good thing to hang on to that.

If you only had 200 yards of sock yarn to create something amazing – what would it be?

A fabulous, airy scarf.

In 63.4 seconds or less…
1.  Favorite color: Red
2.  Favorite color combinations: Spring green and Peach
3.  Favorite shape: figure 8, eternity
4.  Favorite food: lobster, Maine, of course
5.  Most fiberista friendly spot ever visited: Any fiber festival with critters
6.  Favorite fiber to work with: Cashmere
7.  Most important quality when buying fiber: Authenticity
8.  Favorite film/show to craft to: Fringe or Dr. Who or Galaxy Quest or about a million others
9.  Craziest place you have crafted: In a blinding rainstorm
10.Dream fiber destination: Scotland…England…Ireland…Iceland…New Zealand…Taos, NM…Oh, you wanted one? Impossible.

Vicki Stiefel, the LaidBack Knitter “>’>The 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters by Vicki Stiefel & Lisa Souza

Author of Body Parts, The Dead Stone, The Grief Shop, and The Bone Man, all Tally Whyte mystery/thrillers

“Stiefel’s latest shows–again–that she can hold her own against genre heavyweights like John Sanford and Patricia Cornwell.”

All available in unabridged AUDIO from


  1. I know you and still I learn. One constant is the solid fiber of your core. Book is amazing and an inspiration.

  2. Love, love your book my friend. I know all the hard work it took to make it all happen and you certainly did a wonderful job.


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