I'm Amy van de Laar, a knitting designer and singer living in Melbourne, Australia. My accessory designs spring from a love of texture and colour, and take inspiration from art and nature - I love creating new stitch patterns and finding out what they want to be! I've always been surrounded by creative people, and can’t imagine life without a project on the go.
I design under the name Baroque Purls, which is a fusion of my twin passions for music and knitting. My musical background covers many years of piano lessons, an MA in the History and Literature of music, and over a decade of singing in choirs including the Choir of St Mary of the Angels and the Tudor Consort in my home city, Wellington, New Zealand.
My knitting obsession began in the early days of Ravelry and Knitty, fuelled by countless blog posts and library books. I gradually fell in love with designing my own accessory patterns inspired by nature, art, and geometry, freely exploring texture and colour. In recent years I've had the pleasure of collaborating with Brooklyn Tweed, amirisu, Pom Pom Quarterly, and Knitty.
My goal is to create beautiful patterns which are easy to follow and a joy to knit. I want to help you make the most of your precious yarn, and help you make your projects the best they can be by providing simple clear patterns and helpful tips.
You can find all of my patterns on Ravelry.
Why "Baroque Purls"?
One of the things I love best about Baroque-era music is also one of the things I love best about knitting! The music has a lot of scope for improvisation, so no two performances are ever the same and each artist truly makes the piece their own. And when you knit, you might be using the same pattern as another knitter, but chances are you'll be using a different colour, or yarn, or making a different size, or making modifications to the pattern to make your project suit you perfectly. Just like no two Handel arias are alike, no two shawls or sweaters are alike.
Baroque, adj. /bəˈrɒk, -ˈrəʊk/
1: of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a style of artistic expression prevalent especially in the 17th century that is marked generally by use of complex forms, bold ornamentation, and the juxtaposition of contrasting elements often conveying a sense of drama, movement, and tension
2: characterized by grotesqueness, extravagance, complexity, or flamboyance
3: irregularly shaped - used of gems - 'a baroque pearl'
Origin: French, from Middle French barroque and Portuguese barocco, irregularly shaped pearl. First known use: 1765
Purl, noun. /pəːl/
1: a knitting stitch made by putting the needle through the front of the stitch from right to left
Origin: mid 17th century, of uncertain origin
(From www.merriam-webster.com and oxforddictionaries.com)
If you’re curious to know more, I wrote a blog post about why I chose the name: Why ‘Baroque Purls’?
Interviews & media
Featured: Anagram by Amy van de Laar - An interview on the amirisu blog about my Anagram Hat & Wrap, and my favourite places in Melbourne (2018)
Interview with Amy van de Laar - An interview by Sarah Schira about the Indie Giftalong, what excites & inspires me, and what most surprised me about being a designer (2017)
Fellow Fibre Friends - Amy van de Laar - An interview by Amy Darsie, discussing what I adore about designing, my creative process, and how I cope with the difficult bits (2016)
TNBT Magical Makers featuring Amy van de Laar - A fun interview for Carolyn Macpherson's The Next Beautiful Thing, about design inspiration, lace, and echidnas (2016)
An Interview with...Amy van de Laar - An interview by Robin Hunter, focusing on the business side of being a knitting designer (2016)
Take 5: Amy van de Laar - A bite-sized interview on the Brooklyn Tweed blog, about my first Wool People pattern (2015)
Interview: Amy van de Laar, Baroque Purls - An interview by Janelle Martin, about my design inspiration, favourite yarns, and lesser-known patterns (2014)
Designer interview: Amy van de Laar, Baroque Purls - A short interview by Nim Teasdale, about my design process and style (2014)
Häkeln + Stricken für Geeks - A book about 'Knitting + Crochet for Geeks' by Verena Kuni, featuring my Insulate Hat & I Dream of Falling Blocks scarf (2013)