I am self taught with respect to machine knitting, but my family influenced me greatly. My father Leon Bibel was a renowned artist and some of his work can be seen in Brooklyn, New York, at Park Slope Gallery. As for myself: whether or not I inherited any artistic flair from my father, I cannot say. He did not teach me to draw or paint, declaring only that if I had the ability and interest I would get there on my own. I certainly learned from him how to look at such things as design and colour.
Perhaps my field of endeavour was more influenced by my mother and her parents, Frank and Paula Vinincor, who lived next door to us. They worked in textiles. My grandfather had worked as a tailor, and my grandmother as a hand-finisher of tailored garments. My mother’s career was as a school teacher, but in her spare time she hand-knitted and crocheted enthusiastically and with great skill, creating some amazing fabrics. My mother Neysa, taught me how to hand knit.
It was not until my first child was born that I started to machine knit. The idea of using 200 needles on a knitting machine instead of 2 by hand was very appealing to me. It would mean that I could complete projects far more quickly than I could if I hand knitted them. I read as much as I could about how to use my machine and made many mistakes as I worked through my first projects. As I improved I started knitting for friends and also sold garments I made. A friend introduced me to the public relations officer at Sirdar Yarns and that started me off on my designing and pattern writing for others.