Monday, December 1, 2014

GAL2014 Interviews - KnitwiseDesign

For those of you who did not know - this year, I am participating in the Indie Designer Gift-along event, hosted by the awesome bunch of fellow designers and volunteers at Basically, it's a giant knit along that where participating designers offer 25% off for selected patterns. The event ends on Dec 2014, so don't delay and go here to find out more about it and join!

Part of the fun is to interview other participating designers and learn more about them in the process. Today, I am interviewing Linda from KnitwiseDesign. Her designs are these timeless classic pieces that every knitter living in a cold climate should make for themselves or as gifts. Her designs can be found here.

Flora and Stella
Sock Lover's Socks

And my personal favourite is Tidal Cove Scarf

Without further ado, here is the interview:

Jenny: You knit since childhood, who taught you how to knit and did you like it right away?
Linda: When I was six years old my grandmother taught me to knit. Bright red acrylic yarn and plastic needles, but I took to it right away. That particular work in progress remained a WIP for many years though, and I never did finish it. But when I was eleven years old I wanted to knit a sweater for a special friend, so I jumped right into sweater knitting. From that point on I always had a project going - sweaters, hats, even a shawl back before they were fashionable! The yarns then were not what I would use now, and bless my tolerant family for always acting thrilled when I gifted them with another acrylic creation! The real turning point came for me when I picked up a copy of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s "Knitting Without Tears" in 1981. That book changed not only my knitting, but literally my whole outlook on life - you don’t have to follow a pattern - for knitting or for life!

Jenny: What made you to decide to design?
Linda: Once I became an EZ devotee I designed for myself and my family all the time, but I have to say that Ravelry made designing as a career possible for me. Without the computer and internet I don’t think I could have developed a business doing this. It is so perfect for me because it combines two very opposite sides of my nature - the creative, imaginative side and the mathematical, analytic, perfectionist side. I think it is amazing how much I have had to learn about computers, spreadsheets, graphic design, even photography and marketing. I never get bored!

Jenny: After looking at your designs I see that you have a very classic taste with a bit of comfort thrown in. What inspires you?
Linda: Firstly, thank you so much for the kind comment! I wish I knew exactly what inspires me. It seems to come from thin air sometimes! Often I will be eating dinner, or very commonly, just falling asleep, and I need to jump up and sketch an idea for a design! I have a couple sketch books full of ideas! One thing that is often a motivator is a desire for a special gift for someone. Sometimes I feel like just sitting down with a well-worn stitch dictionary and browsing. That often stimulates lots of ideas for the sketch book!

Jenny: What is your favorite thing to design and why?
Linda: I seem to have the most ideas for garment designs. Yet if you look at my designs you will see only one cardigan and two vests so far! The garments take so long to do and I am getting new ideas all the time, so sometimes find it hard to commit to one! The accessories are more fun to actually work with since they are must faster from start to finish. I like to release a pattern now on a regular basis, and that has had me concentrating on my accessory ideas for now.

Jenny: What is your most popular pattern? tell us a bit more about its creation and what inspired you to make it.
Linda: My most popular pattern to date has been Sock Lover’s Socks, which just goes to show that you can never predict the success of a design! That design was developed specifically as a thank you present for a friend who loves to knit socks for others. I thought that these socks would be a very personal gift for her, and that as a design no one would really be interested. Not only did the pattern sell very well, I continue to get personal messages and comments from people about how much they love the design!

Jenny: By absolute chance, few days ago I stumbled on someone mentioning in the Briggs & Little group that you visited their mill with them! I belong to the group also and often when people talk about their likes for rustic yarns, I feel a bit of a kinship:) What is your favorite wool to knit with and why?
Linda: Wow - that is a hard one! There are so many beautiful yarns these days! I do still have a real fondness for the more rustic yarns like Briggs & Little. It used to be that rusticity was the mark of a real wool hand knit sweater. Now of course there are so many soft, merino wools on the market, and they definitely have their place! I used String Theory’s Caper Sock - merino wool and cashmere - for my Simply Sweet Shawl pattern and found it absolutely heavenly! And I am finishing up a project with Malabrigo Worsted which I am smitten with now as well.

Jenny: What’s next for you?
Linda: I would love to get a little faster at my process and put out more designs next year. I am also experimenting with the idea of some in-print options for some of my patterns. My Hunting Season Hat is available now in hard copy at the Briggs and Little Mill in New Brunswick. I think I need to focus some more in the coming year on marketing and getting the word out about my designs. And I would like to take one of my many garment design ideas and get it to completion.

Hunting Season Hat

It was a pleasure to interview Linda and learn more about her designs and inspirations! Stay tuned for another interesting interview:)

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