Friday, January 22, 2010

An Interview with....Nancy Marchant

Once a week I post interviews with interesting designers about their insights on their experience of working in the Knitting industry. I’ve noticed that every designer makes their living in a slightly different manner bringing their own unique presence to the Knitting world.

Where do you find inspiration?
From textiles. I have a fascination with patterning and decoration - be it on printed or dyed cloth, woven rugs or knitted sweaters.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
The brioche stitch, of course.

Do you look at other designers work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
I look at everyone’s work and most of the time think to myself “why didn’t I think of that?” I am constantly amazed at the new knitting ideas designers keep coming up with.

How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?
I think there are patterns out there for everyone. I just pass by the “dumbed down” ones but I know that a lot of knitters are still learning and that a lot of knitters really don’t want much of a challenge. That’s fine, whatever works.

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
I do most of the knitting myself but have a wonderful woman who knits a lot of my big pieces for sweaters. She knits the pieces and then I put the garment together. For my book, two knitting friends, Alex (underdutchskies on ravelry) made the Bloemenvelden Scarf and Malia (maliamather on ravelry) helped with the Book Exchange Cardigan.

Did you do a formal business plan?
No, but knitting is not my main source of income. I work as a freelance graphic designer and that pays the bills.

Do you have a mentor?
Every one of those great knitting teachers. I admire anyone who can teach well and there are a lot of good ones out there.

What impact has the Internet had on your business?
If I weren’t such a web duffus I think it would have more of an impact. Ravelry has made it possible for all designers, including myself, to make their patterns available to a huge knitting public. Ravelry has made a huge impact on knitting.

Do you use a Tech Editor?
For the book I got to use Sue McCain, one of the best.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?
Like I said before, I am a graphic designer by profession but I have a MFA in textile design. Because knitting is not my main form of income but my passion, I have the luxury of knitting when I want and what I want. I rarely have the pressures of getting projects done on time which can jeopardize the quality of the pattern and design.

How do you deal with criticism?
Badly, like everyone else. A million people can compliment my work, but I will always remember that one who criticized.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Educate yourself as much as you can. At the same time work on developing your own knitting creativity. Try combinations of stitches, combinations of techniques and combinations of fiber. And don’t let yourself be paid less than what your time is worth.

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