Once a week I post interviews with interesting people about their insights on their experience of working in the Knitting industry. I’ve noticed that every one of these individuals makes their living in a slightly different manner bringing their own unique presence to the Knitting world.
You can find Caroline here and here on Ravelry.
Where do you find inspiration?
I was going to say "everywhere," but that's not really helpful, is it? Usually, I'll ask myself what's missing from my own wardrobe at the moment, and then I'll design it. For instance, when all my hand-knitted socks start getting holes in them, it's time to design some new ones. When it gets cold out, that means it's hat time. I figure if I need it, others might, too. As for specific designs, the inspiration comes from many places.
Classic movies: "Peter Lorre, the Mysterious" and the "Darrieux Capelet" were fashioned after costume silhouettes, while "Delysia Double-Knit Scarf" and "Miss Pettigrew" were inspired by a pair of earrings and some wrought iron seen in a film. My first design, "Fairly Kate", was based on a hat I saw on TV and liked.
Archaeology: I like incorporating motifs from other cultures, particularly ancient ones. (See Princesa de los Andes, Inca Glory, and Kichwa Love Song.)
Music: I've done a few with lace or colorwork harps, and other designs have music-related names.
Stitch patterns: Less often, a stitch pattern will catch my eye and I'll design a piece around it. Japanese stitch patterns especially can cause me to get obsessive, as this past winter when variations of one pattern found its way into two shawls, two cowls, a scarf, and a collar.
Every now and then, I'll even find inspiration in my own designs. While working on one design, I'll start wondering how I can tweak it, and one design snowballs into a whole group. Usually, the knitter will know what inspired a design, because it will be reflected either in the name or in the introductory text accompanying the pattern.
What is your favourite knitting technique?
I like working with lightweight yarns because (A) they're flattering on the body and (B) you get more yardage to the skein. Beyond that, I like to be challenged. I like lace, cables, twisted stitches, and stranded colorwork. Beading is fun, too, but I prefer adding them with a crochet hook while work is in progress. That way I don't risk making a counting error during pre-stringing. Math is not my favorite thing. Probably my least favorite technique is intarsia, and I've never tried steeking.
Even with the detail work, I still try to make my patterns as user-friendly as possible. Even the complicated ones usually aren't as hard as they may look.
How did you determine your size range?
I usually try to make adult garments for XS-5XL (30"- 62" / 76-157 cm). One of my earlier sweater patterns went up to 2X, and I had knitters say they wished it came in larger sizes. Since I self-publish, I thought, why not? Everyone deserves to have hand knits they can feel great in.
That said, I usually design around my shape. I'm short, curvy, and three-dimensional. It's discouraging to me when a design doesn't take that into account. If a garment looks great on a hanger but not on a human body, what's the point in making it? So I almost always include waist shaping with a note that it can be omitted if desired.
Do you look at other designers' work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
How do you feel about the so called controversy of "dumbing down" patterns for knitters?
How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
Did you do a formal business plan?
Do you have a mentor?
Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
What impact has the Internet had on your business?
Do you use a tech editor?
How do you maintain your life/work balance?
How do you deal with criticism?
How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?I don't, yet. I've only been designing officially for a little over 2 years, and it's still a supplementary income stream. But it does pay for the yarn and knitting books, which I'd be buying anyway. That's a definite plus.
What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?