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 Deborah here and here on Ravelry.
Where do you find inspiration?
What is your favourite knitting technique?
It's no mystery that I am profoundly addicted to colorwork, and more specifically, to stranded colorwork. I do enjoy slip-stitch colorwork and intarsia, but I get a complete and total "fix" when stranding. And I knit about 10-12 hours every day.
Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
I rarely look at others' work. I'm not afraid of being influenced by them. I just forget to look. I am familiar with the work of other colorwork designers and, if not for people like Alice Starmore, I wouldn't know stranded knitting at all. So, I appreciate the designs of other artists, but I don't keep up all that well.
How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?
I am unaware of a controversy. As I wrote above, I don't keep up all that well. When I write and chart my designs, my goal is to make them accurate and user-friendly. I don't think things have to be complicated to be good. Is that what you mean?
How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
For the most part, I do everything myself. I have had people test-knit, and I appreciate when they do, but I find that for the most part, I can finish a project in a more appropriate time-span myself. So, I just do it. Having said that, I design KAL patterns each month for any in my Ravelry group who want to work along, and several new designs have been test-knitted via the KAL route.
Did you do a formal business plan?
Pffft. No. I have only been stranding for about 4 years, and I have been designing colorwork patterns for only 2 years.
Do you have a mentor?
Pffft. No. Sure would like one!
Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
Wow. I am a mess. No! It is what it is.
What impact has the Internet had on your business?
If it weren't for Ravelry, I would not have a business. Ravelry has been a wonderful medium to express my ideas, gain popularity and meet like-minded people from all over the globe. I do have a website, and I use FaceBook, but Ravelry has been the best help to me.
Do you use a tech editor?
I am very fortunate to have a few tech editors as personal friends with whom I regularly meet, gab, have coffee and knit. So, yeah, I have all kinds of help!!!
How do you maintain your life/work balance?
This one is easy. I have achieved a very happy and perfect balance. I am consumed by knitting 24 hours a day. I do not vacuum. I do not cook much. I am fully immersed in all things knitting nearly every waking moment. Perfect balance, I think. Don't you?
How do you deal with criticism?
I welcome it if it is not mean-spirited. I am always open to a useful critique. I have learned so much, and the more I learn, the more I realize I can't live long enough to learn all I want to know.
How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
There is an assumption here that I can support myself with my work. I cannot--yet. I make about 20 cents an hour at this point. But this isn't about money for me. I am so lucky to be able to get up each day and do what I love just because I love it. My husband is completely supportive. I know how lucky I am in this regard, and I do not take for granted, even for a second, my fortunate life circumstances. This is not to say I don't want to be self-supporting. I think that if my designs ever become popular enough, and my teaching skills become sought after enough to yield financial security, it would reflect a level of success I do not now own.
What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Go for it! If you LOVE it, and if you have no financial goal in mind, then just do it. Ravelry and like sites are two-edged swords, though. While they allow a designer to gain recognition, they allow everyone the same opportunity. So, there are lots of us out there. I personally feel there is room for all of us. We each bring something unique to the table. Know this. It's a lot of work. If you see the work as something you'd be doing anyway, go for it! If I can help, please let me know.
I will be doing the Ravellenics with my Ravlery group (Colorworks By Debi) next month. This is a first for me. I think we will be called Team Tomasello. (I am an alliteration fan.) Come join us! I also design specific KAL patterns each month for KALs. We have fun. Jump in! http://www.ravelry.com/groups/
|Deborah at one of her shows, knitting, of course!|