|Susan teaching spinning at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Fest.|
Where do you find inspiration?Usually I find inspiration in nature - flowers and natural themes are my favorites. Clematis Vine came from my garden. Tamarack and Spruce from a trip to the Adirondacks and Rainforest from this long cold winter when I need to see GREEN in a place that didn't get snow.
Sometimes I have colors in mind that need a name. Other times I see something that by itself inspires a colorway. For Sherbert and Ernie I dyed up some yarn and then took it to my Knitting Group. It contains sherbet colors of watermelon, lime, cantaloupe, banana and mango but I thought that too bland a name. One of the women came up with the final title which I love. I even designed a dish of sherbet with the characters faces on the scoops as an ad.
What is your favourite knitting technique?
How did you determine your size range?
Do you look at other designers' work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?Oh I do look. Sometimes I get inspired by a grouping, other times I just see what colors and styles are trending. This winter I designed two cowls as it seemed that was all my knitting group wanted to work on.
How do you feel about the so called controversy of "dumbing down" patterns for knitters?
Could you tell us about the book proposal that you are currently working on?
Sure. I'm working on a book, whose title right now is I-cord Mania. It includes patterns using I-cord cast-on, bind-off, edging and my own Internal I-cord. I'm not a writer, so I have been procrastinating by designing more patterns for the book. In the long run that's a good thing but in the short, it doesn't get my proposal out there. However, I'm now very close. I have the intro written and a chapter on making a swatch using the methods. I've started a Technique section and am putting the pics together. I have about 8 patterns ready to go which, hopefully will be enough to get this accepted by a publisher.
You are known for having "un-vented" an internal I-cord which has been featured in a number of your patterns. Could you tell us the story behind the un-invention?
Some of you may know of a sewing technique / feature called a welt. You’ve most often seen it on western style shirts separating one section from another. Usually it’s made by folding the ends of two parts of the garment over and together, then sewing them down making a nice delineation between two sections.
While thinking up Verve for Knitter’s magazine (K109, 2012), I imagined such a nice delineation between the sections without binding off and picking up stitches to make that thick line. Boing! I-cord. So I searched and searched EZ’ books and then on the internet, finding I-cord cast on, bind-off, applied cording and edging but, alas no I-cord that did not have at least one side free. I thought about this for a while and then placed the instructions for cast-on (adding stitches) and bind-off (removing stitches) side by side. “Hmmmnnn,” I said to myself, “How can I do both at once but still maintain the same number of stitches?” I worked each looking at how they formed. AHA! Put them together! That idea produced more than several false starts and frogged samples. However I made myself take exacting notes, which got themselves crossed out, erased and replaced. I fiddled and faddled but eventually my brain did figure out how to make my very own UNvention – the Internal I-cord. It worked great for flat knitting but the skirt is knit in the round. So there ensued more trial and error samples that, of course, led eventually to a fairly simple solution, which can be seen and knit in several projects in my proposed book.
You teach a number of classes related to knitting on the topics of spinning, spindling and dyeing, how has this affected your growth as a designer?
How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
Sadly, my very best, fastest and most accurate test knitter passed away last summer and I haven't found anyone who meets those standards again yet. I have one person who edits for me but the better test knitters nearby are slower than I would like so I wind up test knitting for myself which is not ideal.
Did you do a formal business plan?
Do you have a mentor?
What impact has the Internet had on your business?
Do you use a tech editor?
No, but I sure would like to meet one and work with that person. I think my patterns would be oh so much better if I did.
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?
What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Sherbert and Ernie Socks in Bare Bones Pattern