Friday, October 10, 2014

An Interview with...Suvi Simola

 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. 

You can find Suvi  here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration?
It's a difficult question because there's inspiration everywhere! It may be a fashion magazine, Pinterest, something seen on the streets etc. The only thing that I can say for sure is that for some reason, I don't get inspiration from nature, I look at nature completely from photographers viewpoint and seldom think about knitting at the same time. 

And one more thing I've learned - you can't force yourself to get inspired. You have to take it easy, keep your eyes and mind open and let ideas to find you, otherwise you'd only get stressed out. 

What is your favourite knitting technique?
I love knitting Stockinette stitch in the round. It's soothing and it's beautiful in its simplicity. Garter stitch is great for the same reason.

How did you determine your size range?
For fitted garments, I usually go with 10 sizes, 2" apart. I feel that 10 sizes is easier to manage when checking the pattern, grading etc. than for example 12 sizes. For over-sized garments, it's usually 5-6 sizes.

Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
Yes, of course. It's nice to know what others are doing and when I get an idea, I usually check that there isn't something very similar on the market. I have my own style so I'm not afraid of getting influenced by others designs though.

How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?
I like to go with the principle "as much as necessary, as little as possible". It's a good thing to make the patterns as detailed as possible so even the beginners can knit from them but there's a point where adding more and more notes and suggestions, turns a pattern from being easy and helpful, into complicated.

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
I make all the samples myself because I feel I have to knit the garment by myself to be able to write the pattern but as always, there's an exception to this rule. I've once written a pattern for a baby blanket that my friend knitted. I knit only a ¼ of the blanket to be able to write the pattern but the photographed sample was made by her. It was a nice project working together.I have wonderful test knitters, usually 3-10 for a project, depending on sizing and how complicated the pattern is.
What impact has the Internet had on your business?
Internet is a necessity for my business. Couldn't be able to work without. 

How do you maintain your life/work balance?

It was hard at the beginning but now I think I've established a good routine that keeps things in balance. At some point I realized that I have to draw a line somewhere so now I don't check my work emails late at night and usually don't work at all on weekends. Things are much better now.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
I started this career in 2008 but for many years I was doing it only part-time. I'm now doing it full-time and it certainly has had an impact.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
If that's what you really love to do then go ahead! It's not an easy job and every pattern requires a lot of work and attention but it can be your dream job if you want to.

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