Friday, July 3, 2015

An Interview with...Brian Smith

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 Brian here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration?

All sorts of places. The colour scheme for one of my earlier shawl patterns came from watching TV. The logo came up for a TV station and I thought: ‘those colours would make a great looking shawl!’

What is your favourite knitting technique?

Whatever I’m working on at the time. I found Brioche recently. I love learning a new technique!

How did you determine your size range?

Because most of my designs are either scarves or shawls, they tend to be one size. Although I did design a jacket a while back, this required some sizing options. I find the math challenging.

Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?

I do look at other designers work and I buy every monthly knitting magazine out there! It’s good to know what others are creating and to see what’s trending at the moment.

How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?

This is a tricky one. I’ve been told I have too much information in a pattern, and also that there’s not enough! Past experience tells me that you can’t please everyone but you have to at least please yourself.

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?

I do it all myself. For me, everything has to be perfect! 

Do you have a mentor?

YouTube! When I first started knitting it was a great help and source of information. Also, “Cascade yarns” for their yarn support.

Do you use a tech editor?

Me! I’m it!

How do you deal with criticism?

Constructive criticism is always welcome. 

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?

Designing is my hobby. It’s cost neutral and that is enough for me.  

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?

Learn as much as you can about the industry from books, the Internet and other designers before you put yourself out there. If you’re selling your designs don’t try to create a masterpiece. Keep it simple. Colour, together with a good quality yarn will keep it interesting for the knitter. 

It is a competitive industry. It’s my hobby; I haven’t tried to make a career out of it. As with any creative business I should imagine one requires talent, business sense, professional support and a lot of luck!

What’s next for you?
I want to see if i can put a brioche stitch into a mitred square for a shawl pattern.



  1. I just came across one of your poncho patterns and just briefly read the instructions and found them to be VERY well written. They are logically ordered and clearly written. Thank you. I look forward to seeing more patterns to add to my library!

  2. I found this interview from a Ravelry link. I think Brian is my new design hero. Thanks for publishing this!

  3. I love Brian's designs an have almost all of them. Loved the interview.