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 Jen here and here on Ravelry.
Where do you find inspiration?
I’m not one to look at a tree and think ‘I can make a shawl like that!’ I tend to start with an idea, like ‘Oh, I would love a half-circle cable and lace shawl’ and then go to my stitch dictionaries and see where it takes me.
What is your favourite knitting technique?
I am obsessed with adding knitted-on lace borders to the bottom of my top-down shawls. That’s definitely my favorite!
How did you determine your size range?
Currently I only design accessories. For shawls, I typically write a pattern for one size and include notes on how you can adjust the size. For hats, I’ll usually include at least two sizes, sometimes more, depending on the pattern.
Pattern written for baby through adult sizes
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. I love seeing what my friends are up to!
How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
I have a group of about 10 total sample/test knitters I work with. I still do a lot of the knitting myself, but when it comes to the books, I have to get help. Most of them are the knitters in my knit and crochet group. I have a couple of knitters I’ve met on Ravelry that I trust to help me with the sample and test knitting.
Do you have a mentor?
Nope! I do have a great group of designer friends I’ve met through social media that I can bounce ideas off of though.
Do you use a tech editor?
Yes. I currently have two different ones that I will use, depending on their schedules. With my books, my publisher has a group of wonderful tech editors they use.
How do you maintain your life/work balance?
I have a general rule of no computer work on the weekend. That really helps with keeping a good work/life balance. I also tend to stop working for the day when my husband gets home from work (around 6:30pm). When I’m nearing a book deadline, it’s a different story. Then it’s all work all the time! I think the beauty of having your own business is that you can decide what works for you. I’ve also recently spent some time recently trying to work smarter. For example, I write usually write my blog posts for the week all at once or write upcoming patterns one day in a week. I find, for me, I save a lot of time by working in chunks like that.
What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Remember that when you make your hobby of knitting your job, that’s what it is – a job. A hobby you can set aside at any time, but when you make it your job, sometimes you have to knit, whether you feel like it or not. Get on some submission call lists (many magazines and yarn companies will have links on their websites) just to get a feel for what’s out there. If you want to do it, go for it! Start submitting design ideas or work on building your self-publishing catalog. The only way to make it a career is to take it seriously and work on it.
What’s next for you?
I’m starting work on my next self-published eBook, which will be coming out in early 2016. I’m also in the beginning stages of working on my next book!