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 Anne here and here on Ravelry.
Where do you find inspiration?
I am obsessed with beauty in the tiny details that surrounds us, and I often think about the words of Keats: "Beauty is a joy forever". I find beauty everywhere I go, and as I walk and run a lot in the forest and along the seaside I take great pleasure in scrutinizing leaves, birds, waves, flowers, skies..... When I am in town, or traveling, I look a lot at buildings, pavements, doors, and also enjoy looking at what people are wearing, and how they wear it. Sometimes I can freeze to the ground, looking at a garment - and I do my best not to annoy anyone by staring too much:))
All the beautiful things that I see come together in a (for me unknown) way, often combined with old memories. A color can lead me to think about a detail of a dress seen ages ago. My fascination for the A-line shape which I use a lot (Bahar, Love is everywhere, Udakua, Flirt etc.) I can trace back to my aunts tunic-like dresses worn in the 70ties. My inspiration always comes unexpectedly - and often at night. I must sketch it down immediately, if not it will be gone the next morning. All of my ideas doesn't turn into garments, as by now I have far more ideas than time to realize them.
What is your favorite knitting technique?
Even if I master quite a few techniques by now I am still in favor of
the first technique that I (and most knitters I believe) learned: the
garter stitch. I often return to it, to make full garments (my cardigan
Cardamum), a shawl (The Zebra Ruffle scarf) or use it for a tiny detail
somewhere. I like garter edges as well, and often choose to use them in
favor of a ribbed edge. I also enjoy the stockinette stitch and moss
stitch (seed stitch) a lot. These techniques always knit up
beautifully, and I like the rhythm and meditation using them. And used
together it might be turned into Guernsey patterns, which I love.
How did you determine your size ranging?
I do not use a standard size ranging when creating a garment. The pattern repeat is the single most important factor I have to deal with when deciding the size ranging. Thereafter I think a lot about how a design will look at different people. I try to make the size ranging as wide as possible, going from 30" to 50" or above. This is however not always possible. And to my shame I must admit that the first designs I wrote down only included a few sizes.
I am a 34" myself, and I always make the sample in my own size (as I enjoy wearing my own designs a lot:)). In the beginning I found it hard to work out many sizes, nowadays I have more experience and am happy to offer a much wider range.
Do you look at the work of other designers?
From time to time I take a look. I admire the work of many designers, and have a handful of favorites. Especially those who use techniques which are very elaborate, combined with a great shape and choice of colors. In my opinion some of the well-known designers are artists as well as they have the ability of working out a great shape. I never look at their work for inspiration really, it is more pure admiration.
How many samplers/tester do you have working for you, or do you do all by yourself?
When I start up a design I work everything out by myself, from the sketch, through the knitting process, to the pattern-writing (most often those 3 elements are going on at the same time:)). If I have the time I have been asking for testers. Sometimes I have had the pleasure of working with the same tester on several occasions.The test-knits have been extremely valuable for me! It takes a lot of time, but it has been great in so many ways: finding out that the design works for all the sizes, getting feed-back on how to improve the pattern, spell checking..... I have met so many nice people, all my testers have been very pleasant to work with and I cannot thank them enough for sharing their time and their knowledge with me. I wish I had the time to test everything I make, but the process requires daily contact with several testers during a months time or more. Hopefully I will have more time in the future:))
Do you have a mentor?
No, I do not have a knitting mentor. I do get a lot of input from one of my sisters who is an experienced knitter, and I enjoy the feeling of sharing and discussing with someone very close. And my daughter has been my mentor when it comes to everything computer-related! Honestly I do not know how I could have made it without her help:)).
How do you maintain your life/work balance?
This is rather simple really: when I go to my "real" work in the morning, the knitting world stops existing. And it is also the other way around: when I come home I do not give my work one single thought: and I can dream, get inspired, sketch, knit and write patterns as much as I like (which is a lot:)). A normal day for me includes knitting in the morning while eating my breakfast, and some knitting late at night before going to bed. When I travel I always bring my knitting along - I would feel completely lost without it! I try to figure out every opportunity I can get to knit a couple of rows. My daughter is always late whenever we go anywhere: I sit in the car knitting and waiting for her!
How do you deal with criticism?
I believe that if you are prepared to meet admiration you should be
prepared to meet criticism as well. But by criticism I mean the fair
kind of criticism that is put in a decent way. At Ravelry I have found
lots of appreciation, and it really, really warms my heart and makes my
day. If people contact me to point out errors I try to deal with it
straight away. This is very valuable information for me, and I am happy
to receive it. On a few occasions I have met unexpected criticism that
has been put in a more harmful way. I try to deal with it
professionally, but I must admit that I can be hurt as well.
How long did it take before you were able to support yourself?
For me designing and knitting is much more than about money. I will never be able to support myself upon the designing, and I am perfectly happy that I can manage to buy the wool that I need and a chocolate bar from the income:)).The true value is the joy I have from working the design from sketch to pattern, to meet appreciation, to see my pattern made up by other people. The designing gives me a challenge and suits my personality: I can find the peacefulness of the handicraft, the challenge of calculating and the joy of getting more experience through the process.
What's next for you?
In two weeks time I will have my summer holidays:)) Meaning lots of knitting on the tiny island "Asmaloy" in the southern part of Norway, and also a visit to a small wool mill in the southwest of Sweden. I am working on a couple of new designs that I hopefully will be able to present in the early autumn. At one point or another I will have to decide how I will proceed in my designing and also in promoting it. Design and knitting are joy and pleasure to me, and I would like to keep it that way. I think that feeling would be lost a bit if I start thinking about it too much from a business point of view. In many ways I am still that little girl making up wardrobes for her dolls, and I would like to hold on to that feeling.