Friday, June 9, 2017

An Interview with...Moira Engel

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 Moira here and here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere. I am drawn to textures and usually discover a texture or stitch pattern that I really want to use. Then I decide what would fit best with that “fabric”.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
I fall in love with new techniques all the time. While I am using them, they are my favourite. I am fickle and fall for the next newest thing so easily. Fortunately for me, there is an endless supply of new knitting tricks and techniques to try.

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

I admire other designers work all the time. I love it when I see something I haven’t seen before. I am influenced by other designers work in that it inspires me to try new things and stretch beyond my comfort zones.

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

For me, knitting the sample is the reward! After all the planning, sketching, writing and math I feel like I’ve earned it. That is what this is all about for me, getting to knit at the end of the day.

Did you do a formal business plan?

No, I really just try not to spend money that I haven’t earned yet! I am always delighted and astonished when my submissions are accepted. So I just keep walking forward with it.

Do you have a mentor?

That would be my mom! She taught me to knit when I was 9 years old. Since then it was a joy that we could share. My mom and I always had something on our needles and would spend countless hours with coffee and wool.

Do you have a business model that you have emulated?

I don’t think so?

Do you use a tech editor?

Always! I have a rock star tech editor whom I adore! My early designs were not tech edited and I always lived in fear that there would be a major error. Occasionally, there was! When I discovered that there were people out there who would check and perfect patterns I was hooked. Even if I’m sending in a pattern for publication and it will be tech edited again, I use a tech editor. It just gives me confidence that I’m sending out the best that I possibly can.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?

I’m pretty sure that I don’t! It’s all sort of intermingled. Mannequins creep down into my living room and spend time with the family. There are baskets of yarn everywhere. Family members are often models….though I haven’t been able to get my son to shave his legs for sock modeling yet! Making things is a passion in our family, so nobody complains.

How do you deal with criticism?

I am absolutely fine with constructive criticism. After looking at a project for weeks, there are things about it that you won’t notice. I welcome comments and even rejection! It’s how you improve and learn new things.

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

That’s still in the future. It took probably about 5 years until I had what could be classified as an income.

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

Pick projects that give you butterflies and that you feel passionate about. It will show in your work! Remember that you are putting out a product that you hope others will use, so it should be the best that you can manage. Don’t give up! A rejection from one publisher is another publications’ acceptance. Don’t take on more than you can actually produce, be reasonable with your expectations of yourself. Self-publish if you can’t find a home for a piece. The knitting community is very supportive and full of wonderful people. Reach out if you need to and there will be many people who would love to share experience and help when asked. Keep moving forward and things will present themselves as you go…..and yes, get involved in social media.

What’s next for you?

I have no idea! I just keep designing what pops into my head and see what happens next!

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