Friday, November 17, 2017

An Interview with...Aistė Butkevičienė

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 Aistė here on Ravelry and on Instagram here:

Where do you find inspiration?
The first source of my inspiration is my hands. I let them do what they want, making crazy swatches, inventing new techniques, drawing sketches. The next source is my eyes. I watch fashion shows, street-wear, apparel shops. Then I let myself soak in trends, lines, shapes and colours. After that I mix everything and the design pops into my mind. I just need  to knit it quickly before the inspiration fades away.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
Maybe it‘s not a technique in the way we normally understand it. It is a combination of techniques which I use to make garments that fit real women's bodies. My design process is split into two parts. The first is to design the garment as I see it. Yarn, stitch pattern, color, silhouette and the finishing techniques. The next part is to make pattern drafts which are taken from tailoring. I add different styles of bust darts, I make the back longer and I lift the back neck, I use a wider front, different shoulder slopes, unsymmetrical armholes and sleeve caps. My knitters are not only knitters, but they have the skills of a tailor at the same time. And of course, all detailed instructions are included in every pattern. The goal is to connect design and the best fit possible into one piece. And that is my favourite technique.

New design coming Jan 2018

Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
Sometimes I look and I have my beloved designers. But I hope I do have my own style and I‘m not afraid to be influenced. As I mentioned already, I‘m keen on the tailoring side of knitting and that is completely different.

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
I have a lot. I need about 20-30 knitters to test one sample. I do 7 sizes, so I need 2-3 knitters to test one size. I've done around 15 or 16 testings already, so maybe one hundred in total... My test knitters (I call them Early Birds) are the best in the world. I made a look-book of my last collection, and the last pages of it show how talented and beautiful they are. You can see it here:

Did you do a formal business plan?
No, I didn't. I just have a schedule of the steps which I need to do and try to follow them. 

New design coming Jan 2018

Do you have a mentor?
I have a forum thread where I've been teaching knitting for  three years. Many talented knitters participate there and we share our experiences. Some of them have taught me a lot. But I do not have a formal mentor. When I was a kid, I had a grandmother. She was a passionate knitter and she instilled me with a passion for knitting.

Do you use a tech editor?
No, I do not. My methods of making patterns is very different and no tech editor would be able to calculate them correctly.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?
Knitting and designing is my full time hobby. I have a business, but now my husband takes care of 90% of it, so I am almost free to do what I love.

How do you deal with criticism?
Criticism sometimes hurts, but it also sometimes works as eye opener. The biggest transformations in my knitting
life happened thanks to constructive criticism.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
I‘m not supporting myself yet. I think I need more time and more effort. However looking at it from a different angle I find doing what you love is more valuable.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
If you eat, breathe and sleep knitting, you should try. If knitting is your best friend, if you dream sweaters at night, if you prefer knitting to a party, camping or a trip, you should try. And I recommend that you need to have at least few decades of knitting experience.

What’s next for you?
I published my first collection, Merino Hug. Winter Solstice recently. It consists of 8 patterns, all using merino yarn. All the designs fit a woman's curves and use tailoring patterns. Now I‘m working on my Spring collection, drawing sketches of the upcoming Summer collection and thinking of Fall. That is my plan for the next two years. 

New design coming Jan 2018

Aistė also wanted to share her free lace stitch pattern collection, with the readers of her interview, you can find it here:


  1. I regard this interview as an acknowledement of Aiste's merits. Aiste has united many good knitters in a powerful and a very friendly community. She is a generous tutor, ready to share her experiences with others. Thanks to her, I've learned a lot about knitting techniques and fine details.

  2. Aiste is my dear sister! I'm SO SO PROUD of her. She is amazingly talented, creative, inspirational and hard working! Knitting is her life.
    Labai tave myliu, Aistele. Didziuojuosi, apkabinu ir buciuoju! Tavo sesike.