Friday, August 17, 2012

An Interview with...Terri Kruse

Once a week I post interviews with interesting designers about their insights on their experience of working in the knitting industry. I’ve noticed that every designer makes their living in a slightly different manner bringing their own unique presence to the knitting world.  

You can find Terri here on Ravelry and her website is here.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in a number of places, pop culture, fashion design, art, and sometimes just everyday life.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
My favorite technique tends to change with my moods. Sometimes it's lace, other times it's cables, right now it's colorwork.

Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
I do look. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to be “influenced” by others. Sometimes, seeing something can spark a completely different idea in you. I will also look to make sure I am not duplicating something that is already out there.
How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?
Hmm, well I don't know. I don't really have an opinion on it from a designing point of view. I mean, I know that patterns have gotten easier to understand, I don't think that is a bad thing. 

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
Currently, I do all the knitting myself. I do have testers that I use and the number varies per project. There may come a time when I won't be able to do all the knitting. I'd actually love to have a sample knitter for sleeves. I'm only joking (sort of). Let's just say sleeves are not my favorite part of sweater knitting!

Did you do a formal business plan?
I haven't until recently. I have been mostly doing this part time to keep myself busy while I home with son. He's off to preschool this year though, so I am attempting to organize myself a bit more.

Do you have a mentor?
Not specifically. I have had some advice from time to time. The Ravelry Designers forum can be a good read for advice or conversation about business related things, as well.

What impact has the Internet had on your business?
Huge! I wouldn't be doing this if not for the Internet. I sometimes feel a bit like an island. I don't live near an LYS or near a large group of knitters, so to be able to connect with people on the Internet is a huge deal for me. Not to mention, the ease of doing business this way. Everything is faster.
Yes, I do. I think a tech editor is very important.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?
Well, I know a lot of designers say they don't knit other people's patterns much, but I do. It keeps me from getting too into my own stuff and is a nice break if I need a break. I try to always have at least one “fun” project going. Even if I only get to knit for five minutes a day on something else, I do. I also always try to make time for the family. Everyday we go outside, read books, do activities. I can knit samples almost any time. I use my work time extremely efficiently.

How do you deal with criticism?
If there is a reason for it as there sometimes is, I just try and make it work for me in that I learn from it. Change what needs changing and move on. I don't really let opinions bother me much. If people don't like something because their style is different or whatever, they are entitled to that. It's not a big deal.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
I'm so bad at advice. Well, research the industry and decide what it is that you want to get out of being a knitwear designer. Is it money? Is it a flexible schedule? Do you just really really feel the need to make up your own patterns? What is it that you want? Then, plan around that. Oh and never stop learning, when you close your mind to learning, the creative process is stunted.

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