Friday, September 21, 2012

An Interview with...Ágnes Kutas-Keresztes

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 Ágnes here and here on Ravelry

Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration can come from various sources. Sometimes it is the world around me. To give you an example, with some of my designs, I tried to capture the things that are most typical for a specific season: I have a sweater full of green leaves for Spring, one with grapes for Fall and a vest with the flames of a fireplace for Winter. Each was a great adventure to design. Spring Leaves is a bit special because of the way I decreased the yoke. I had to re-design and re-knit that part several times until I figured out the best way to do it but the end result was well worth it. With Freisa and Firelight, creating the stitch pattern was the most exciting part of the design process. I enjoyed drawing them a lot.

Sometimes, I just want to use a classic stitch pattern I really like. This was how I created my Selene collection; the OXO cable is one of my favourites so I chose to work with it when I started to design some accessories for Winter.

Sometimes, I just sit down in front of the computer and start drawing with my chart editing software. I arrange and rearrange the stitches until I get something I like.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
I like working with different techniques; changes make life more interesting. However, I do have a favourite at the moment, I have to confess I am currently addicted to top-down triangular shawls.

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

I think it is impossible not to look at other designers’ work and it wouldn’t be wise to avoid it. One has to know the world around us, or at least try to get to know it. I’m quite sure it’s impossible to completely separate ourselves from others and their work, we all influence each other in some way or another, although in many cases we aren’t even aware that it is happening. However, by influence I don’t mean that we simply copy what we see, it doesn’t work like that. There are a lot of things we experience day by day, in the knitting world and in the world beyond. When the outside world interacts with our inner world, it often triggers new ideas and although we might have seen some of the building blocks we use already, we are able to create something unique and valuable again and again. The language of knitting is just like any other language. Only we use stitches instead of words. The possibilities of combining those are infinite.

How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?
My goal is to write patterns that can be easily followed and understood. I have a background in teaching and thus some practice with explaining things. I have never taught knitting but the principle is the same; you have to try and think with the recipient’s mind and you have to be able to describe something in a structured and logical manner. I don’t think it would be a bad thing to prefer clarity instead of letting knitters guess how they should do a certain step. I’ve got a lot of positive feedback so I think I’m on the right track.
I take it very seriously, whether positive or negative. As we write our patterns for others and not for ourselves, feedback is extremely important. Fortunately I haven’t had to deal with much negative criticism so far, but if I read something not entirely positive about one of my patterns, I try not to take it personally but learn from it instead.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Be patient. It takes time to get somewhere but I strongly believe that if you work hard, you will get where you want to. Don’t have just one big goal but set a number of minor ones, too, so that you can see that you are constantly moving instead of being disappointed about “not being there yet.” And to be honest, you won’t be rich with a career in knitting. I believe most designers will share this opinion . However, it is a most rewarding career and I think starting to design was one of the best decisions in my life.


  1. This was a very nice interview with a great young talent. I especially appreciated her response to the question about "dumbing down" patterns for knitters. I really appreciate a designer who can also write a pattern which is easy to follow, as Agnes does. When I buy a pattern I do so because I want to sit down and knit, I don't want to spend hours trying to make my own charts so that I can understand exactly how the pattern works out. Agnes does an excellent job of both designing and writing patterns that are logical and easy to follow. Thank you for the interview, it was great!

  2. Very insightful. Great interview, Agnes and Robin. I have had the honor working with Agnes on a couple of her beautiful designs. There is no better artist to work with. Precise. Thorough. Responsive. Pleasant. People won't regret with their purchases :D