Friday, March 28, 2014

An Interview with...Louise Tilbrook

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

You can find Louise here and here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration?
Mostly I find inspiration in the natural world - from plants and landscapes around me. As a family we take frequent holidays in the English Lake District and are keen hill walkers. The scenery there is breathtaking, whether you are sitting by a lake (knitting in hand, of course) or clinging to a map on a windswept summit. There is always something to delight and inspire.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
Decisions...decisions... I like to think that I am still learning new techniques but for sheer fun it would have to be cables.
Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
I'm on Ravelry far too much and love nothing better than seeing what other people are working on. I love to look at other designers work and also to see how other knitters take a pattern and put their own interpretation on it.
Could you tell us a little about your design focus on socks?
That's a very polite way of putting it. My husband calls it my sock obsession. They are practical (after all, nearly everyone wears them), they offer a small canvass for trying out new techniques and you get to use gorgeous hand-painted yarn - the perfect package.

How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?
This is a tricky one and I'm not sure I am well placed to comment, Just as there are a range of patterns written for all abilities similarly there are knitters who differ greatly in their requirements. What is 'dumbing down' to one person is 'just enough detail' for another.

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
Nope - just me.

Did you do a formal business plan?
No, although I wish I had.
Do you have a mentor?
No, but there are a number of designers whom I greatly admire.

Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
No, I have just tried to design socks that, as a knitter, I would want to make myself.
What impact has the Internet had on your business?
It was the Internet which reignited my passion for knitting (after a lapse of many years). I love the fact that it can bring creative people together from all corners of the globe and across all different backgrounds.
Do you use a tech editor?
Yes - absolutely essential.
How do you maintain your life/work balance?
I work part-time in a scientific profession where there is little creativity (or fun, for that matter). Knitting and designing brings balance to my life. I would like to develop it further and turn it into a full-time profession but I'm taking it one step at a time.
How do you deal with criticism?
For the most part the only criticism I have had has been of the constructive variety. As long as it is given sympathetically and in a way that helps you to learn then I welcome it. Harsh or negative criticism has no place.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
That is still a work in progress.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Go for it as you would a rugby tackle - headlong and with commitment.

1 comment:

  1. I so love your interview series! Very interesting to read about how designers think. Thanks!