Friday, July 18, 2014

An Interview with...Maria Magnusson (Olsson)

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 Maria here and here on Ravelry. 

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in Scandinavian traditional knitwear as well as in vintage clothing. I love looking at old sewing patterns and knitted garments from the 40's-50's. I also find a lot of inspiration looking at what people are wearing. I almost follow people on the street with pretty sweaters, trying to figure out how it's made and what lace pattern it is and so on. For constructional inspiration I often look at sewing patterns. Pinterest is a great source for inspiration and I recommend it to everyone! 

What is your favourite knitting technique? 

Everything seamless. I love to design something where you do not need to bind off or sew a lot. I don’t want to use any techniques that might scare people off. 

How did you determine your size range? 

It depends from pattern to pattern and it depends on if it’s for a submission. If it’s a very fitted garment i often use a more sizes compared to a not so fitted garment. 

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

Oh yes I do! I learn a lot about constructions from other designers and I think it’s important to get new input from others and especially for me who is not a native English speaker, it’s very educational to study the language and expressions. 

How do you feel about the so called controversy of "dumbing down" patterns for knitters? 

I always try to write to make everyone understand. I guess that I am both influenced by the American writing style and from my day job where I write technical reports where it’s necessary to be clear and no room for confusion. Scandinavian way of writing is the opposite where the pattern often is written on one page, no pictures and the knitter must know all techniques beforehand. 

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

I often arrange test knits for about 10-12 knitters. Often two knitters in each size. I like to have it knitted before I push the publish button because I want to see what it looks like in all sizes on all bodies. Sometimes I use sample knitters. When I have too much to do and short deadlines, but I usually prefer to have one sample knitted in my own size for myself. 

Did you do a formal business plan? 

No, not really. My goal was to be able to sponsor my own hobby and everything above that is a bonus. My business has developed more the past year but it’s still not time to quit my day job. 

Do you have a mentor? 

I don’t have an official mentor but I have a lot of people around me who I feel more than welcome to ask about anything. There are so many wonderful people in the knitting community! 

Do you have a business model that you have emulated? 


What impact has the Internet had on your business? 

Everything. Without the Internet and without Ravelry I wouldn’t have designed a single pattern and I would definitely not have been able to sell any. I do all of my marketing online and most of my sales. 

Do you use a tech editor? 

Yes I do. She is brilliant! She have taught me so much about how to write a pattern and layout and she have a wonderful British language which I adore. 

How do you maintain your life/work balance? 

I see my day job as work and designing as my life. I don’t have kids and I have a very supportive husband who lets me sit down working on patterns and knit most of the evenings. I don’t know for how long I will be able to work like that but it works now.

How do you deal with criticism? 

It depends but I hardly ever get any critical emails but sometimes people sound harsh when they point out something. When a pattern is new I am almost afraid of opening my inbox to check my emails but when it has cooled down the emails are mostly about support and not complaining about inevitable mistakes. I love being able to ”talk” to the people who knit from my patterns. I get so many wonderful emails that I forget about the other ones. 

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

It depends on how you see it. I can support my hobby and more and that is all I need. I still need my day job to afford other things and maybe to spend a couple of hours along with others. I like what I do for a living. I am a day time designer too but then I design hard steel stuff. 

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

Make sure that you know how much time you want to spend on your business and if you are really able to make a living out of it. Start small and give it time.

No comments:

Post a Comment