Friday, November 21, 2014

An Interview with...yellowcosmo


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 yellowcosmo here and here on Ravelry.
Where do you find inspiration? 

Everywhere, during my walks, movies, etc. But quite often my best ideas happen when I just wake up in the morning with a half-asleep brain.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
Cables and lace. I think, for now. I can be quite fickle.

How did you determine your size range?
Often it's dictated by the design and pattern repeat. But if there is no restriction based on pattern repeat, I usually start the smallest size around a 30" chest measurement and go in increments of 3" and do about 8-10 sizes.

Ginkgo Shawl

Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
Sometimes I try. But to be honest, I'm rather lazy to really search them out. I get a bit impatient looking at pattern after pattern. But there are definitely a few designers that I always love to look at and get excited with their new patterns.

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

Even though it makes writing patterns a lot more tedious, I can see the pros and cons. It certainly is a nice way to include knitters who otherwise would not feel comfortable. On the other hand, if a knitter heavily relies on detailed instructions all the time, it does hamper the knitter's development, I think.

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

I'm pretty lucky that I have about 8-10 testers who knit for me more regularly, and few others that do so every now and then when they have the time.

A Fine Tuesday
Did you do a formal business plan?
Wow, hmmm... that's a completely foreign concept to me. I can barely plan my day/week as it is.

Do you have a mentor?
Well, not in knitting. But I had a mentor in college when I was studying painting. Patrick was the biggest influence in my creative life and it extended beyond fine art. Studies with him had shaped my creative process, my aesthetics, and my way to form and re-form any idea. All these are deeply connected to what and how I design.

Do you have a business model that you have emulated?

Second Chance
How are you using social media to grow your business?
I'm a dinosaur. I have a blog, but I don't really think of it as a huge part of my business considering I don't have many followers. It's just a way for me to talk about my knitting.  I recently joined Instagram, but so far there is barely any knitting in it though. I don't have a facebook account. By nature, I'm a private person, so I'm still adjusting to the concept of social media.

Do you use a tech editor?
Yes, I have been working with an amazing tech editor, Judy, for quite some time. She really taught me a lot about pattern writing. I've begun working with a couple of other wonderful editors too, Ashley and Sashka.

Taking a Chance on Love
How do you maintain your life/work balance?
By not thinking about it.

How do you deal with criticism?
Haha, after my MFA graduate program where a good critique day meant no one cried, most criticisms now seem mild in comparison. I generally try to process the constructive part when I'm ready to deal with it, and shrug off the few nonsensical ones. I try to remind myself, "What's my goal, write better patterns? make designs that work better?" etc. If the criticism helps me to work towards that goal, it's all good.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
I wish I had an answer for that :) I'd be eating top ramen everyday and living in a tent if I only lived off my design earnings.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Go for it. It's a great time to do it. The amount of creativity in the knitting world is very exciting for someone just starting out. There is so much to inspire a new designer. But know in your heart what your priorities are. Each person is different. You can find advice, but you know what balance works for you the best.


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