Friday, November 28, 2014

An Interview with...Yvette Noel


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 Yvette here on Ravelry.  

Where do you find inspiration?  
Everywhere I look, I always seem to be searching for knitting inspiration.  When I take walks or when I run, I look at what others are wearing.  Once I found inspiration in the fabric of a restaurant chair, so I drew the motif on a napkin.  

What is your favourite knitting technique?
Fair Isle Knitting is definitely my absolute favorite technique.  It’s fast since it’s only stockinette but I just love to see the pattern emerge. Slipped stitch techniques comes in a close second. I just learned Brioche and I love it.

You currently specialize in patterns for accessories. Do you have any plans to change your design focus?   
Not in the near future. Like a lot of knitters, I still work a 40 hours a week job to support myself, so designing small accessories is what works best in the limited time that I have. Later when I have more free time, I’d love to try my hand at designing bigger pieces.

Water for the Elephants

Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?  
I love looking at other designers' work. I’m amazed at all the talent and creativity I see out there. Sometimes I buy a pattern just to read it and to understand how the piece is constructed. Before releasing a pattern I try to make sure something identical is not already out there and looking at other designers' work is how I achieve that.  

How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?   
I am a dumb knitter.  If there is any way to misinterpret or miscount, I do it.  This probably explains why I love charted patterns.  I love a detailed pattern. I don’t expect a pattern to spell out every technique, just to tell me where I can find that technique all spelled out.  When I buy a detailed dumbed down pattern with info that I don’t need, I just skip it.  I’d rather buy an over detailed pattern than an under detailed one. I don’t have a lot of time for knitting and there is nothing I hate more than having to frog twelve hours of knitting because of some missing pattern info. That said, I try to make my patterns clear and just detailed enough so that an average knitter can reproduce the pattern. I love seeing my designs made by others and the only way others can make them is if they understand my patterns.

Below Zero Cowl

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?  
None. I rely on the generosity of free Ravelry testers. I think they are terrific. I can’t afford to pay anyone yet.  Were it not for them I never could have published a pattern. 

Did you do a formal business plan?  
Not a formal one, no. My dream is to publish a book someday. I’m slowly putting away patterns for it.  I’ll start contacting publishers once I feel I have something to offer.

Do you have a mentor? 
No, I dont have a real one, but I have every one of Cookie A, Cat Bordhi and Janel Laidman’s books.  They are my idols - I love their designs.

Do you have a business model that you have emulated? 
How are you using social media to grow your business?  
I just put out my patterns on Ravelry.  The majority of my patterns are free. I only designed those because I did not find an already published pattern.  Once I have a few more paying patterns out there, I’ll start looking for some way to publicize them. 

Do you use a tech editor? 
Not yet but I plan to in the future.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?  
Knitting is what keeps me sane.  It also helps that my boys are all grown up and that gives me a few more hours a week to knit.


How do you deal with criticism?  
I take it and then move on. Criticism hurts - we all want approval but we all make mistakes.   When I make one, I apologize and try not to repeat it. Criticism can also be very  useful - I love everyone’s input.  I’ve had some great suggestions from others, especially testers.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?  
I’m nowhere near being able to support myself.  Designing is still a part-time process.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?  
Go ahead, keep knitting and designing.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help - knitters are generous by nature.



  1. I love Yvette's designs, so great to read this interview with her!

  2. Thank-you for this interview. I love Yvette's patterns.