Friday, September 25, 2015

An Interview with...Boadicea Binnerts

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 Boadicea here and here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration?

I love fashion first and foremost, so I scour the Internet for style inspiration. Pinterest and, paper magazines, the streets. That’s one part, and I think that’s the part that determines shapes and types of garments. Then there’s my tactile part that gets inspire by great yarns, that wants to touch and fondle them and knit something with them (this part just wants to knit, it doesn’t care what it is).

I try to balance out these two parts and turn their combined desires into garments that are knittable and wearable and fit into current fashion, yet remain wearable when fashion moves on. I also have a color hungry part but that’s the problem child of my menagerie. Especially in spring it likes bright, happy colors, but sadly I never wear these in real life. So I try to stick to pale neutrals, or graphic color combinations that fit into my wardrobe. And I give away the colorful sweaters that accidentally happen anyway…

What is your favourite knitting technique?

I’m giving several answers to this. I like a left-handed continental technique for knitting, I like knitting in the round but flat as well. I like contiguous sleeves.

How did you determine your size range?

I went with US standard sizing, because most knitters on Ravelry are from there. I knit my samples in size M, which is right in the middle and so ideal for expanding to bigger and smaller sizes. When I finally found a 2X test knitter, I dared expand to that size because now I’m confident it will fit.

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

I do like to look at other people’s designs. When you’re in fashion you have to know what other designers are doing so you don’t copy or move too far away from the main fashion stream. But I love to look at high end fashion designers and be inspired by their cloth designs for my knitting.

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

I have to admit, I’d love to produce one or two page patterns the way for example, Vogue Knitting does. But I accept that with so many new knitters, who don’t want to take years to learn the shorthand, we have to expand our instructions.

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

So far, I’ve knit almost everything myself, but that does
keep the volume down.. I have a wonderful and loyal group of test knitters that are indispensable for my current process. Because I design and knit on the fly, it can be hard to work back from the finished process and produce a crisp and clear pattern. A quote from test knitter Lubasik about her feelings: “Yes, that is (clean, nearly perfect) what I used to be expecting from the tests…. Until I run into Bo. Brilliant designs, edgy looks and … messy instructions. Her personal style, if you want. My first test with Bo … I promised to myself “never again”! But… I am back again and again. I tried other tests after Bo’s but all the spice was missing. On her tests I feel not like a tester but more like a co-author! So, I accepted her style and am enjoying myself (still cursing sometimes… with love).

Did you do a formal business plan?


Do you have a mentor?


Do you have a business model that you have emulated?

I looked into what other successful indie designers were doing, and tried to emulate their business model.

Do you use a tech editor?

I do, although I’ve gotten better at this part myself as well.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?

Knitting is a wonderful thing, because you can be quite social while you knit furiously along on the easier parts…But, I make sure to keep plenty of time besides knitting so the inspiration can come (it only arrives when I’m relaxed).

How do you deal with criticism?

If it helps me improve my work or my patterns, I welcome it. If it’s just: ” she makes things that aren’t my taste”, I leave it be.

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

I’m not there yet! I think I need more time to build a stable of designs and a solid customer base.

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

Don’t give up your day job yet! No, seriously, it takes a lot of time and sweat and effort and getting over your failures. You really have to love it. And if you do, I’d advise designing lace shawls. Far more people knit shawls rather than sweaters….:-)

What’s next for you?

The next two years or I’ll continue on what I’ve been doing so far. And after that….I don’t know.

1 comment:

  1. A talented designer I have just come across. Inspirational. LOVE her work. Would love to find out more about her.