Friday, September 18, 2015

An Interview with...Tammy Eigeman Thompson

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 Tammy here and here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration?

From my surroundings, I live in Montana near Glacier National Park.  I am surrounded by beauty; it is hard not to be inspired.  I also draw inspiration from clothing from the 1700 and 1800 hundreds

What is your favorite knitting technique?

I think my favorite technique would have to be steeking.  If I can steek something and continue to work in the round I’ll do it, I love working in the round.

How did you determine your size range?

Size range usually depends on the style of the garment as well as the motif that I use in the sweater.

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

I look at everything.  I watch runway fashion shows on You Tube to see what trends are current.  Are fashion styles going long or short, loose or tight fitting? I don’t think that their designs influence what I am doing, rather, they give me an idea what way fashion is going, what colors are popular, etc.

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

Knitters are all at different skill levels, but if we over simplify a pattern, it just becomes confusing.  I believe the best thing for a new knitter to invest in would be the Readers Digest, Knitter’s Handbook, or the Vogue Knitting hand book all excellent resources. 

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

I do everything myself.  When I start a new project I start with needles, yarn and a notebook.  The idea usually goes through many changes and modifications before it becomes a finished project. It would be very difficult for me to employ a sample knitter for this reason.  It is really the process of design, and seeing it manifested that I enjoy the most.

Do you have a mentor?

Not really, I have many people that I admire in the field but no real mentor.

Do you use a tech editor?

How do you maintain your life/work balance?

Knitting is my life and I do little else.  My day starts at 4:00 am in the morning when I take care of computer work.  At 5:00 am I go to the gym for about an hour.  I come home and walk for an hour to get the ideas flowing.  The rest of the day is taken up with knitting and running my yarn store. I enjoy my day that way.

How do you deal with criticism?

Constructive criticism can be beneficial and I will take it into consideration. If I think a change needs to be made I will make it.  As for mean spirited criticism, I ignore it; it is not worth my consideration.

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

Perseverance, you have to have a real love of your craft or it is not going to work for you. 

What’s next for you?

I am looking to do a children’s collection of knitwear. 

Also, I will continue to do the square of the month a knit along that is on my website and Ravelry.  I give a free pattern of a different cable square away every month for twelve months.  At the end of the year the knitter has enough squares to create a throw.  I do take the patterns down after that time frame and sell all the squares in their entirety as a sampler afghan.

Right now I am very inspired with Fair Isle and color stranding, so look for more pattern in that style.  Cable designs will not be left out.  I am also working on cable sweater designs.

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