Friday, November 20, 2015

An Interview with...Natalie Pelykh

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
Natalie here and here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration? 
Ukraine is a country wealthy with nature, gorgeous colors, flowers and variety of plants. I am surrounded by the ancient architecture of Kievan Rus. Of course, all this inspires me and is reflected in the patterns and models I create.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
I love cables and seamless knitting techniques. I try to combine them in my designs and find something new and unusual in these forms.

How did you determine your size range?
When I create hats I try to accommodate all sizes - from newborn babies to the largest adult sizes. As for the baby clothes, the sizes "grow" along with the growth of my children. The older they became, the more sizes I added to my grading range, which led to the fact that now I create a design in kids' sizes, as well as in adults sizes and I include plus sizes, to fit all my patterns to every knitter.

Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
Yes, I do look at other designers’ work because in principle I like to look at new knitted works - new designs or new projects. I do not think that in this case I'm repeating or copying someone's design or idea. On the contrary, when I create my own models, I try to create something new every time. But, of course, studying the other designers’ projects is very useful at least to understand what colors are relevant, what techniques of knitting are interesting for me or not, etc.

How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?
I consider myself an advanced knitter, knitting simple patterns for me is boring and uninteresting. For me it is much more interesting to create something unique and unusual. For example, my hats are sometimes a bit complicated, in particular the crowns. They are difficult to knit for the beginners. It's more interesting for me to write a pattern so even a beginner knitter will be able to knit my design, even if she/he has not knitted anything like it before. It's not easy sometimes, the pattern includes a lot of information, but it is very interesting for me to write the pattern, every time. It's like solving puzzles. Each time I see a new project knitted by my pattern, I rejoice in the success of the knitter who made the project with my pattern.

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
I don't work with sample knitters; I knit all my designs myself. But I’m glad that I have a team of test knitters for my designs to whom I am grateful for the cooperation, assistance and their comments on the design. Usually I work with 10-15 test knitters for a pattern, it depends on the project.

Did you do a formal business plan?
Yes, I do have a plan, goals and I try to meet my personal deadlines. Sometimes it is necessary to change plans and deadlines when new ideas develop, or a published pattern generates new ideas for a new pattern, which I need to create as a complement to the original. So I'm always prepared to revise my plans.

Do you have a mentor?
This is probably the most difficult question for me, as there is no simple answer. At different times, various people and events gave a boost to my development as a designer and gave me a huge of  amount experience in this business. I am grateful to my destiny that in the face of my husband, I have the biggest support and assistance I could dream about, I can always count on his help. My kids are a source of invaluable inspiration, because I create my models, mainly for them. I constantly learn to create and present my designs, being based on the experience of wonderful designers and photographers. But all decisions regarding knitting I make myself.

Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
I guess I do not have. I have an intuition and inner understanding of what is best for a particular situation. And I always take into account past experience and learn from it.

Do you use a tech editor?
Some time ago I had the experience of working with a knitting magazine and had the opportunity to use their TE. It was very important step for me to improve the quality of my patterns. Since English is not my native language, I sometimes work with an interpreter/editor who helps me with the English version of the patterns. A lot of thanks to her!

How do you maintain your life/work balance?
Knitting is the life style for me. But…life can not consist only of a hobby or work. To get full satisfaction and be happy, you need a balance in all areas of life - family, children, health, and home. Sometimes it is not so easy to learn how to find a "middle ground" in all of this. But I'm trying! And I have a wonderful assistant - my family, my beloved children, and my beloved husband that make my life really happy.

How do you deal with criticism?
I always have a positive attitude about constructive criticism. This helps to improve my designs. I always ask my test knitters to express any doubts they might have during the knitting, I  sometimes change the design while the test process is being completed. I am always open to comments and suggestions. Of course, this does not apply to the type of people who  don’t like anything, by definition. In these cases, I just remind myself that every person has the right to their own opinion.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
I have for many years been engaged in the creation of designs and for many years did not consider it as a basic work, rather, as a hobby. But with the birth of a child I had to reorganize my life and work, first of all, to be a mom and wife, and then do the work. Knitting and design became to be my main activity. For several years I could not say that this work supported me, but now, more so than not. Although, of course, I'm not going to stop here, I have a lot of plans and ideas, a lot of new designs in the work.
What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Do not try to copy someone else's path. Everyone has her/his own way to find, with mistakes and lessons learned. Create something of your own which is unique - this will be your success!

What’s next for you?
Recently I discovered a new activity for myself - the creation of a family look and I really like this style of  work! There are a lot of opportunities when you create garments that are slightly different each other, but they have general features suitable for the youngest family members as well as for adults. In the future, I have a few projects that I wish to bring to life.


No comments:

Post a Comment