Friday, January 15, 2016

An Interview with...Linda Marveng

Jacket in Cross

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 Linda here and here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration?
I am influenced by fashion designers but also by architecture and sculptural lines, as well as nature itself. I find inspirations in magazines, books and just by walking around observing. I often look for textures and garment shapes in fashion magazines.

What's your favourite knitting technique?
My favorite knitting technique is cables. The sculptural texture tends to highlight the best qualities of the yarn in my opinion.

How did you determine your size range?
I began designing with a size range going
only from Small to Large, but have since learnt to grade better and have responded to requests from my Ravelry group. My size range is now from Extra Small to 2 Extra Large. I did try yet a larger size but could not find test knitters to test size 3 Extra Large.


Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
I do look at other designers’ work just to be updated. I am in awe of the work other designers do. It might lead to a spark of imagination into an unknown territory for me. I think I am influenced by other designs but always true to what I believe is my style. 

How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?
Scandinavian patterns are in general much shorter than English patterns, and often use terms such as “reverse shaping”, “increase evenly”, “increase every 2 cm”, “pick up and knit evenly around neck line” and so on. So my pattern style has changed a lot, and it is much more detailed. I use abbreviations and do not describe common techniques in detail, such as a provisional cast-on, but will add a video link to my pdf pattern. I do not agree in spelling out all knitting terms and explaining all techniques used in the pattern text, not even for new knitters. I believe all new knitters need to acquire a set of knitting skills, including learning essential abbreviations and a number of different techniques. This is much easier today than before the internet, with all the videos available online.


How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
I have one brilliant sample knitter I could not work without, and a couple of others I can ask if my next photo shoot is coming up too quickly. I have realized that I cannot knit all the designs myself any more, since most of them are time consuming knits. In addition, I have many devoted test knitters in my Ravelry group.

Did you do a formal business plan?
No, I did not have a formal business plan, and my different jobs have changed over the years. My day job is formatting and proof reading knitting and crochet patterns for the Norwegian magazine Familien, as well as translations from the Scandinavian languages or English into Norwegian or the other way around. Both designing and holding workshops are much smaller parts of my job. I also run a business together with my husband who is an architect and a graphic designer. He made my logo, and does all the pattern layouts.


Do you have a mentor?
Yes, in the beginning I had Norwegian designer Iselin Hafseld as my mentor. She used to design hand knits but has switched to machine knitted collections for her brand Tinde. These days I tend to ask designers I know, such as Hanna Maciejewska and Eline Oftedal, or my test knitters, or my tech editor Corrina Ferguson, for advice. There is also a Norwegian designers' group on Facebook that is ever so useful to me.

Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
No, but I do take advice and try to figure out the business model that works best for me.

Tyrol Jacket

Do you use a tech editor?
Yes, it did not take me long to realize that I needed a tech editor to double-check my numbers as well as my wording in English - especially since I have gone from writing patterns in a Norwegian style to English, then to the American style. I also learnt after publishing my Norwegian knitting book how essential an excellent tech editor is. I learn from my mistakes, and find relief in knowing that I can just ask my tech editor for advice when I need it.

How do you maintain a life/work balance?
There is no life/work balance for me, but then knitting is such a huge part of my life that I have no reason to complain. I do make sure that I have more focus on my designing at the weekends than during the rest of the week, and take time off with my husband in between my tasks.

Cable Round Sweater

How do you deal with criticism?
I am getting better, and appreciate constructive criticism. My work in different yarn shops has made my skin grow thicker when I receive criticism. I try to respond calmly, explain and give them any additional information such as links to different knitting techniques or other references I find necessary.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
There seem to be very few designers that can live on design alone, unless it is combined with teaching or other jobs. So be prepared to give up all holidays, find an excellent tech editor, start a Ravelry group, and always challenge yourself.

What's next for you?
Next on my agenda is sending out more design submissions to international magazines. I am currently working on my fifth design for Interweave, waiting for yarn for number six, and planning to self publish for the first time early next year.


  1. I am delighted to be part of your interview series, Robin! Thank you so much!

  2. Excellent interview. I love Linda's designs and have many examples in my wardrobe!