Friday, March 18, 2016

An Interview with...Ela Torrente

Sand Pullover

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 Ela here and here on Ravelry.


Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration mostly from nature that surrounds me. I'm lucky to live in the heart of a small nature reserve and the "green" is part of my life.

Recently I'm also studying the 40s style and I'm very fascinated by it. I find that women were incredibly graceful and cleverly valorized from that fashion.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
I love seamless knits and I'm seriously addicted to lace knitting. Like children, I tend to get bored: lace knitting helps me to maintain interest in what I'm doing. 

Soft Stones

How did you determine your size range?
In designing garments, I try to cover a wide range of sizes. Habitually, I use the Craft Yarn Council as a guideline, but I try to design highly customizable garments because we are all different.


Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
I love to browse the internet and look at what's new! I'm not afraid to be influenced, rather it shows me the new trends and helps me to be sure not to publish anything too similar. 


How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
It depends on the design. Usually I do my samples by myself, sometimes I get help from my mother. I receive lots of help in testing from Ravelers and Facebook friends!


Did you do a formal business plan?
Nothing formal. I have an annual spreadsheet with goals. It helps me keep my feet on the ground.


Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
Oh, no. There are some designers that I really admire.


Do you use a tech editor?
Always, since designing became my job. It's a precious help, whatever I write.


How do you maintain your life/work balance?
It's easy: my family first. I worked for many years by sacrificing time with my family. Designing allows me to repair.

A knitting work can be put aside however many times you want, a spreadsheet can be saved and opened countless times... any road trip, any Star Wars marathon can become my office time. I forgot the words "I can't". This has increased the support of my family to me, has made me satisfied and therefore more productive.


How do you deal with criticism?
Constructive criticism is always welcome!

Dirty Martini

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
I'll tell you when I get there. XD


What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Be curious, be positive, be patient and take the time to relax yourself. 

What’s next for you? 
During this year I'm increasing my presence in several online and paper magazines and my collaborations with yarn companies, so you can find me everywhere.  

I'm planning also to do a second edition of my "Ultimate Modish Sweater Club" which is going better than I expected!

I'd love also to focus on new yarns with special care in local and artisanal processing.


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