Friday, June 17, 2016

An Interview with...Jimenez Joseph

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 Jimi
here and here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration?
I get inspiration from everywhere! Never a day goes by when something catches my eye and I don't think, "hey, that would look so cool knitted up", or "I wonder if I can make a stitch pattern look like that!".

What is your favourite knitting technique?
I'm still exploring this... but right now, 'top-down seamless, set-in sleeve' is looking favourite. I like this because with my broad sloping shoulders I need something a little more structured. Anything that doesn't require seaming is always a winner! 

How did you determine your size range?
The size range was based on my very first commissioned sweater design, where the range was set at XS to 3XL. Ever since then, I've stayed with this sizing structure, purely because I felt that I was supposed to. The larger sizes don't always work for some of my designs, but the majority of them go up to 3XL. It's nice to see my designs knitted up on the larger sizes - it makes me feel proud.

Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
When I create a design, I (perhaps foolishly) think that I've created something new that no-one has done before. To be absolutely sure, I would then trawl the entire Ravelry database for anything similar. If my design resembles something already out there, then I would either change it, or reject the design altogether. So in answer to this question, yes I do end up looking at other designers' work, because I am careful about mimicking knitting trends or other designs. My aim is to bring 'something different' to the table and I think that is what people who like my work are looking for. Particularly in an industry where nothing is new under the sun!

How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?
In this technological age, it's no longer necessary to teach knitters to suck eggs since we have access to YouTube and Ravelry. But I always make sure that any techniques that are required in my patterns are aided by a link to a video tutorial, or such like. Any assistance I can offer the knitter is always a good thing.

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
All the samples are knitted by myself. In many cases, twice! I have volunteer test knitters who test the pattern before its release. It's a fun time for us, almost like a mini KAL!

Did you do a formal business plan?
If you call breaking my leg in a sporting accident, then learning how to knit while I convalesced, a business plan... then yes! ;-)

Do you have a mentor?
I wish I did! All that I have learned was through Ravelry and YouTube. However, I do have Ysolda Teague to thank for her work that inspired me to focus on designing and writing patterns.

Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
Not really, no. It doesn't interest me to enter design submissions for magazines. If I am asked to, then I will seriously consider it. I like to challenge myself based on yarn that I already own, so the only restriction is the yarn and nothing else. I can take my time with my work, but ultimately, the intention is to enjoy what I do.

Do you use a tech editor?
Yes, mostly for garments, where size grading needs a second pair of eyes. Steph Boardman ( is a great tech editor!

How do you maintain your life/work balance?
There is no balance, they just inter-mingle! I knit while waiting in the car on the school run! As you can imagine it's hard, but I do try to book myself a slot so that I can work on knitting maths for my patterns. I need these hours of uninterrupted time to do this - not easy with a needy teenager... not to mention a needy husband! LOL!

How do you deal with criticism?
I'm still waiting for someone to test me on this one, but this is what is amazing about our community, everybody is helpful and supportive. Any feedback that I have encountered has only been there to help me improve. So I've never really seen it as criticism. The knitting industry is great because although we are armed with sharp sticks, nobody wants to stab you in the back! 

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
Hahahahaha....!!!! What I earn keeps me in yarn, I suppose! :-)

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
I was once told, "If you love what you do, then do it, irrespective of monetary gain. Once people can see that you have a passion for your craft, then they will get behind you and the rest will follow". I think this is true.

What’s next for you?
I'd love to publish a book, but I want it to be a book that not only showcases some of my designs, but also my sense of fun! How about a pop-up knitting book? Hmmm! ;-)

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