Friday, January 20, 2017

An Interview with...Annie Baker

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 Annie here and here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration comes from so many places. I adore cabled wool sweaters, they keep me warm during our long Canadian winters. It is amazing to me how slight variations in stitches can create so many different textural effects. Another source of inspiration is the yarn itself. I have shelves lined with my favourite yarns. Every yarn has it’s own personality, in a sense. It’s own colour, weight, and feel. Many of my designs are inspired by what I think would capture the special qualities of a particular yarn. I am also strongly influenced by what I enjoy knitting and wearing.

Do you look at other designers' work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
I look at other designs, it inspires me to see the creativity and talent of other designers. 

What is your favourite knitting technique?
Cable knitting and knitting in the round. Knitting in the round is especially one of my favourites as I can carry a project with me and have something to work on while waiting for appointments. Another one of my favourite techniques is blocking. Hand knit pieces just become so beautiful after blocking. I consider my blocking the last step of each knitting project.

How do you feel about the so-called controversy of "dumbing down" patterns for knitters?
While I try to include as much detail as possible in my patterns, I think is fair to expect knitters will have an understanding of the most basic techniques. I have several knitting technique manuals on my shelf. Since we don't use every technique regularly, it helps to have a reference/refresher book handy. 

How many sample knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
I knit samples myself. I occasionally use sample knitters to knit up pieces in different colours or sizes. I try to have samples of each design in semi-solid and multi-coloured yarns to show different results.

Do you have a formal business plan?
No, but I should work on one. 

Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
My father was in business for himself. He taught me that it is important to listen to your clients, take time to plan your business activities and rely on others for help when needed.

Do you use a tech editor?
Sometimes. When I've been working on a more complex pattern, I will use a tech editor or proof reader.

How do you maintain your work/life balance?
I find helps to have a regular routine. I try to carve out a bit of time everyday to just take some time for myself.

How do you deal with criticism?
I'm not too bothered by criticism. Some criticism helps me grow as a designer and better understand the needs of knitters.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Give it a try! Set aside time to design, knit, write patterns and provide client support.

What's next for you?
I'd like to do more designs that use colour work.

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