Friday, February 3, 2017

An Interview with...Kephren Pritchett

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
Kephren here and here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration?

All over! When I'm planning a new design I'll usually start with a theme, like the beach, and then start pinning photos on Pinterest. I am always looking for patterns that can be translated into stitch patterns, like cloud formations, the prints of waves on sand, or ripples on water. I also like to look at vintage and traditional knitwear and imagine them with modern styling.

What is your favourite knitting technique?

I love a provisional cast-on, or anything that makes seaming unnecessary.

Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
I don't think there is anything wrong with looking at other designers' work. In any field, including knit design, new innovations are built on what came before. There's no sense in reinventing the wheel! Sometimes I will research a particular design idea to see if it's been done before, and if there's something similar I try to think of ways to do it differently. I also like to watch the Hot right Now page on Ravelry and I love to look at pattern photos. I've been trying to improve my photography skills for a few years now, so I'm really interested in how other designers photograph their work.

How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?
I wasn't aware that there was a controversy, so I read what you've written about it on your blog. I guess the idea is that knitters now want everything explained to them in a pattern, when the expectation used to be that they would learn the techniques on their own and use that knowledge to make sense of brief or vague pattern directions. I used to work at a yarn shop where one of my responsibilities was pattern support, so I was the one making sense of those vague patterns. When I started writing my own patterns, I used that experience to inform my pattern writing style. I wouldn't say that I write beginner patterns, but an adventurous beginner could definitely follow them. With digital patterns you're not limited by the space, so I write fairly detailed directions. I know what cast-on I used, what type of decrease, and my stitch counts in every section, so it's not any extra work to include that information in the pattern. If a technique needs further explanation I'll make a photo tutorial and post it on my blog. I don't think this is "dumbing down", I think it's good pattern writing. I love it when knitters say that my patterns are well written, or that they learned something new from one of my patterns. Learning new techniques is the fun part for me, so I like to share that.

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
So far I have made all my samples except one, which was for a yarn company that provided their own sample knitters. I use volunteer test knitters and conduct test knits in my Ravelry group.

Did you do a formal business plan?

I did do a business plan, but it was pretty informal.

Do you have a mentor?


Do you have a business model that you have emulated?

There are several designers whose business models I admire, but none that I've emulated exactly.

Do you use a tech editor?

Absolutely! I am a tech editor, so of course I think tech editing is important. Test knitters are great, but they aren't going to systematically go through a pattern to make sure all the stitch and row counts add up, and I don't expect them too. I am always surprised by the things my tech editor catches.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?

I don't really. I think about knitting all the time, but I do try to make time to see my friends and spend time with my family. I love having a flexible schedule so I can see them on their time.

How do you deal with criticism?

I appreciate constructive criticism, and I'll try to address it and make changes where I think they're necessary, but sometimes people just want to complain. I try not to take it too personally.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?

About two years.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?

There's a lot more to it than just knitting!

What’s next for you?

More self-published patterns, more magazine work, more tech editing, just more of everything.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful Interview and I agree with all that you said about knitting!!
    And I love your designs♥