Friday, April 7, 2017

An Interview with...Patti Waters

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 Patti here and here on Ravelry.

Patti added a disclaimer to her interview as I invited her to do the interview based on her inclusion in a Canadian designer Knit-a-long. I'm including the disclaimer here since some of my readers are ones who are following that event.  

Patti says: "In the interest of full disclosure, I am not technically Canadian. I am a US citizen, and a permanent resident of Canada. I work and live in Canada, but I wouldn’t want to imply that I am a Canadian when I am not."

Where do you find inspiration? 
I draw a lot of inspiration from patterns I see in nature, though they appear very loosely related when translated into knitting.

What is your favourite knitting technique? 

I love cables. I love the intricacy of a very complex cable pattern, when I have had enough coffee to follow it that is.

Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs? 

I look at other designers constantly. A good writer should read all the time, and a good designer should knit other people’s patterns. We are all a product of our experiences, and I am absolutely influenced by the other knitting I see and work on, but that is a good thing. Creativity is always a collaboration in some way, nobody exists in a vacuum.

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself? 

Some I do myself, and some are friends and/or volunteers found via Ravelry.

Did you do a formal business plan? 

Do you have a mentor? 

Not exactly, I have several people I go to for advice, some more on the business end, and others more on the knitting end.

Do you have a business model that you have emulated? 

Not really, I never meant for this to be my sole profession, but when I took ownership of Passionknit, where I had been working for several years, my designs had become staples around the shop.

Do you use a tech editor? 

No. I have a very technical mind, and I proof my own work extensively.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?  

Carefully. My bottom line is not the bottom line, my family comes first. Work is the thing I fit in when I can, and if it has to suffer so I can spend time with my family I am OK with that.

How do you deal with criticism? 

Depends on how it is delivered. Constructive criticism that is offered up politely I always welcome. Other types are harder to swallow, and I try not to let them get under my skin.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself? 
I still do not support myself with my designs, but Passionknit ( does provide me with a stable salary.

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

Participate as much as you can. Write a blog, chat on Ravelry, post on Instagram, work in a knitting shop, teach classes, and anything else you can do to engage with other knitters. The more you engage with knitters the more invested they will be in whatever you are doing, and the more inspiration you will draw from all the beautiful knitters and knitting you see.

What’s next for you? 

I have taken a small break from designing since I returned from my maternity leave to take ownership of Passionknit almost right away. The last year has flown by, and I am starting to settle into my new roles, so I am hoping to find more time to design and write.

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