Friday, July 14, 2017

An Interview with...Cynthia Levy

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 Cynthia here and here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from a variety of sources.  The natural landscape of the Northwest Territories provides an endless supply of inspiration.  Precambrian Cable Socks were inspired by the rock of the Canadian shield and Tundra Trails Socks were designed while on a trip to the barren-lands.   I also draw ideas from my library of stitch dictionaries and knitting books.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
I love all knitting techniques, but my favorite is cables.  There's just something magical about the way that simply reordering stitches can create such intricate textured designs.  I enjoy colourwork and lace but always seem to gravitate back to cables.  Those cute little cable needles, of which I have amassed quite a collection, might also be part of the attraction!

Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
I don't actively at look at the work of other designers as a source of ideas or inspiration.  I do knit a lot of projects other than my own designs, so I spend a lot of time browsing patterns on Ravelry and elsewhere.  I expect that some concepts or ideas naturally filter into my brain but it's not a conscious effort.

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
I knit all each of my own patterns while developing the design, so I'd have to admit that I'm my own primary sample/test knitter.  Most of my patterns are for socks or gloves, so it's easy and efficient to knit the first while working out the design, and to then knit the second as a test of the pattern itself.  I then use test knitters, drawn from my own Ravelry group or from the testing groups on Ravelry, to test each size of the pattern.  Most of my patterns have been tested by at least 5 knitters other than myself.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?
Work/life balance is not something that I expect to achieve any time soon!  I have a very demanding full-time job and too many other interests and activities to count.  My idea of balance is to try to juggle deadlines as best I can.  I'd love to find a way to manufacture time but I'm not good at slowing down to relax.

How do you deal with criticism?
I try to deal with criticism in a positive fashion by examining the facts and making any necessary corrections or adjustments cheerfully and promptly.  I do wish that knitters would place a bit more faith in designers before questioning pattern instructions.  Mistakes inevitably creep into patterns occasionally, despite rigorous editing and testing, but the designer usually has a valid reason for unusual instructions and knitters should give them a chance before expressing doubt.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
I can't imagine ever being able to support myself from by design work!  That's the purpose of my full-time job, which is in a field that will always be more lucrative than knitting or any of my other crafts.  My pattern sales provide enough income to cover the cost of pattern development and that's all I realistically expect.  I design because I enjoy the process and like sharing my patterns with other knitters.

What’s next for you?
Lots more knitting!  I'm looking forward to someday having more time to knit, spin, weave and do all the various things for which I've acquired a stash of equipment and materials.

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