Friday, October 6, 2017

An Interview with...Jody Long

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
Jody here and here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration?
Living high up in the mountains of Málaga in sunny Spain. I take long inspirational walks along the goat track with my dog ‘Chico’, while looking down on the white washed village and sea views. The ideas just pop in my head and I sketch them as soon as I arrive home. Sometimes I look at fashion forecasting websites along with colour trends.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
There are so many, but my most favourite has to be cables! I love the way they can be traveled and twisted to make a sophisticated sweater to a delicate motif. 
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Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
I always keep an eye on what other designers are doing. Not to copy, simply just to check that after a collection nothing is too similar to theirs. 
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How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
It would be impossible for me to do all my sample knitting with the workload I have right now. I have just over 20 sample knitters that work to extremely tight deadlines. I have released 7 books alone this year with a publisher with most of the books having 25-30 designs. I have also just been given the chance to design the entire Louisa Harding Spring Summer 2018 collection with Knitting Fever.

Do you use a tech editor?
I always use a tech editor I think this is very important to have the patterns number crunched one last time before a sample is knitted up, this also speeds up the knitting and illuminates any mistakes. Although I have been extremely lucky, I have an amazing pattern writer that works from my drawings, swatches and design specs. She also writes for all the Rowan team of designers, patterns very rarely have mistakes.

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How do you maintain your life/work balance?
Life? Can someone please tell me what that word means? I love my job and being single and living alone, I tend to work every hour of everyday creating designs.

How do you deal with criticism?
Criticism is a positive thing. I always had a positive attitude towards this as it makes you stronger. Simply take it on the chin then evaluate the design, if it really is OK then ignore it and carry on with your day. I think if you put something out in the public domain you should expect criticism.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
I started when I was 14 years old designing and selling my makes at craft fairs. I went full-time when I was 18 and started submitting to magazines. Then at the age of 20 I had a long list of celebrity clients and from that day onward money was good enough to leave the nest and start life in my own house away from nagging parents. Today I have feel I’ve had a very successful career so far, with writing over 10 books, 2000 plus published designs and the chance to design shooting socks for HRH the Prince of Wales. 
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What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
I would say go for it, start submitting designs to magazines, that is one of the easiest ways into the market. Magazines do not pay that well so don’t think you can give up your day job that fast. The publicity is amazing and can lead onto more things like it has done for myself. Never use computer software as this tends to lead to more mistakes, learn the old school way of swatching, measuring and number crunching the sizes.

What’s next for you?
I have a very busy schedule right now with flights, meetings and photo shoots. I’m also developing over 160 designs for Diamond Yarns, 20 designs for the Louisa Harding yarn brand, plus a further 6 books are in progress with Tuva Publishing.

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