Friday, March 23, 2018

An Interview with ...NellKnits

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
Nell here and here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration?

Inspiration is everywhere, for me, it usually pops up out of the blue, almost never when I’m searching for it. It’s come to me in dreams - I woke up once to an indecipherable sleep written note that might have been the most fabulous design - if I could ever remember what it meant.
What is your favorite knitting technique?

Cables are one of the most amazing and magical techniques to me. I’ve been devouring Norah Gaughan’s ‘Knitted Cable Source Book’ and Alice Starmore’s St. Brigid is something that I’ve admired forever. I especially love teaching cable work, students are so (rightly) thrilled with what they’ve learned to do.

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

Of course! Nearly every facet of my life is touched by yarn and knitting. I work at my LYS, I teach knitting, many of my friends are knitters, also I go to fiber festivals and follow so many knitters on Instagram.

I study other designers techniques, and read their blogs and books and am awed and inspired by so many great ideas.

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

I do knit one of everything that I design myself, at least once. I love and appreciate test knitters, although I don’t use a specific number.


Do you have a mentor?

Not one mentor in particular, but I admire and have learned from so many people, luminaries, and students alike. That said, I’ve had a few serious fangirl moments…


Do you have a business model that you’ve emulated?

I’m constantly working on this, the right way to do things. The goal of keeping my blog and newsletters going has been a challenge. I’m a very regular Instagrammer, I love sharing what I’m doing, seeing and discovering.
Do you use a tech editor?

I have and am currently looking for a new one.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?

Knitting is a huge part of who I am and will always be. I do have several part-time jobs, not all knitting related, and it often feels as if I’m all over the place. It’s hard to step into another facet when I’m in the design or writing groove. That said, it is a wonderful life.

How do you deal with criticism?

I deal with criticism way better than I deal with snark. I have come to peace with the fact that you cannot write a pattern or create a design that works for every single knitter. And I do make mistakes. I listen, and consider (critical) viewpoints and try not to cry too much.
How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?

I haven’t gotten there yet, and although it would be quite nice to have that security, I do this work because I love it and can’t imagine not!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career?

Do it. Although the market may seem glutted with amazing designers, there is an audience for your product, technique, and voice.

What’s next for you?

My goal is to teach and travel more.

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