Friday, May 11, 2018

An Interview with...Susana Lobos


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
Susana here and here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration? 

My inspiration comes from everywhere, perhaps it’s geometric shapes and nature that have the most impact, and which gets my attention. The shapes I see around me, sometimes the people and other times, beautiful yarn. I adore art, it inspires me a lot. At times I imagine how a shawl can be created from the shapes and colors of my favorite plants. I’m always doing paper drawings or sketches on my tablet, so that I can remember the ideas later. The artistic shapes catch me, the symmetry, repetitions or just maybe their beauty and uniqueness.

What is your favourite knitting technique? 

I’m a shawl lover, I adore to design and to knit shawls. I really like the short-rows technique. It’s a great tool for getting a nice effect in the knitted garments and can be used for every type of project. I also use slip stitches, especially with two colors, so a simple design can turn into a fabulous result. I have some romantic designs based on eyelets and picots. It’s the type of stitch that I usually use in this type of shawl. I like to experiment with different ways to knit shawls as well, so knitting turns into an interesting and fun experience. Recently, I’m learning a brioche method that is wonderful. It takes me to a new world.

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

Yes, I follow several designers. There’s some that I really enjoy because of their style. I like to see their work as a possibility for me. I don’t feel fear of being influenced from their work. I care about more being repetitive in my own designs. What I mean is that a lot of times, as a designer, you get used to do something that you really like, and then you don’t do changes or take risks, you only repeat yourself in that style of designs. Personally, I love to experiment, take risks, play with new lines of design and not fall in flatness.

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

The first sample of my designs, I always do it myself. I've had a lot of support from knitters. I have at list six volunteer testers normally. My business doesn’t let me pay others for their work yet, but it’s in my future plans. I meet testers through social media such as Facebook and Ravelry. Also my knitting friends which I share this passion with for so long. I rarely do a test myself to change a size or because I want it in another color.

Did you do a formal business plan?

Not yet. I have a plan for starting one soon. For now I’ve used some tools in separate way, always with a business vision. In this moment, designing isn’t my first activity, however, all the free time I have, I put all the effort and passion I can into it.

Do you have a mentor?
No, I don’t have one. There’s a bunch of designers I admire who I enjoy following, especially for knowing their techniques of sharing their work.

Do you have a business model that you have emulated? 

Yes, but I don’t do it completely yet. I would like to have my own website to interact directly with the knitters. Sell my designs; upload tutorials of different techniques that I use in my patterns, tricks and tips for knitters. I’ll have a Pattern Club for those who subscribe and a chat interactive, to answer questions about patterns or tutorials. Even a newsletter, where I can show new things often, share sales or challenges for doing in groups and share things from the knitting world and yarns, to enjoy with my audience.
For now, I use  Ravelry and Craftsy for selling my designs. I do a MKAL every June since 2016, and that way people have got to know my work. Besides, I use social media as a support, like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Do you use a tech editor? 

No for now. For my patterns, I do the technical editing, of course, with valuable help from my testers.

How do you maintain your life/work balance? 

With difficulty, honestly. I haven’t time for knitting and design, because of the kind of life I have. My work as a consultant in technological projects takes all my time in a day. I’d like to have more time to spend knitting more and trying new designs. A lot of them are waiting as drafts or sketches not yet knitted.

How do you deal with criticism? 

I thank them no matter if they’re positive or negative. I use them to learn and improve because usually the people are right. There’s always something that can be improved. The critics are always an opportunity. I’ll share with you a memory. Long time ago, like six years ago, I had a very hard critic because of my English level. This person said that for her, was terrible. The time passed and with practice and support from my knitting partners, I receive a lot of congrats for my progress in this aspect. I’m always updating my vocabulary as well and I love learning new things.

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

It took me, maybe a year when I decided to sell my first design. Was then, when I felt capable, my work was the same quality as others. I have almost 3 years selling my pattern designs on Ravelry. I like how it has evolved. So I keep motivated designing, but not as my first business yet. I hope that two years from now, I can maintain myself with this and afford traveling to the yarns expos and to meet my favorites designers too.

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

My advice is that you have to knit things you like the most. Share with the people that have the same interest as you, learn all the techniques you want and challenge yourself to use them. Another important thing is work with high quality materials that have a very long useful life. Choose colors and textures that you really like and be prepare to experiment, try new designs and explore patterns. Adapt yourself to everything and especially have fun! Have patience and don't give up!

What’s next for you? 

In the future, like I said before, I’ll have my own page for selling my designs. I would offer my special patterns for my Pattern Club. There, I’ll have exclusive patterns for those who subscribe, one for each season of the year, at the beginning. There will be events every week and year, similar to my MKAL that I do in June. This year is the 3rd, it’s almost ready. I’m pretty sure you will love my surprise. Every year I choose something different, so I make sure people enjoy the challenge, have fun, are surprised and delighted with a new design every year. And last but not least, I have a goal to create unique designs for exclusive brands of yarn that give me the opportunity to express my creativity.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Robin for this great opportunity!, for me it's a privilege.
    Best wishes, Susana