Friday, August 10, 2018

An Interview with...Emma Vining

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
Emma here and here on Ravelry.

Where do you find inspiration?

The short answer to your question is “Everywhere”! I always have my phone and a notebook with me and if I see something that catches my eye, I will photograph or sketch it. This can be an interesting tile pattern on a wall or a beautiful flower. I am particularly fond of patterns made by shadows as these constantly change and always surprise you. Shadows cast by ironwork railings on a staircase or a bridge are two of the best places to see this type of pattern.

What is your favourite knitting technique?

I love all types of cable pattern and I have just finished writing my first book all about this extremely versatile technique. My book will be published in early 2019 and is full of cable stitch patterns alongside plenty of suggestions to inspire a reader’s own cable designs. There are also ten patterns for knitted accessories, each one featuring a different cable technique.

Do you look at other designers’ work?

I really enjoy reading about knitting in magazines, books and online, especially browsing on Ravelry! There are so many talented designers creating a wide variety of excellent patterns at the moment. I find it extremely inspiring to see how stitch patterns can be used in so many different ways.

A great example of being inspired by another knitter's work is a recent project I have been working on for the UK Knitting and Crochet Guild (KCG). Titled “A Knitter’s Journey”, this project is part of the Guild’s 40th anniversary celebrations in 2018. The knitter of the title, Gladys Jeskins, decided to make a record of her own of stitch designs. She was aiming for 1000! Before she passed away in 1997, she had reached 951. Guild members have re-knitted a selection of the sampler stitch patterns and a small group of us have created accessory designs inspired by a single stitch pattern. My Ruby half-pi shawl pattern, inspired by Gladys’s sampler, features in the e-book of accessory patterns available to Guild members through the KCG website. Designing new patterns from Gladys’s sampler has been a fascinating experience. I have learned a great deal about my own working practice, knitted with stitch patterns I do not normally use and have been left with enormous respect for this wonderful knitter.

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

I always try to knit sample garments and accessories myself mainly because I very much enjoy the process of knitting. My aim is to create patterns that look great and also feel good to knit. The perfect stitch pattern for me has just the right amount of complexity to keep a knitter interested, yet also allows the knitter to relax into the rhythm of the repeat. What better way to check the rhythm than to knit the item myself?

Do you use a tech editor?

Yes, always! I consider tech editing an essential part of my design process. When I am designing a new stitch pattern for a garment or accessory, I will have knitted the stitch pattern many times before I decide on the final version. It is highly likely that I will have made several small changes to the design to help it flow and look really good. Having a tech editor double check the whole pattern is therefore absolutely essential.

How do you deal with criticism?

Constructive criticism is always welcome, especially during the tech editing process. Pointing out pattern mistakes constructively helps me learn and hopefully means that I will not repeat the same errors again!

What’s next for you?

I’m looking forward to all the fantastic knitting and design events coming up in London in the next few months. I’ll be volunteering at the London Design Festival at the Victoria and Albert Museum, spending time at the at Alexandra Palace and attending the Knitting History Forum Conference at the London College of Fashion. I am also delighted to be working on new designs in gorgeous wool and alpaca yarns for the winter issues of the Knitter Magazine.

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