Designer of April 2011 - Kala Hotakainen

Kala Hotakainen by the courtesy of herself

I first learned about this month's designer a good while ago when I was looking into vegan knitters. I found this interesting blog, and after noticing the person behind it had a Finnish last name, I was intrigued! It turned out her husband is of Finnish origin! But let her tell more about herself:


Kala Hotakainen is a craft designer who has patterns published with Crystal Palace yarns and also many patterns published on her own that are available on Ravelry and Etsy.


Kala designs with 100% vegan yarns and craft materials since she's been a happy vegan for almost a decade. Keep up with her crafty adventures on her blog, Vegancraftastic.


So, now on to the interview!


WK (Worsted Knitt): First of all, thanks for doing this interview! So, what got you into designing in the first place?
KH (Kala Hotakainen): I started designing, honestly, because I thought it would be a lot of fun. I also wanted to give back to the crafting community by sharing free patterns, since I was using some great free patterns too.


WK: What are your favourite things to design?
KH: That would have to be socks. I love knitting socks and they're a lot of fun to design, they're the perfect little canvas for stitch patterns and colorwork.


WK: That's true! What are your favourite materials to work with?
KH: I'd have to say sock yarn. It comes in really fun colors and there are so many projects that can be knit with sock yarn, not just socks!


WK: I'll have to pick your brain (or blog) about vegan sock yarns some time! Now, how do you usually design – how would you describe your designing process?
KH: My designs usually start with a vague idea, like hmmmm, I'd love to knit a pair of cabled socks that my husband will love. Then I decide on a stitch pattern and go to town. Although sometimes, my designs are inspired by the yarn I'm using.


WK: How does your “typical day” when designing look like?
KH: Lots and lots of swatching and math! And ripping out, when I'm designing I end up doing a lot of frogging in the quest to get the right look.


WK: Trial and error so to say! Where do you get your inspiration?
KH: My inspiration usually comes either from the yarn I'm using or from the person I'm knitting for.


WK: Where do you do your best design work?
KH: In my big comfy chair in the living room. And you'll probably find my calculator, graph paper, and other supplies spread on the footstool in front of me.


WK: What do you think is your "that one thing" that makes you a great designer?
KH: I like to think it's my sense of fun and whimsy. I also like to keep my designs pretty easy to knit, the knitter I have in mind when I'm designing likes to knit fun designs without going crazy following a really complicated pattern.


WK: I would have to agree on that! So, last but not least: what advice would you give to aspiring designers?
KH: My advice would be to just jump in and give it a go! I think a lot of knitters are afraid to get into design, but the only way to get over that is to just start desinging and getting your work out there.


WK: Thanks so much for the fun interview, Kala!


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