I'm very glad to announce a new feature to worsted-knitt.net - the monthly Designer of the Month interviews with different kinds of knit designers; new and established, clothes, accessories and toys, for young and old, I plan to include a broad variety of designers and present them to you one by one, every month from now on! I hope you like the series!
The first designer I want to present to you is Katie Ferry from BelovedKnits. Katie is a rather new designer who mostly designs small items with that "extra something"! She lives with her boyfriend and two dogs in Chicago, IL, USA.
My absolute favourite of her designs is the Kanji hat, a beautiful and bold hat made using an interesting technique. But now let's hear (or read) what Katie has to say!
WK (Worsted Knitt): What got you into designing in the first place?
KF (Katie Ferry): I had been knitting for about a year, and I was starting to notice that I couldn't find patterns that I wanted to knit. There are lots of beautiful patterns out there, but none of them matched what I was envisioning in my head. I decided to take a stab at writing my own patterns and I really loved it.
WK: What are your favourite things to design?
KF: I am interested in "knitting outside the box" so I like making patterns for things people don't normally knit, like the microwavable hand warmers I did last Valentine's day. Those are my favorite things to design because they're challenging and refreshing.
WK: That sounds like fun! What are your favourite materials to work with?
KF: I usually prefer natural fibers like wool and alpaca, but I must admit that I have a special place in my heart for Berroco Comfort. :) It's an acrylic/nylon blend with great stitch definition. It's soft, inexpensive, and machine washable. I'm knitting 3 different Afghans in Berroco Comfort right now.
WK:I'm a big fan of usable yarns, too! Who or what was your earliest inspiration that started you on your way to being the designer you are today?
KF: I was working in a couple fashion boutiques in Chicago when I learned how to knit and I think being surrounded by so much fashion inspired me to take risks with my designs. They gave me guts!
WK: How do you usually design – how would you describe your designing process?
KF: It always starts with a spark. I am sort of obsessive, so once inspiration hits I am not able to do anything else until I get my idea down on paper. I will render the ugliest, most embarrassing sketch of my idea into my design notebook (because I have 0 drawing skills). Then I usually grab graph paper and start charting and doing math to figure out my cast on, increases, etc. I almost never make a swatch; the only swatch I have ever made was with the Sumatra Scarf. I realize this swatch-less knitting may seem irresponsible, but I like to think of it as me being adventurous.
I will usually tell a few friends about my idea at this point (mostly non-knitters), and show them my terrible sketches. If they say, "I don't get it." "That sounds weird." or "We'll see how it turns out." I know I've struck gold. Don't ask me why, but the crazier they think my idea is, the cooler it turns out. Then I knit and I write down everything as I knit it.
WK: I love that approach! How do you then conceptualize your designs?
KF: I'm a big-picture thinker, so I think not only about how it will look, but also how it will be used, how it will fit, how it will piece together, and how it will affect the life of the person using it. I think about all of these things as I am sketching and deciding on materials. It is usually the recipient or the way it will be used that inspires the idea of the actual knit in the first place, which makes it really easy to conceptualize it into real life.
WK: That's really lovely, sounds like you really put thought into it. Now, how does your “typical day” when designing look like?
KF: I do all my normal morning things: eat breakfast, take out the dogs, feed the dogs, etc. Then I usually make a cup of tea and sit down with my sketchbook, graph paper, calculator, knitting reference books, etc. and I pull out one of my sketches to start working on. I spend a few hours doing math, charting, and more sketching. If it's a successful day, I'll cast on my design and begin knitting it. Then I continue on with my evening stuff: dinner, laundry, etc. It's all very glamorous. ;)
WK: Where do you get your inspiration?
KF: I am mostly inspired by the people in my life.
WK: Where do you do your best design work?
KF: My best design work often happens at work, when I am supposed to be focusing on other things not related to knitting.
WK: I know what you're talking about! How do you nurture your creative spirit ?
KF: I surround myself with beautiful yarn and lots of snacks. I also find my interactions with other knitters on Twitter, Ravelry, and my blog to be really fun. I love meeting and chatting with knitters.
WK: What do you think is your "that one thing" that makes you a great designer?
KF: My passion for knitting-outside-the-box. I will always give you something fresh and original.
WK: That sounds great! What advice would you give to aspiring designers?
KF: Do it! If you love what you knit, someone else will love it too.
Thanks so much Katie and good luck with your designing career!
Would you like to be featured as the Designer of the Month? Leave a comment or contact me through the form!