It's Designer of the Month time again! This time I interviewed a designer whose work I adore - it's so wearable and sexy! Even if your gauge is off and the sweater ends up a huge hip hop piece, it's still pretty (see my Corona here).
I am of course talking about the talented Teresa Gregorio, aka canarysanctuary who has been knitting and designing since 2002. Her patterns have been featured in Knotions, Brave New Knits (2010) and self-published through Ravelry.
She blogs at canaryknits.blogspot.com. Drop on by and say hello to her!
Ok, let's get started:
Worsted Knitt (WK): Thanks for doing this interview! So for starters, would you tell us what got you into designing in the first place?
Teresa Gregorio (TG): It was my desire to modify and create.
The first thing I knit, besides a blanket and a few teddy bears, was a sweater I designed myself. I tend to jump right in to things! I’ve always had a creative impulse, and while it’s very fun knitting from patterns, I found that many of the patterns I was interested in knitting didn’t come in my size. Or at least, they didn’t fit quite the way I wanted them to.
WK: A practical start, so to say! What are your favourite things to design nowadays?
TG: Tops, especially pullovers. Lately, I’ve fallen in love with designing shrugs.
WK: What are your favourite materials to work with?
TG: Wool!! And wool blends, of course. My favourite is a good soft wool and silk blend. I love the sheen! But, there’s some fantastic wool you can get that almost looks like it’s a silk blend. I’m thinking mostly of madelinetosh yarns. Yum!
As for needles, I’m addicted to my interchangeable circulars. I have a great set of Boye.
WK: Those madelinetosh yarns do look pretty! Who or what was your earliest inspiration that started you on your way to being the designer you are today?
TG: I’d have to say yarn.
It’s always held such an attraction for me - beautiful colours and textures, and all the possibilities a new skein of yarn holds is such an exciting prospect!
WK: I guess we all love yarn, the feel of it (and even the smell :D at least for me) Ok, let's move along! How do you usually design – how would you describe your designing process?
TG: I love fashion, and personal expression. Seeing people dressed well, and in interesting ways, catches my eye. Usually the first thing that pops into my head is “how can I knit that?”
From there it’s usually a frenzy of yarn getting (be that purchasing or stash diving. Usually purchasing!) and generally I keep notes about my designs.
Sometimes I’ll know ahead of time that I want to create a particular piece for pattern writing, but other times it’s just a fluid creative process. Just for fun!
I have a notebook dedicated to scrawling down ideas. Several notebooks, in fact :)
WK: How do you conceptualize your designs?
TG: I tend to keep a file of interesting images, photographs, etc… that inspire designs. Sometimes I’ll work straight from these, and often I’ll do several sketches first.
WK: How does your “typical day” when designing look like?
TG: Oh, I wish I could devote a day to designing!
It’s a bit sad, but I tend to just grab any random minute or hour I can. My favoured setting for designing is me, with a mug of delicious tea, parked on my sofa. I always have my notebook with me, and all wee tools within reach.
WK: That sounds lovely! Where do you get your inspiration?
TG: From a few places. I’ve touched on my little “inspiration folder” I keep of interesting images. Lots of those are from fashion mags, but quite a few are also art historical images and random sketches I’ve done.
WK: I love the "inspiration folder" idea! Where do you do your best design work?
TG: Ideas for designs usually occur to me when I have no where to write them down; late at night, driving to work, etc… But, my actually knitting is best done on my cozy sofa at home.
WK: How do you nurture your creative spirit?
TG: I always keep a sketchbook/notebook. Having a place to keep all the ideas together is important (at least, for all people who love super-organization!)
I’ve also noticed that I’m always charged up with ideas for designs after I visit my LYS. Seeing all those wonderful yarns and colours fills my brain with so many possibilities. And that’s where the notebooks come in! :)
WK: That's actually a great tip - I keep my Taschenbegleiter with me at all times, too, and jot down to-dos and (way too seldom) ideas. Ok, we're almost through here. What do you think is your "that one thing" that makes you a great designer?
TG: Well, I have a rule that I never design something that I wouldn’t actually wear myself. I like my clothing to have a unique twist to it, and generally all my patterns have this as well. The fact that my patterns are all items I wear makes me more passionate about them and confident in their design.
WK: What advice would you give to aspiring designers?
TG: You can do it!
It’s really just practice. Practice reading patterns, trying different techniques.
WK: Thanks so much for the interview, Teresa!