As part of the indie designer Gift-a-Long on Raverly, I interviewed BristolIvy.
The GAL is a group of indie designers on Raverly, it’s a way to kick start the holiday knitting, be it a gift for someone els or for you. As a bonus we discount our patterns until the 21.11.2014.
Bold are my questions and comments, and Texknitters answers are in regular font.
What is your design process and what influences your design?
Designs often start for me by seeing a ready-to-wear piece, and then figuring out how I would knit it through my own style. I’m a big fan of non-traditional constructions, so often inspirations that might be straightforward in their original form end up following a completely unexpected direction! I also love designing based on technique: building a piece around a new concept or a specific way of shaping. A lot of my work has grown organically from “what if?” moments. I tend to sketch these, chart the shapes on graph paper, or plain old stare out a window and think them through before starting; I rarely swatch more than once for a shape or idea because I’ve spent a lot of time figuring it out mentally beforehand. From there, I write out the pattern, and get knitting! A lot of the time I’ll make edits as I go, changing the pattern as the fabric and shape develops.
What do you love most about designing?
I love that knitting is a visual representation of conceptual logic and geometry. Designing for me is an endless manipulation of those things: if I do this, then that; if I use this angle based on these increases, those angles result. Then I love taking those concepts and making them wearable!
What is your favorite item you designed so far, and why?
Oooh, that’s a hard one. I can only narrow it down to four: Hrim, Devlan, Winnowing, and Thorn. The shawls are all explorations of technique and an idea, and I love that it worked out better than I could’ve planned. Devlan has some interesting construction techniques to it, but it’s also probably the item in my design catalog that’s closest to my own personal style.
And Devlan is really cool!
Does anything intimidate you in knitting or crochet?
Complicated stuff! I tend not to have the attention span at this point for intricate stitch patterns, so I’m always so impressed by people who do them effortlessly. Most of what I do has very basic stitch patterns to better show off the construction, but some days I wish I could let rip with something really crazy!
When you want to learn something new (or need to refresh it) in knitting/crochet, where do you look it up and why?
That’s a great question! It depends–if it’s a stitch pattern or technique, I’ll google it, or refer to the TECHKnitting blog. If it’s construction-based, I’ll check out my bookshelf: Elizabeth Zimmermann, Maggie Righetti, Shirley Paden, and Catherine Lowe books all live there and they’re all invaluable for discussing the bigger picture.
Do you have a favorite LYS?
Yes! KnitWit, in my hometown here of Portland, Maine. They’re wonderful!
Do you collect WIPs/FOs or do you work only on one project at a time?
I am completely monogamous! I actually get anxious if I have more than one project going, so I just try to zip through a single one at a time.
Are you a selfish knitter or do you knit mainly for other people?
Most of what I do right now is for publication, but I miss civilian knitting! When I was doing more of that, let’s be honest, I was pretty selfish. My family is super knitworthy, though, so I try to knit for them when I can. I’ll be knitting my dad a long-overdue sweater as part of the GAL!
Is knitting a seasonal activity for you?
Nope! I’m year-round, and actually often busiest in the hottest months of the year. There’s something a bit wrong with that. . .
What makes you buy a pattern?
Something that makes me sit up and say “WOW”. There are so many amazingly talented designers out there, and it’s so great to see how they all approach the knitting world differently. I love it when someone comes along and publishes something that I’d never even conceived of!
What do you most enjoy about knitting or crochet?
The way it feels in my hands after a long day at work. Even when I’m working on it towards the goal of publishing the pattern, it’s such a centering, calming activity. I love it!