5 minutes with...Hollyberry Designs

Today I have 5 minutes with Holly Stevens of Hollyberry Designs aka Biddybelle on Ravelry.

º Designs by Holly Stevens

What is the thing you enjoy most about being a designer?
The creativity and feeling of accomplishment when something I have drawn on paper comes to life! (and the fact that if it doesn’t turn out quite how I expected no one knows except for me…)

Where does your inspiration come from?
Lots of things, alot of the time I will see or think of a stitch pattern I love and think “wow that has to be a hat!” or when I am searching for a pattern and can’t find exactly what Im looking for I can start working on it myself. Sometimes I even see an item of clothing in a shop and think about how it would translate into knitwear.

What is the one thing you wish you had known when you started out designing?
I wish I have known about Stitchmastery a lot earlier! It’s made designing so so much easier and I would fully recommend it.

º Bobbie Hoodie by Holly Stevens

Which is your favourite design and why?
I often go through phases of loving something above all else, for a me-knit I absolutely love my Lilybelle hat, the lace is just so intricate but super duper easy to knit. I equally love my Bobbie hoody, I can hear my Nana’s voice echoing in my ear as she pulled my jerseys down lower saying “keep your kidneys warm.” In Southern New Zealand its rather chilly for most of the year so it gets a lot of use - now I just need to make one for my 4 other children!

If you could invite 3 designers to dinner, who would you choose?
Wow - that is a tricky question! I would love to meet up and pick the brains of Justyna Lorkowska and Georgie Hallam about kids knits. Oh definitely Andi Satterlund as I love all things vintage inspired and would love to chat to her about adults garments as one day I would love to try my hand at that - but I just don’t feel confident enough quite yet!

Instagram ID: hollyberrydesigns
Facebook:HollyBerry Designs 

5 minutes with...Sweet Paprika Designs

As part of the Indie Design Giftalong 2015 I am featuring short interviews with a few designers I have come across during the event. Today we have Elizabeth Sullivan aka Sweetpaprika on Ravelry

What is the thing you enjoy most about being a designer?
I love the creative process and trying to transform ideas from my head into actuality. Sometimes more successfully than others, but that’s all part of the process. I also love seeing people make and enjoy my designs.

©Sweet Paprika Designs

Where does your inspiration come from?
Everywhere! Often a yarn or a stitch pattern inspires me, but when I’m actively searching for ideas I start looking at everything around me: colour combinations of my son’s toys, sewer grates while out for a walk, embroidery motifs, vintage clothing shaping, street fashion… It’s kind of like my brain starts buzzing and everything becomes a possible starting point for a new design.

What is the one thing you wish you had known when you started out designing?
I started trying to design stuff for myself as a teenager, long before I ever thought of publishing a pattern. I wish I’d known a bit more about garment construction back then. I think it would have saved me a lot of half-finished sweaters! Socks and hats were my most successful early design attempts.

Which is your favourite design and why?
That’s such a tough question! One of my designs that I’m most proud of is Leif the Lucky because it was kind of an accidental design. I had three colours of yarn leftover that I wanted to make into a hat for my brother as a Christmas present. I wanted it to be really warm so decided to work it in double knitting, threw in some Latvian braid and once I knew I had enough yarn left added earflaps. I love the way it turned out and I probably wouldn’t have chosen the construction method I did if I’d had unlimited yarn of each colour, but it really worked for this design. Plus my brother loved it too and it’s always satisfying to know that a knitted gift is well appreciated!

If you could invite 3 designers to dinner, who would you choose?
I’ve met and worked with so many people online that I’ve never met in real life and it would be so great to sit down and have dinner with them all. Maybe not all at once though – that would be a big dinner!
If I had to choose only 3: Barbara Walker (my knitting hero), Jennifer Wood (who I’ve been working with for several years now), and Julia Trice (I’ve long admired both her designs and her articulate and supportive Ravelry posts).

Instagram ID: sweetpaprikadesigns

5 minutes with Corrine Walcher

As part of my participation in the Indie Designer GAL I have a series of '5 minute interviews' lined up with a few designers whose work caught my eye.

First up we have Corrine Walcher aka Gingy on Ravelry who has a great range of designs including socks and accessories.
Designs by Corrine Walcher

What is the thing you enjoy most about being a designer?
I love that I can make people happy with things that come out of my brain, and that I can work from home while taking care of my family. It’s really a luxury. And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I love the math for sizing. And I hate it too, but mostly I love it for keeping my brain active.

Where does your inspiration come from?
Everywhere! I see patterns in nature, I see interesting shapes, and I want to turn that into something tactile. Sometimes it’s a theme or fictional or historical character assigned to me by a dyer for a club, and I’ll let my imagination go from there.

What is the one thing you wish you had known when you started out designing?
I always thought knitting design was magical - think of the first time you turned a heel - until I got a good grasp on the fundamentals. Once I had the knowledge that it isn’t really magic, it sort of fell into place. Or maybe it is magic, and I’ve just learned how to harness it.

Which is your favourite design and why?
My favorite design of my own? I think Key Largo. It’s the first time I really challenged myself and wrote a multi-sized pattern aside from a sock. I’ve knit a lot of sweaters - a lot, seriously - but I wanted something just mine. Serendipitously, Mrs. Crosby Plays needed something in one of their new bases, and contacted me.
Key Largo by Corrine Walcher

If you could invite 3 designers to dinner, who would you choose?
Cat Bordhi - she turned me into a sock knitter. I learned to knit with two circulars for her and now I churn out a pair of socks in a couple of days. Before that, with dpns, I felt like I was wrestling an octopus. And I’ll tell you, nobody else does a knitting video like her. When I do a provisional cast-on, I’m singing “Waaaaaaaaay up high! Waaaaay down low” in my head.

Elizabeth Zimmerman - I suspect we are very much alike. No-nonsense, get-it-done sort of people. Alas I’m too late for her to join me.

Maureen Foulds - she’s one of my dearest friends but we live far apart. She’s been instrumental in my designs from day one: helping with aspects I didn’t quite grasp, proof reading, even test knitting and helping with my advertising.

A big thank you to Corrine for answering my nosy questions. If you would like to follow her on social media she is on Twitter and Instagram as well as on Ravelry.

Indie Designer Giftalong 2015

Aaand..they're off

The 3rd annual Indie Design Giftalong has now started over on Ravelry.

335 designers from 30 countries have combined to offer a fabulous 25% discount on selected patterns. Use code giftalong2015 at checkout from Thursday, November 19th at 8:00 pm US EST - Friday, November 27, 2015 at 11:59 pm US ES.

Louise Tilbrook Designs: GAL Patterns
As well as the sale and the chance to find some new-to-you designers there are KALs, competitions and general chatter happening over on the Indie Design Giftalong group.

 As you might expect I'll be hanging out in the thread related to sock and other foot/leg patterns but I can never resist checking out all the other amazing patterns - and I do need a new hat for winter....

Giftalong Designer Interview

I'm pleased to be able to share another Giftalong Designer Interview with you today. I was lucky enough to be able to chat with Amy (aka PghAmers) on Ravelry who designs wonderful accessories under the label Structured Stitches.

She has some fabulous patterns for sale in the GAL, her website is here and is well worth a look.

Structured Stitches GAL Bundle
What is the thing you enjoy most about being a designer?
This is a tricky one, because I have to design. It’s just something innate in my brain that I have to do on a regular basis. So I’m not designing for a particular outcome, I would still be making up designs even if I wasn’t publishing them.
That said, I think my favorite thing is when a yarn producer loves the design I have produced in their yarn. I have gotten yarn support from a local sheep farmer, a local indie dyer and a small yarn company. The yarn they produce (and dye) is very personal to them, and it is an awesome feeling for them to be excited and happy about what I’ve done with their product. I’ve also shared projects with yarn companies after they are published (in cases when I bought the yarn myself), and it is cool to be browsing my personal facebook page and see that they have posted about my pattern. Certainly, I LOVE it when knitters and crocheters ooh and aah over my designs, but the love from those in the fiber industry feels like I’m being welcomed into a special club. :-D

Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from my love of color & interesting construction, combined with the practical considerations of the crafters experience. Similar to architecture, it is about form AND function, and how best to marry the two in one project. For example, I love crocheting motifs and using them to build a larger fabric. I find that working on small motifs while I’m out and about to be ideal, but the ability to crochet those motifs together allows me to avoid sewing and in some cases to make a fabric that doesn’t even look like it is made up of motifs. Sometimes, like with a stranded hat, the function is already well established and it is just a matter of getting to play with how the color and pattern work together.
Overall, my interest is in making beautiful things that are also useful.

What is the one thing you wish you had known when you started out designing?
I listed my first two “designs” on ravelry before they were ready to be published. I had just started teaching at my LYS, and the manager wanted to do a KAL/CAL with a yarn that was being discontinued from the store. Both as a nice store activity and to encourage customers to buy it down quickly. She gave me the option of finding existing patterns to use or coming up with my own. In hindsight, I didn’t really have enough time to design two scarf patterns, and I am better off not designing patterns that I’m not super excited about.
One of them I finally finished and published well earlier this year. The other one still sits there taunting me. The original design needs some work, and going back to it feels to me like eating liver and onions. I have all of these other new and shiny ideas I would rather be working on, but I need to just force myself to sit down and finish the design, crochet the sample, and get the whole thing off my to do list!

Which is your favourite design and why?
My favorite design is the Claro Stole. I was browsing mood boards for magazine submissions, and a picture on one of them sparked the idea for this stole in my head. I knew the feeling I wanted the lace to have and how I wanted it to start at different points working from the center out. I was able to find two stitch patterns that accomplished the feeling I imagined, and fitted them in on a half-circle shape. It is probably my most challenging pattern, and it turned out exactly how I envisioned, which really doesn’t always happen.
There is also a design that I absolutely adore which is not public yet, and the publishing date is not under my control. I can’t wait to swoon about it on my blog someday!

If you could invite 3 designers to dinner, who would you choose?
Only three? That’s not nearly enough!
My initial thought was to choose the nationally known designers who I’ve met briefly or taken classes from, and would like to get to know better, but I realize that I’m lucky that I’ve already gotten to meet them and hear them interviewed on podcasts. So instead I’m going to choose designers that I “know” from ravelry, but whom I’m unlikely to meet in person unless I’m able to go to TNNA someday. All three are strong entrepreneurs who have found three very different business models that work well for their current life situation.
Julia Trice – A great designer, and a patient person who gives lots of wonderful advice and encouragement to those with less experience than she has. She’s thoughtful and honest, while always being diplomatic and prudent.
Triona Murphy – Her design sensibility really speaks to me, and if I had time to knit other people’s patterns very often, I would be a regular customer. We’ve had many lovely chats on ravelry and twitter, and I have the sense we would get along well.
Alex Tinsley – Hilarious on twitter, and with a sense of style that I love. I would want to take Alex shopping after dinner to overhaul my wardrobe. She has a knack for being fashionable without being so out there that you can’t imagine wearing her designs for years to come.