Wednesday, 19 November 2014

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.