Here, then, is the first part of an interview with Donna Druchunas.
Notice how Donna says the words "inspired by a pattern stitch"....and "pattern template".
There is a reason for that. YOU can do it too. YOU can design your own sweater! If you can make and measure a swatch, you can design and knit your own pullover or cardigan sweater. I promise.
Read more about the book on this blog tour.
Donna Druchunas: What got you interested in knitting and knitwear design? I learned to knit from my grandmother, but then didn't pick up my needles for years and years. It was a yarn shop full of new, gorgeous yarns -- wool, alpaca, novelty yarns -- that got me itching to knit again in my mid-30s.
Karin Maag-Tanchak: I learned to knit in grade school (growing up in Germany). I simply cannot remember a time when I wasn’t knitting. When I grew up, I knitted everything without a pattern, with lots of trial and error. I remember learning how to make socks without a pattern when I was a teenager. Every time I came to a spot where I didn’t know how to go on, I’d ask my mother, and she told me. I still have my first pair.
DD: I have a very seat-of-the-pants type of design process: I get inspired by a yarn or a pattern stitch or a garment shape, and I just start knitting and make things up as I go, taking a few notes along the way. Then I plug everything into a pattern template when I'm done. It's only when I have a tight deadline and need someone to help with the knitting that I write a pattern before I knit something. What is your process for designing a garment and writing the instructions?
KMT: I think I was still knitting a lot of things without a pattern pretty much until I opened my yarn shop, which I had from 2002 to 2006. Believe me, there were lots of disasters along the way! But when customers came in and asked me how I made a certain scarf or hat, I had to write it down for them. Naturally, I also sold a huge bunch of commercial knitting patterns and books, and help folks through their projects. I learned to speak knitting then, and soon after began to write patterns. I write them just like you. But when I have a certain assignment, I start with swatching and sketching, and then the knitting and writing happens almost simultaneously.
DD: I love exploring complex textures and intricate garment constructions, but sometimes there's nothing better than knitting a garter stitch scarf or shawl out of a luxury yarn on big, wooden needles for relaxation. What types of projects do you prefer to knit? Do you design the same things you personally enjoy knitting?
KMT: That’s a tough one to answer, because I seem to be all over the place with my knitting. Sometimes I wish I could just focus on one thing! But I love it all so much…I’ll start a garter stitch shawl or log cabin squares for an afghan, then I’ll get sidetracked by a gorgeous skein of yarn or a new pattern while surfing the web…or a new knitting magazine will arrive in the mail, and there’s something in there I want to make…I’m hopeless in the face of all that yarn and the books and patterns.
As far as designing, I am relatively new to it....I loved making the the two designs I have in your next book, and would definitely want to wear them, too. (more shameless plug coming up) In the book I am writing, I am including designs for everyone, and yes I am enjoying every single one of them.
Part two of the interview will follow tomorrow.