I knit. And I cook, write, take pictures. All for one low price.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Please welcome Donna Druchunas

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.


melanie said...

I am curious - besides the obvious "claim" to check for gauge - why do you swatch? When you are designing, how does swatching affect the end product or process?

Knittingchick said...

I admire creative minds like the two of yours! Sometimes I might have an idea for something but I wouldn't know where to begin bringing it into the real world.

Anonymous said...

Thank you both for your inspirational discussion. It's so fascinating to me on so many levels; e.g., how the creative process for knitting is similiar to the process for other arts (that's probably a no-brainer) and how, even though we bring different things to the process, the combined energy of everyone's creativity brings the whole thing to a higher level. I just love it!
Thanks so much for sharing
Kathie aka Kniteresting

emcknits said...

I can't wait for part 2.

bmash said...

Very Interesting!

Mare said...

Karin, i loved reading this! I can't wait for more! Oh and thank you for that sweet comment you left on my blog about my knitting. That means so much to me, coming from you....Thank you...mare

GrandmaMoo said...

Loved your dialog! It's always interesting to see how we may start differently, but end up with the same craft done by all of us!
Lorie K

Anonymous said...

I just loved this post, it's like we get to pick both your minds without trying to figure out what to ask first! I can't wait for the next segment.

Karin, I can totally understand about getting sidetracked with new yarns & patterns. I have recently asked Eric to be my knitting director so that I can keep focused on 1 project at a time...he laughed at me & said no way!!!

Diane S.

Donna Druchunas said...

Hi all, thanks for the comments. I swatch because I like to experiment with new yarns, needles, and pattern stitches. Sometimes everything just works and I am suddenly inspired with the vision of a finished project!