Modeled after the famous TV program called Inside the Actor's Studio, The Designer's Studio is the place where you will meet a well-known designer and read about her/his designing style, philosophy, most favorite techniques, publications, and many other interesting details of the creative world of knitwear designers. Our guests will be answering a set of 15 questions (the same for every guest) and you will have the opportunity to leave the comment or your question after the interview is posted. We will try to keep up with your questions. This is a very exciting project and I hope you will visit here often and will not miss any of the interviews posted here.
December 23, 2010
1. When did you start knitting (crocheting) and who taught you?
When I was 6 or 7 my grandmother taught me the basics of knitting and when I was 14 a Spanish lady neighbor taught me detailed knitting and finishing.
2. When did you begin publishing your designs?
In 1982 after I won a McCall’s magazine sweater design contest—I started getting calls from needlecraft magazines.
3. What is your most favorite knitting (crocheting) technique?
I love all knitting techniques and try to show that in my books. When I was younger I used a lot of intarsia and color work…today I like appliqué because it looks intricate and complicated, but is actually quite easy. Knitters…don’t be intimidated by it.
4. When you are thinking about some new design, what inspires you the most? Is it different every time? Could you give us some examples on inspiration for some of your designs?
It really is different every time, depending on so many things… who the piece is for…the demographic I’m aiming for…the yarns I’m using etc. The inspiration comes from everywhere. Knit Simple Magazine asked me to design an unusual boy’s sweater…I happened to see a magazine ad with a bare chested little boy with a pet snake around his neck and that prompted me to design a cardigan with a dimensional snake around the neck (my 5 year old nephew Mason wears it now and loves it).
My book “Knitting In Tuscany” is filled with inspirational items
like a caplet inspired by Tuscan cypress trees and a sweater inspired by an actual and beautiful Etruscan Fresco found in a ancient ruin.
5. What does your studio look like?
Oh boy! It is overloaded with tons of yarn, needles, color cards, reference materials, a sheep collection, my books, etc…etc. My husband calls it the “wool warehouse”.
6. What is your most favorite place to knit (crochet)?
On my couch in front of my large TV screen, with some chocolate nearby, in case I need some nutritional inspiration.
7. Do you spin your own yarn?
Sadly, I don’t have the time, and my apartment is a little small to keep my own sheep, but I do like the thought of it.
8. Do you belong to a knitting group?
I belong to the Big Apple Knitting Guild in NYC and make myself available to knitting groups around the country that invite me to teach or sign books, I love knitting groups!
9. Are you in touch with other designers and how do you communicate with the knitters who knit your designs?
I have a number of designer friends that I see at various knitting shows. I am constantly in touch with knitters around the world through my website nickyepstein.com, Facebook, Twitter, Ravelry, and up close and personal teaching classes, book signings, and knitting cruises and trips. I feel it’s important to to stay in touch with people that are knitting my designs and get their input of my work.
10. Where can we see your published designs?
I’ve written more than 21 books that are available in yarn shops, Barnes & Noble, Amazon etc., and in all the major needlecraft publications, and I have many designs on my website, and will be adding more every month.
11. Do you teach classes? If yes, where do you teach?
When my book deadlines allow me time, I teach quite a lot. I’ve taught all across the country, in England, Australia, Italy, the Caribbean, Argentina, Uruguay. Canada, Holland, etc. See my website nickyepstein.com for my teaching/tour schedule.
12. What would you like to tell knitters who are timid and do not believe they are skillful enough to knit some of your designs?
Do not be afraid! I pride myself on the fact that I create designs that may look complicated but are not. When I teach, my students are amazed how simple many of the projects are. I design garments that are knitter friendly, and put much thought into ones that will flatter almost any figure.
13. What are your plans in the near future?
I am working on new books and getting my website up to speed with its store carrying my patterns, buttons, clasps, scarves, books, note cards, artwork etc.
14. Can you share with us some of your latest designs?
My latest book “Knitting Block by Block” (Potter Craft/Random House Nov 9 2010 still has my head spinning with ideas for designing with blocks. I just finished a coat/jacket in coral red using Karabella’s new “Aurora Bulky” yarn and a kimono style cardigan using Cascade yarn.
15. Would you like to add anything about yourself?
I love knitting and love to encourage knitters/crocheters everywhere to continue to enjoy the art/craft that brings us all such pleasure. Knitting should be fun. Happy Knitting!
FG: Nicky, I can't thank you enough for answering my questions in the midst of all you do. I love your new website and blog. There are so many beautiful photos of your designs and travel! I hope our readers will take time to visit you there and learn how the yarn is made at the yarn mills and what tours knitters can take with you. Thank you, again.