Description



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.


Faina Goberstein.

April 29, 2010

TODAY'S GUEST: KRISTEN TENDYKE

Kristen TenDyke is a talented designer whose name shows up so often in many publications that you get used to it. Looking through her creations you will quickly realize that you will never be bored with her designs. Kristen's imagination is unbounded in a way she brings different stitches together, constructs the project or uses the colors. It is obvious that she loves what she does and her designs reveal that to us. Many of her designs are very feminine and young. There is lace, cables, color work, crochet. Nothing stops her and nothing keeps her for too long. When you are browsing through a magazine with her publication in it, you will sure notice her design. For example, in Vogue Knitting, Spring/Summer 2008 Kristen had this beautiful top. It is one of my favorite Kristen's designs.








There is much more to learn about Kristen, so here is her answers to my questions.

1. When did you start knitting (crocheting) and who taught you?

My mom taught me to crochet when I was very little. Once I learned how to do more than hook a mile-long chain, I began designing things (I say things because I wouldn't necessarily call them clothes) for my dolls, then graduated into making slippers to fit my own feet. I played with crochet, on and off throughout high school and college, but never really made anything significant with it, since I couldn't read a crochet pattern for the life of me. In 2005 my boyfriend's sister gave me Stitch & Bitch Nation, and from that I was able to teach myself to knit—and read knitting patterns.

2. When did you begin publishing your designs?
The first design I had published was the red Woven Trellis Scarf that was featured on the
cover of Vogue Knitting Holiday, 2006 issue.

3. What is your most favorite knitting (crocheting) technique?
This changes like the weather… Right now, I'm in love with the pearl brioche knit stitch.

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's different almost every time. Sometimes the yarn speaks to me, sometimes a stitch pattern screams to be used, other times the silhouette of the garment comes to me first.
The Crochet Motif Cardigan was inspired by crochet snowflakes. I was going through a phase of making crochet snowflakes from various patterns, and was inspired to try my hand at creating a square motif that used some of the techniques I learned from making the snowflakes. Once a square motif was created that I loved, I was eager to form it into a sweater shape that worked well.
Sarabande began with a shape. I knew I wanted a yoke, with a fair isle band around the lower section, stockinette stitch below the band, and something more textured above the band, but I wasn't sure exactly what. I
drew my idea, then began swatching. There were 3 different Classic Elite yarns that I had in mind for the project, but as I began swatching it was easily narrowed down to Kumara.

Many different swatches were made for this design, testing eyelets and bobbles for the center of the fair isle pattern, and garter stitch and seed stitch for the textured upper yoke.

The Fraternal Socks
were born from a concept that I was introduced to in an elevator. I saw a pair of socks that were mismatched, but used the same colors in different places, so in a way, they matched. From that concept I created some colorwork charts, then found the yarn and crossed my fingers that something spectacular would come of it.

5. What does your studio look like?
It's an organized mess. There's a bulletin board with swatches pinned to it, overlapping pieces of paper with inspirational words and drawings. There are piles of papers
—drawings, notes. There are boxes of finished garments from publishers, ready for tech editing, and bags of yarn waiting to be played with. It's a *very* small space…

6. What is your most favorite place to knit (crochet)?

Oh, I enjoy knitting and crocheting anywhere.

7. Do you spin your own yarn?
Not yet. I do dream to someday begin spinning… but at the moment, I don't have the space or the time to become interested in any more new hobbies.

8. Do you belong to a knitting group?
No. I'm somewhat of a hermit… and often feel awkward in real-life social situations—less so when there's yarn involved, but awkward none-the-less—so I tend not to get involved with groups of people who all already know each other.
I worked in an office at Classic Elite Yarns for a few years. That's probably the closest thing to a knitting group that I belonged to. We didn't knit together much, but there was always talk of knitting, and yarn, and works in progress were shared and contemplated.
9. Are you in touch with other designers and how do you communicate with the knitters who knit your designs?
I'm on Twitter, Ravelry and Facebook, and talk to many knitters and designers through those means.
10. Where can we see your published designs?
Classic Elite Yarns often publishes one or more of my designs in each of their seasons. There are some new designs coming out soon in Interweave Knits, Spring 2010 issue, as well as some designs in various upcoming Interweave Press books.
There are many self-published designs available on my website and there is also a gallery section on my website showing existing published designs from books and magazines.

11. Do you teach classes? If yes, where do you teach?
I do not currently teach any classes.

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?
I learned everything I know about knitting by continuing to push myself outside of my comfortable knitting zone. Whenever there is something I'm not sure of, there is always someone online who has gone through the situation, and can help walk me through it. The designs that bring me the most happiness are the ones I need to research a little. I remember when I wanted to learn about cables. They baffled me, so I looked around online and found a little information about how to make them, and that they're made with this tool called a cable needle. I purchased a cable needle, then knit a little swatch of cables. I LOVED them—so I designed a baby sweater for my expecting cousin that was FULL of cables, then promptly began knitting.


I learned short rows in a similar way. They scared me. I had avoided patterns with short rows until one day I was reading through one of them and I decided that I was no longer going to live in fear of them! I picked up some needles and yarn and began practicing wraps and turns on a little 4" x 4" swatch until I felt comfortable with them—then I designed something to use them—The Broken Rib Tank.


Also, don't hesitate to contact people. If you're working with a pattern and come to a snag, find someone who can help you—even if that means e-mailing the designer. I occasionally get an e-mail from someone who has a hard time understanding something. Often times I can easily resolve their problem by explaining how to do it in a slightly different way. No need to feel intimidated by contacting the designer with a question—we're all human after all :)

13. What are your plans in the near future?
My boyfriend and I are going to be moving to the Austin TX area with our little house… I'm hoping to
submit some more designs to upcoming magazines, and I'll continue working as the technical editor for Classic Elite Yarns. Other than that… I like to leave life open to see opportunities as they present themselves.

14. Can you share with us some of your latest designs?
My most recent published pattern is in Classic Elite's Spring 2010 line, in their new 100% organic cotton ribbon yarn, Katydid.
The skirt on this top is knit side-to-side with dropped stitches creating horizontal bands—I love that feature. I think it really shows off the yarn.
Sarabande, and the Fraternal socks are some other relatively new patterns.

15. Would you like to add anything about yourself?
I live in a tiny house on wheels, with my boyfriend and our two kitties. I'm a solitary person, and find a lot of joy sitting
at home playing with yarn, sticks and hooks, or by bringing more serenity into my life through yoga.

Tiny house











FG: Thank you, Kristen. It was very interesting. Good luck on your relocation and your upcoming publications. I am looking forward to seeing your many new and exciting designs.
To a reader: If you want to hear more about Kristen, you can listen to Getting Loopy podcast with Mary Beth Temple. There are many Kristen's designs that are not mentioned here. Please go to her Ravelry page to see them all. Join our group on Ravelry where you can talk to Kristen and other designers.

April 17, 2010

TODAY'S GUEST: LAURA ZUKAITE

If you have read my review of Laura's book Luxe Knits, you know you are in for a treat today. This time I am focusing on Laura Zukaite, the designer. The more I look at Laura's designs the more I admire this young lady. She managed to accomplish so much in such a short time with the level of sophistication and maturity in her designs that inspires many of us to strive for more. She has many years ahead of her and I am sure we will see some amazing and exquisite designs from Laura. Let me start with her background which is a part of her making as a designer.
Laura was born and raised in Klaipeda, Lithuania. In addition to going to a regular school, Laura was attending the Gymnasium of Arts where she was studying painting, sculpture, ceramics, drawing, etc. She also took her first fashion design class there. Laura says:" I’ve been in love with it [FG: fashion] ever since." Laura's family moved to the US when she was 18 years old. Her parents and two younger brothers settled in Philadelphia. Laura has decided to move to New York City to go college. Her choice was the Parsons School of Design where she received her BFA in Fashion Design in 2007. Luxe Knits was a project of her last semester at Parsons that came to life last August.
Here is Laura's work for the 2007 Senior Thesis Show of the Fashion Design department at Parsons.















Laura has been working in sweater design in fashion industry since graduation. Currently, she is an associate designer of men's and women's sweaters at Polo Ralph Lauren.
Having said all this about Laura Zukaite, I am thinking it is time to let you read what she says herself. So, here is her interview for the Designer's Studio.

1. When did you start knitting (crocheting) and who taught you?
I always say that my mom probably taught me when I was about five (and honestly- I do not remember). It seems like I’ve been knitting and crocheting all my life…

2. When did you begin publishing your designs?
My first designs were published in Fall/Winter 2006 with Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, and Knitty.com.












3. What is your most favorite knitting (crocheting) technique?

I like working with stitches and textures… I do not have one favorite technique of all times, but I rather go through modes: one season I like to work on complicated lace patterns and the next season I can not get enough of Stockinette Stitch…

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?
Interesting that you ask, because inspiration to me is one of the most important parts of design. In my book, Luxe Knits , I describe that the sources of my inspiration mostly come from visual imagery…It could be an old tree, or a modern piece of furniture…but mostly I am inspired by what I see around me…

5. What does your studio look like?
My Studio is where I live and where I design (I rarely execute there…but I will talk about it later)…It is quite a small studio with two exposed brick walls and very tall ceilings & windows…and it does inspire me to create…











6. What is your most favorite place to knit (crochet)?

I am “on-the-go” kind of knitter. I rarely knit at home…unless I am starting a new piece or finishing it… I always carry a project with me wherever I go. I have done knitting on the subways, in the car, at the cafĂ© shops, in the parks, waiting on line to buy museum tickets, during the opera intermissions…you name it…

7. Do you spin your own yarn?
No…

8. Do you belong to a knitting group?
No- most of the time- knitting is my time with myself…

9. Are you in touch with other designers and how do you communicate with the knitters
who knit your designs?
I am on Ravelry.com and created a blog where people can reach me. Every now & then I get emails from knitters that have questions… I welcome any form of communication from other knitters …

10. Where can we see your published designs?
Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, Knitty.com, Lace Style, Reversible Knitting, Classic Elite Pattern Books and of course my new book Luxe Knits…

11. Do you teach classes? If yes, where do you teach?
Sticks & Strings in Scarsdale, New York- the nicest little yarn shop!

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?
Practice is everything! Always challenge yourself and try things that are just above your skill level- soon you will see that the things that looked intimidating at first are not that difficult after you actually try them…

13. What are your plans in the near future?
I am pursuing my career in the fashion industry…and have the second book coming out in August… It is going to feature Accessories and present the same aesthetics as Luxe Knits…

14. Can you share with us some of your latest designs?
As I have mentioned before I just finished working on my second book, which will showcase accessories. It is a continuation of the first book, Luxe Knits, and will have the same feeling and design aesthetics.
I also have worked with Classic Elite Yarns on their Fall’10 line- so you will be able to see some of my designs there pretty soon…
FG: Laura's website has her newest collections.

15. Would you like to add anything about yourself?
My lifestyle? I like to stay active all the time…I bike crazy mileages when it is warm and ski whenever I can during the winter… I am also training and planning to complete my first Triathlon this summer. My first race this year is coming soon: New York City Half Marathon…

FG: This was wonderful, Laura. Thank you very much for this interview and the inspiration. We will be looking forward to your next book and new designs. Good luck with your fashion career and new publications. I hope to see you again soon.

April 04, 2010

TODAY'S GUEST: NANCY MARCHANT

I was looking forward to this interview for many reasons. One is that I love Nancy's work and sense of aesthetics in her designs. Another one is that we share love for brioche family of stitches. Nancy lives and works in Amsterdam the capital of Netherlands (Holland). Europeans use brioche stitches very often. Once you learn them, you love them and do not consider them difficult. In fact, for me basic brioche was the third pattern stitch I learned at age 10. I first learned about Nancy through her very informative website called...The Brioche Stitch. You will find there all kinds of information about brioche stitches. Although Nancy specializes in Brioche, she has many different publications in number of books and magazines using other techniques as well. The photo on the right is of Amsterdam from my trip there. Below you can read the answers to DS questions by none other than
nancy marchant as she refers to herself on her website.

1. When did you start knitting (crocheting) and who taught you?
I started knitting when I was probably 8 or 9 years old. My mother taught me.

2. When did you begin publishing your designs?
In my early twenties, I won 3rd place in a national contest (I think Nicki Epstein won 1st place in the same contest). There were 25 3rd place winners and I won a set of crochet hooks because my winning jacket was free-form crochet. One of the judges of the contest was Lola Ehrlich and she liked my jacket so much that she published it in Ladies Home Journal Needle&Craft where she was editor. That was in 1974.

3. What is your most favorite knitting (crocheting) technique?
Without a doubt, the brioche stitch.

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?
I have a fascination for patterning/pattern repeats, color and ethnic textiles, especially Japanese. At the present time, I have been experimenting with developing new brioche stitches that I translate into a shawl, scarf or garment.

5. What does your studio look like?
It is completely full from top to bottom with yarn. I keep having to create new spaces in my house to work because I keep filling up the space where I have just been. I really do need to de-stash.

6. What is your most favorite place to knit (crochet)?
At home in my “knitting chair”.

7. Do you spin your own yarn?
In college, I worked at a textile arts store and we were required to know how to spin. I tried and tried and just couldn’t get it. I love the different textures and color combinations that you can get when you spin your own yarns but I am someone who will have to rely on others to do that for me. I do like to dye yarns, however. Here I have to say that I do simple dyeing - nothing like the beautiful indie dyed yarns on the market.

8. Do you belong to a knitting group?
Yes, a wonderful Stitch ‘n Bitch group in Amsterdam. We meet every Monday night at Cafe de Jaren.

9. Are you in touch with other designers and how do you communicate with the knitters who knit your designs?
Yes, I have many designer friends. I communicate with most knitters through the internet.

10. Where can we see your published designs?

My most recent work is in my book Knitting Brioche. I am currently working on a brioche lace stitch dictionary and am not sure what form that information will take - maybe another book, maybe pdf download. I have been published in Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits and Knitters Magazine in America. In the Netherlands I have had designs in Ariadne, Handwerk Zonder Grenzen and Margriet.


11. Do you teach classes? If yes, where do you teach?

I have all of the admiration in the world for good teachers. I do teach but I like to teach to advanced knitters. I have a “patience” problem. I would love for someone to take all of the brioche information that I have accumulated and turn it into a great class for beginners. Then let me take over after they have mastered the technique so that I could teach them the fun designing part.

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?
Anyone can learn brioche knitting. Here in the Netherlands, knitting used to be taught at school so children learned the brioche stitch. It is a very common stitch that every knitter knows. It isn’t a matter of skill, it is a matter of trying it.

13. What are your plans in the near future?
I would like to publish my lace stitch patterns.

14. Can you share with us some of your latest designs?
Here are a few projects from my book:

15. Would you like to add anything about yourself?
I have developed a new set of abbreviations for brioche knitting. I didn’t create these overnight, I worked on them for years. I would like for other designers to use these same abbreviations when they create something with brioche stitches just so there aren’t 900 different versions of saying the same thing. Since this is still such unexplored territory, now is the time to establish the terminology.

I would also appreciate all the good knitting teachers out there to learn brioche knitting and teach it to others.

FG: Thank you, Nancy for this interview and your wonderful work. Good luck with your book and I hope to meet you in person at TNNA. To comment on your last note- I love to design using brioche and it was very helpful for me to consult with your abbreviations. I also teach classes and offer workshops on this topic, so I am one of those who is carrying the flag of Brioche domain in US:)