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.

June 27, 2010

TODAY'S GUEST: KRISTIN OMDAHL

Kristin Omdahl is a well-established crochet and knitwear designer. Kristin is best known for her crochet designs, which reflect her fascination with geometry that she is masterfully combines with her skillful and very interesting techniques. Her designs are fresh, contemporary, well-designed mathematically and visually , beautiful and very intriguing. As Cari Clement, the director of Fashion & Design for Caron International, said: "Her circular motifs are her signature and her lace crochet is becoming legendary. Kristin’s designs keep us all fans of knit and crochet lace." I agree with Cari and if you are not familiar with Kristin's work yet, I would encourage you to check her Ravelry page where you can find 163 designs both for knitting and crochet. Kristin is the author of three books and is working on her fourth one. Her other work can be found in such major publications as Interweave Crochet Magazine, Crochet! Magazine, Vogue Knitting, Knit N Style Magazine, Knit.1 Magazine as well as in some collaborative books and on her website Styled By Kristin. You might have seen her in the public television show called Knitting Daily TV as the show's "Crochet Corner" expert. There are some promo videos of that show on U-tube. When I met her in real life I thought that Kristin is very easy to get to know and a lot of fun to talk to. Get to know her better by reading her answers below.

1. When did you start knitting (crocheting) and who taught you?
I taught myself to crochet while pregnant and living in Israel—my mother would send me pamphlets in English in the mail, and there was one small yarn shop in town where I could choose from an assortment of colors of worsted weight acrylic yarn imported from Turkey. I practiced crochet for a solid month before teaching myself to knit, too. I have been knitting and crocheting daily every since.

2. When did you begin publishing your designs?
When my son was two years old, I needed to go back to work because I divorced his father. I wanted to create a business knitting and crocheting so I could stay home and raise my son at the same time. I submitted one knit and one crochet proposal in the Fall of 2005 to publications in the United States. Each was accepted and my design career began.

3. What is your most favorite knitting (crocheting) technique?
That is a tough question! I enjoy many knit and crochet techniques. Lace would be at the top of my list for both crafts. I also like reversible patterns in knitting and motifs in crochet.
Interestingly, I enjoy exploring and experimenting with techniques from one craft and trying to apply it to the other craft. Currently, I am working on a knitting book that explores unusual techniques that are crochet inspired.

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 find inspiration everywhere I look! I am inspired by the tropical foliage of the area I live: Southwest Florida. I am inspired by the beautiful orchids, hibiscus and dragonflies in my back yard. Many of the designs in Crochet So Fine are specifically inspired by my tropical surroundings.

5. What does your studio look like?
My studio is all white. The bursts of color come from the projects I am working on. I like to keep my studio neat and organized. I believe I think better when everything is in order. When I get really busy, the chaos ensues and it takes a while to reign it all back in. Funny enough, when friends come over they tell me it doesn't look messy, the yarn is too pretty!

6. What is your most favorite place to knit (crochet)?
I have a lot of favorite places to knit and crochet. I love working in my studio, and I have a beautiful orchid garden in my backyard that is perfect for stitching! There are several local cafes that have pretty outdoor seating. I enjoy the people watching when I stitch there. One in particular has a waterfall that is so pretty and soothing.

7. Do you spin your own yarn?
No, I don't spin. I think it is interesting and almost hypnotic to watch someone work a spinning wheel, but I haven't felt the desire to learn... yet.

8. Do you belong to a knitting group?
Yes. I frequent a weekly knitting group and enjoy the friendships I've made through the meetings. I am also a member of TNNA, CGOA and KGOA.

9. Are you in touch with other designers and how do you communicate with the knitters who knit your designs?
I have made many wonderful friendships in the craft industry, including other designers, through the trade shows we frequent throughout the year. Thanks to email and forums, I have had the opportunity to "meet" many of the wonderful people who have made projects from my designs. I especially love to receive photos of their projects.

10. Where can we see your published designs?
My work can be seen in "Wrapped In Crochet" (Interweave 2008), "Crochet So Fine" (Interweave 2010), and “Knitting Wrapsody” Innovative Designs to Wrap, Drape and Tie (Interweave 2011). My designs have been featured in many magazines including Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, Knitscene and Vogue Knitting. I also have a self-published pattern collection on my website Styled by Kristin.11. Do you teach classes? If yes, where do you teach?
Occasionally, I teach at my local shops and when I travel during trade shows and book signings. My schedule is available on my website.
I also have a workshop DVD called Innovative Crochet: Motifs. It is a 64-minute crochet workshop DVD where I teach how to make motifs, how to read charts, how to join motifs with several techniques, how to use motifs as design elements and much more.

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?
There is a learning curve to everything. I believe if you can practice and believe in yourself you can learn anything! My patterns range from beginner to intermediate level. I have extensive glossaries for both knitting and crochet on my website, and I am happy to help if you have questions. Please use the Contact Me button on my website if you have questions about my patterns.

13. What are your plans in the near future?
Knitting and crochet design, of course! I am currently working on a knitting book and DVD where the unusual knitting techniques and esthetics are crochet inspired.

14. Can you share with us some of your latest designs?
My Spring 2010 Collection of self-published knit and crochet designs are Vinga Belted Cape (crochet)

Deco Skirt (crochet)

Sarita Sweater (knit)


Aloha Orchid Scarf/Flower (crochet)

Barefoot Beach Shawl (knit)

Captiva ballet wrap (crochet)

Tiers of Joy evening purse (crochet)

all of which can be found on Ravelry.com or my website Styled by Kristin.
Check back for more knit and crochet patterns coming soon!
I am the Crochet Expert on Knitting Daily TV, which airs on PBS nationwide. Please check your local listings for dates and times in your area. If it is not showing in your area and you wish it was, please contact your local PBS station and ask them! They only broadcast what they think their viewers want to watch.
In season 400 (which is airing now), I have a segment on each episode called "Crochet Corner" where I demonstrate a new crochet stitch or technique every week, starting from the very beginning and expanding thereafter. Each episode includes a free pattern that links from the website , which features the stitch I demonstrated in that episode.
Wisteria Shawl, Interweave Crochet Spring 2010
Lace Tunic (name TBD), Interweave Crochet Summer 2010

15. Would you like to add anything about yourself?
I am passionate about creating with my hands. When I am not knitting and crocheting, I can be found fishing with my son, running, whipping up healthy original recipes or learning to play guitar.FG: Oh, wow! This is wonderful! Thank you, Kristin so much for sharing your beautiful designs with us. It seems like these designs are pouring out of you. They are all different and technically interesting. I also have a copy of your Crochet So Fine and will be posting my review of it very soon. So, people, stay tuned for another glance on Kristin's designs. I will come back here and give you the link after it is done. Post your comments, please.

June 19, 2010

TODAY'S GUEST: MARIE GRACE SMITH

Marie Grace lives in rural Pennsylvania on a farm with her family. Her 4 kids are often her wonderful models that we can see when we are browsing her website called Marie Grace Designs. The majority of Marie Grace's patterns are for children sizes ranging from 2 to 14. Since Marie Grace mostly self-publishes her designs we can find them on her webpage and at Deep South Fibers .
Below are the answers that Marie Grace provided for the Designer's Studio.

1. When did you start knitting (crocheting) and who taught you?
My great-aunt taught me to crochet when I was about 9 years old. I spent countless hours making little blankets and pillows for my dolls out of any scraps I could get my hands on. I didn’t learn to knit until I had kids of my own. Many people told me it was very difficult to learn to work with 2 needles after becoming so used to working with one hook but a friend showed me how to cast on, knit, and purl, and that was it. I’ve been knitting ever since. I do still crochet occasionally but mostly just small things or borders.

2. When did you begin publishing your designs?
In 2006, I believe.

3. What is your most favorite knitting (crocheting) technique?
I don’t really have a favorite. I like to do everything. Part of my drive to design is that I like to know how to do every technique I can figure out and to be able to choose what I want to do rather than limit myself to what I already know. I am fond of seamless knitting and particularly top-down raglans but I’ll just as easily work pieces that need seamed. I also enjoy color-work, textures and cables, and embroidery on knitting.

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?
Inspiration comes from different things. Sometimes its a yarn I want to use or a shape I doodled in my notebook. I do tend to be heavily influenced by classic and heirloom sewing styles as I’ve been sewing longer than I’ve been knitting and I’m very fond of heirloom sewing. The same shapes and details seen in heirloom sewing often surface in my knit designs.

My “Darling” pattern was inspired by the long wool coats I’ve seen that are to be worn over little girls dresses. I figured a knit wool coat was just a wonderful as a sewn wool coat and I took the opportunity to sneak in some embroidery.The idea for “Sparrow” came from a Japanese sewing book I have. I love that Japanese style sewing is so simple and understated. “Sparrow” is made from 2 simple pieces and seamed together just like the sewn version of a blouse I made for my daughter. I added the texture to the upper portion to help carry a very basic design a little further.5. What does your studio look like?
I don’t actually have a studio. I have book shelves and storage bins in several places throughout the house. I keep my favorite books and my design notebooks and binders on the main shelves in the living room along with yarns I’m working with at the moment. More yarn (and fabric) is stored in cabinets downstairs. My laptop makes it possible for me to move around the house as need be but my usual place is the island in the kitchen.

6. What is your most favorite place to knit (crochet)?
I normally knit on the sofa but when the weather is nice I love to sit out on the deck.

7. Do you spin your own yarn?
Nope. The last thing I need is another craft to be distracted by.

8. Do you belong to a knitting group?
Not on a formal basis. When we lived closer to the city I was a regular at the Knit Night at Colonial Yarn Shop. I do miss going to the group but I’m too much of a home-body to make the hour drive on a Friday night. Sometimes we get a small group together here at the local library and I’d like to see that become more of a regular thing.

9. Are you in touch with other designers and how do you communicate with the knitters who knit your designs?
I am a member of a few online groups of designers both on Ravelry and elsewhere. Knitters who knit my designs can find me on Ravelry and can also contact me directly by email or through my blog.

10. Where can we see your published designs?
My self-published designs can all be found on my blog. My Ravelry page lists all my designs including the ones seen in various publications such as Twist Collective and Living Crafts magazine.

11. Do you teach classes? If yes, where do you teach?
Right now my only students are kids in our local 4H group. We’re getting ready to start a new season as soon as school is out!

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?
Its a great time to be a knitter, even a newer knitter. There is more information available than ever. Books, blogs, online tutorials and message boards are all chock full of information and lessons to be learned. Furthermore, yarn is just yarn. It can be un-done and re-done and fiddled with and experimented with and after all that, its still just yarn. The world will not stop spinning if a knitter does something incorrectly with a strand of yarn. So many knitters are less than fond of swatching but really swatches are awesome learning tools. When trying to learn a new stitch or technique the best way to go about it is to make a sample swatch. It completely takes away all the stress of worrying about messing up a larger project. Once someone has gained a little confidence with a harmless swatch they can go on to tackle something more substantial.

13. What are your plans in the near future?
Right now my plan is to just keep working on the things I have in progress and see what happens. I like to feel like I’m always moving forward so I have a few designs in progress all the time. Though I do set goals for myself I need to stay flexible. There’s a million things I’d like to do but my family takes a lot of time and energy. I’d like to eventually have the opportunity to publish a book and I’m moving toward that goal though there’s nothing definite at this time.

14. Can you share with us some of your latest designs?
So far this year I’ve released 3 new designs.
“Sparrow” as I mentioned earlier was inspired by a Japanese sewing pattern and is available in children’s sizes 2-12.

“Reese” is a top-down round yoke with color-work in sizes 2-12 and is great for boys and girls.

“Wintersweet” is a top-down raglan with a pretty collar and optional embroidery and is sized from 2-12.
You’ll also see some new designs in summer publications but you’ll have to wait for that.

15. Would you like to add anything about yourself?
Really, I just want people to know that I see myself more as a knitter than a designer. I love to communicate with other knitters and sewers especially but often feel intimidated around other designers. I get a knot in my gut every time I release a new pattern or send a submission to a magazine. I like to answer questions and write tutorials and share ideas. I like to see what others are knitting whether its one of my designs or not. I love to see knitters and crafters try new things and succeed.

FG: Thank you, Marie Grace and good luck to you. You have such beautiful kids and we can see that they enjoy modeling for you as much as you enjoy designing for them and other kids.