I also had the chance to ask Erica Jackofsky, the designer of Fiddle Knits Designs, a few questions related and unrelated to knitting.
MC: This collection is inspired by myths and gods, what made you choose this theme?
EJ: I've been interested in mythology for as long as I can remember. I'm honestly not sure where or why I developed the fascination. Over the years I've studied mythology on my own, taken college courses in it, listened to various lectures via the Great Courses and iTunes U, and watched whatever movies and documentaries I could get my hands on. Every so often I'm struck with the urge to go back and review the myths and legends. One of these times I was knitting as I was listening to a lecture and I decided it would be a fun idea to combine these two of my interests along with a new found love of dyeing yarn.
MC: You use a lot of different construction styles in this collection, top down, bottom up, side to side, do you have a favorite shawl construction?
EJ: My favorite is whatever I happen to be using at the moment. I'm very fickle like that. I'll be working on a sideways shawlette and think, this is awesome! It goes so fast. I'm only working shawls like this." And then when that's over and I move on to the next one it happens again. I guess this is a good thing because I stay happy with whichever project is in the works. From a design standpoint all the construction methods have their perks. It's easier to plan yardage for a top down or sideways shawl than it is for a bottom up. However, bottom up constructions have more possibilities for border patterns (in my opinion).
MC: How did you begin designing? Do you have any words of wisdom, or caution, to others who want to design knitting patterns?
EJ: I started designing because I have this mental block about following patterns myself. Go figure. Any time I followed a pattern I'd alter it so much into what I wanted that I decided it was time to just learn how to build designs myself from the ground up.
Words of caution I'd say if you want to turn designing into a what you do for a living than be careful what you wish for. It becomes really hard sometimes to have your primary source of income also be what you like to do as a hobby. I don't have time to knit anything that's not a pattern I'm working on to publish. Also, you do a lot less actual knitting than you might expect. Knitwear design isn't just sitting around writing down patterns and knitting all day with your favorite podcasts going. Mostly it's website building/maintenance, paperwork for the business end of things (like sales tax, contracts, and such), writing proposals, writing emails to knitters with questions or people you're working with, taking photos and photo editing. If I get to end my knit with an hour or two of knitting I'm thrilled!
If designing is something you want to try, either for yourself or professionally, I'd recommend purchasing lots of stitch dictionaries and books on techniques. The Knitters Book of Finishing Techniques and Cast On, Bind Off. Are both great. Also, join the designers groups on Ravelry.
MC: What's your guilty pleasure?
EJ: I like to watch braincell killing mind candy TV shows/movies when I'm deadline knitting!
MC: Ok, one more, what are your top 3 junk TV shows to watch when you're on a deadline? I personally love to watch marathons, yesterday I watched a LA Ink marathon while panic knitting/frogging a sweater.
EJ: My 3 most favorite series I've ever knit to are all of the Stargate series (aliens and mythology references, what could be better?!), Battlestar Galactica, and Legend of the Seeker. I go back to those every so often. My current true guilty pleasure shows have been back seasons of Project Runway, Ugly Betty, and at the moment, Once Upon a Time