Laurel of Lobug DesignsWelcome Laurel of Lobug Designs!

Laurel is probably best known for her gorgeous sock club designs for the Unique Sheep; you can check out all  her designs on Ravelry here.  She’s generously donated a copy of her Cheshire Cat socks pattern, so please, leave a comment on this blog post about the interview by midnight PST 2/15/2011  for a chance to win!  I’ll use & post the winner 2/16/2011.

Steph:  Lots of gorgeous socks on your designer page!  Are socks your favorite thing to design?  to knit?  Toe up, cuff down, or either?

Hanging GardenLaurel: Actually, having that many sock designs was a bit of an accident. I love designing, and originally was doing mostly sweaters- and thoroughly enjoying it. One day I sat down to sketch a design for a Canadian yarn company that had put out a call for submissions (they had specifically mentioned socks in their call), and did a sock sketch for the first time.

I liked it so much I couldn’t send it to them because they claimed copyrights for all accepted designs; so I sent it to Laura at The Unique Sheep (I’d worked with her before), with the idea for a series of The Lord of the Rings designs.  And I’ve spent the last 3 years doing mostly socks because of that!

I love variety- I love doing something different every time, so socks are appealing to me in that. There are an incredible amount of things that can be done with them; and so many technique options as well!

I do toe-up, cuff-down- I really want to try out the new hat-heel construction; I’m constantly looking for different ways to work the heel.

I love learning and doing new things with knitting (I love the Fearless Knitting thing that got started a while back- I think with Knitting Daily and Ravelry), and if you are ever in a sock club that I design for, you’ll find out quickly that I rarely stick to one method of sock construction for any 2 designs in a row. Part of the reason for that is that some designs lend themselves more easily to a certain construction technique, and part of the reason is just that I love the variety.

But I do like designing other garments too.

One thing I realized after going to TNNA this winter is that I needed a concrete business plan, especially focusing on how I wanted to distribute my patterns beyond PDFs.  Craft MBA just recently posted a good summary here of things to consider if you’re thinking of doing some sort of craft, design, etc business.  Do you have a formal business plan?  Does it incorporate design goals & plans as well?  What did you include?  If you don’t have one, now that I’ve asked, are you thinking about it?

You know, it’s funny you should ask this now. I recently (as in last week) finished reading Shannon Okey’s latest book about knitwear design, and that is something that is mentioned there as well. I have started thinking about it, but I confess, I haven’t gotten much beyond that.

I kind of fell into the world of designing as a business accidentally and, so far, have been letting it take its “natural” course. I’m really only just now starting to think of it as a business and realize that I need to make long and short term goals and plans.

So, yes, I’m thinking about it; but it’s not very concrete as yet. Thank you for the great link!!

What’s your favorite thing about designing?  Least favorite?  I’m including all things ancillary to actual designing & knitting – so feel free to address pattern layout, marketing, website design, etc, etc.

Oh, marketing is definitely my least favorite. I’m not very good at selling myself- and taking the time to do so is a very conscious and intentional “I need to do this so I can keep doing the fun part” thing for me.

Preparing submissions can be very frustrating and nerve-wracking. It’s hard to get what is in my head on paper in such a way that others will understand and want it.

My favorite? I love knitting. I love watching the design that is my head happen on the yarn. I love holding the finished object- and seeing others wear it.

I don’t mind the pattern writing and math; but the knitting is where I’m happiest; and I think if my business (it sounds weird calling it my business) ever gets to the point I need to hire sample knitters instead of doing the knitting myself, I’ll probably quit and turn it back into a hobby.

At least, that’s how I feel about it now.  I suppose that might change when my kids are older.

Do you use a tech editor?  Test knitters? Thoughts either way?

I would LOVE to use a tech editor. But I really can’t afford one. Maybe someday. For now, I do that part myself.

Test knitters? Absolutely necessary. I love them. I have some of the best test knitters ever. Use them as much as possible. It cuts down on SO much errata. Yes, errata happens even with test knitters, I’ve discovered, but it helps a lot.

The best thing is when I send a pattern to a tester, and she doesn’t have any trouble with it.  It’s rare, but every once in a while that happens, and that tells me I’m becoming a better tech editor.

Do you have a space set aside for working on your designs (or, lucky you if you do, a studio)?  If yes, can you describe it?  What would your perfect studio look (smell, feel) like?

Oh, I would love to have a studio!! A room with shelves of yarn sorted where I can see and touch and breathe them. All my knitting books right next to the yarn. A big roll-top desk with my computer and everything I need for designing. A stereo next to a comfy chair surrounded by knitting bags and baskets….. That would be blissful!

No, I don’t have a studio. At this point, I do have my roll-top desk with my computer- but it has way more in and on it than just designing stuff. In fact, I have to do my sketching on the kitchen table because my desk is so full.

I do also have my comfy chair, but the stereo is far away from it, and rarely gets used because there is so much other noise in my home.

At this point, I do my design paper/computer work at the kitchen table and my desk, and the actual knitting happens wherever I am. Mostly in my comfy chair, but I will and do knit anywhere, and keep my current projects in easily portable bags.

LOL, that sounds like me.  I work either at our desktop computer, or on my laptop at the dining room table.  Knitting occurs on the couch.

Thanks so much Laurel!

Don’t forget to comment & enter on this blog post for a chance at winning a copy of Laurel’s Cheshire Cat sock pattern.