TEMPEST just came out, and I’m so pleased to be a part of the blog tour!
Holli graciously agreed to answer questions for my stop on the blog tour. (Hint: Read to the bottom to see how to enter for a chance to win a PDF copy of TEMPEST).
Steph: A collection like this seems like such a huge undertaking. How long did it take you from concept to final product?
Holli: We managed to produce the book in just under 11 months. We had a hard deadline because we wanted to release the book at Knit City, Vanocuver’s “Modern Fibre Event.” Last year after Knit City I approached Felicia about collaborating on a book. It was really the perfect time for both of us. I was ready to work on a cohesive collection and Felicia was looking for a project she could focus on but leave lots of time for her new role as a mother. We complimented one another wonderfully with our different skills aside from knitwear design and hand dyeing. For instance, I enjoy working with test knitters, sample knitters, tech and copy editors and Felicia brought her business experience and graphic design skills to the table.
Now that you’ve done one, would you do another?
Absolutely! It was such an exhilarating experience working on this project. It was so exciting seeing all my design ideas come to light and turn out how I had planned them. Now the idea of working on one-off designs seems somewhat flat in comparison!
I love how you explore a stitch pattern and its variations (Watermark, First Beach, Second Beach, even Procella) in different colorways and fiber blends. Was this planned at the outset or did it grow from one pattern? (I know I sometimes fall in love with a stitch pattern and want to interpret in different ways in different projects.)
When I was in art college, during our critiques my jewellery instructor always said our designs were fine, “Now go make 10 more that build off of this first one.” She wasn’t referring to working a production line, rather she wanted us to push ourselves and our concepts further. It’s the later designs in that progression that are the really great ones and they work well as a collection. It’s not often I get a chance to work in this manner where I explore an idea to its fullest. Six of the designs in the book began from a simple stitch pattern that I pushed and pulled, stretched and compressed while I explored it (Seaswell and Third Beach as well as the ones you found!).
Exploring the stitch pattern was neither a plan from the outset not did it grow from one design. After my initial meeting with Felicia about working on a book together I began swatching and designing. I explored all sorts of ideas and pulled together probably 30 or more design proposals. One of the themes was based on that stitch pattern. Then we had a meeting and discussed the design ideas and pulled together the beginning of the collection. After that I designed a few more pieces to complement the collection and round it out.
I noticed that you started off designing with a big focus on kid’s garments, but Tempest doesn’t have any; will we be seeing a slew of self published children’s patterns now the book’s out, or is your focus changing?
I began with kids’ garments because I was a new mother and a little single-minded at the time! Once I began it was hard to break away from children’s sweaters. They are small and quick. I had easy access to models. It’s what people expected of me. For the past few years though, I’ve been freelance designing adult garments for books and magazines. I’ll continue to do both but I’ll probably focus more on adults.
What’s next? Anything else on the horizon you’d care to talk about (or can talk about)?
I’ve designed a couple of pieces for other publications that haven’t yet been published. I’ll continue to submit ideas to books and magazines. I find I’m most productive when someone else sets the deadline. Although I have to wait to fit into their timeline. Right now I’m waiting to hear back about some designs I’ve submitted. And I’m always swatching and thinking of new ideas.
Friday, Oct 17 : Violently Domestic
Monday, Oct 20: Tricksy Knitter
Saturday, Oct 25: Wise Hilda Knits
Monday, Oct 27: Sunset Cat Designs (you’re here!)
Saturday, Nov 1: Knitting at Large
Monday, Nov 3: Very Shannon
Saturday, Nov 8: Sheep & Stitch
Monday, Nov 10: Heather Zoppetti Designs
Saturday, Nov15: Sheep to Shawl
Monday, Nov 17: Shannon Okey
Saturday, Nov 22: Confessions of a Yarn Addict
Monday, Nov 24: Happy Stitches
Saturday, Nov 28: Knit Social Event Company
Monday, Dec 1: Miso Crafty Knits
Visit tempestknit.com to learn more, watch video tutorials, chat in the discussion forums, and to share your finished objects. Learn more about Holli at her website, holliyeoh.com. Check out all the gorgeous yarn from Felicia at sweetgeorgiayarns.com. Purchase the print version here and the e-book here.