Friday, April 24, 2015

An Interview with...Jutta von Hinterm Stein

Once a week I post interviews with interesting people about their insights on their experience of working in the Knitting industry.  I’ve noticed that every one of these individuals makes their living in a slightly different manner bringing their own unique presence to the knitting world. 

You can find Jutta here, and here is her Ravelry group.

Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere - In Architecture, Techniques, Materials, Surfaces, Nature, Fashion, Movies …  – There are so many ideas, that I could preoccupy myself for the next two hundred years … so exciting! Sometimes I wake up during night with the solution of a construction problem or with a new idea - there is always a little pad on my nightstand for notes and scribbles.

What is your favourite knitting technique?
A new technique with every new project! And: mindless stockinette stitch.

Do you look at other designers’ work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
To my opinion, a new design is just a new way to interpret and combine what one has seen somewhere someday. There are so talented designers, so many inspiring ideas! Wouldn’t it be a pity to miss them?

How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?
When I started knitting, I had a grandma and a yarn store, where I could ask for help. If you order your yarn and pattern online, you are alone. And then a detailed pattern is quite helpful. On the other hand, a pattern for a simple sweater, with 10 or more pages of instructions, might be quite a deterrent.
To me, this is a funny question, as my way was the opposite around. My first patterns were very simple. Similar to 80-ies style German Knitting Magazines, just the most important instructions - expecting the knitter to know what to do (or where to ask). Now my patterns are much, much longer and detailed. Including schematics, row-by-row and stitch-by-stitch instructions, pictures of details, photo tutorials for uncommon techniques, and, and, and … But I will not teach the basics. This is the job of knitting classes – or YouTube.

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
Usually 1-2 per size and language. My first prototype is knit by myself, sometimes a second one is necessary. Fortunately I have a pool of very helpful and patient test knitters – they all deserve my particular thanks! 

Did you do a formal business plan?
Actually my knitting and designing is not a real business. But I take it very seriously and try to act as professional as possible, spending uncountable hours to bring a new pattern along, responding to any question within a few hours and spending a lot of time in my Ravelry group.

Do you have a mentor?
Not in a common sense. Except if you would accept my husband as a mentor? – Or the many friendly knitters on Ravelry who supported my activities with their nice comments and warm hearts!

Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
My little “designing-career” started by chance, when I discovered Ravelry. The positive response to my first project was absolutely unexpected, and a knitter asked if there would be instructions. That’s how my first pattern occurred. - And then so many knitters downloaded this first pattern! That was a real WOW-moment. (In the meantime I learned, that free patterns are always popular, but at that time it inspired me to continue). Much later I started to look around what other designers do. And tried hard to act more professional.

How are you using social media to grow your business?
Oops, that’s my weak point ... I have a Ravelry group that keeps me busy. Up to now I did not find the time for a homepage or any other social media. I know, this is an omission in modern life, but I prefer to spend my time knitting and writing patterns.

Do you use a tech editor?
Not yet, but I have often, very often thought about it! All my patterns are tested by experienced knitters. Of course it might be easier and time-saving to employ a tech editor, but some issues appear only while knitting a piece. It is very helpful to hear the opinion of a knitter working through the pattern.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?
If you ask my husband, he would tell you that 110% of my free time is filled with knitting-stuff. Actually it is only 90%.

How do you deal with criticism?
Any feedback is welcome and important to me. It helps to improve.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
I really don’t know, how long it will last …

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Do not hurry. Give yourself time to review and rethink what you are doing, and how you are doing it.

What’s next for you?
The release of my Cross Pockets Cardigan is planned for the next few days, and two more cardigans are on the way. This summer’s program is a revision of my older patterns (the ones in “German abstract style”).  And there are so many new ideas that want to be knitted … every moment a new one arising!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Signature Yarns and Robin Hunter Designs - The Torquay Stole

Patrick and I will be releasing the patterns and kits for our collaborative work. Kits will be available here on the Signature Yarns site. If you are a local reader they may also be available at the upcoming Knitters Frolic. 

This is the The Torquay Stole. It's an updated version of the Elsa Hardt Shawl. The Signature Yarns version has been revised to add the details to work with the gorgeous Silkpaca from Malabrigo Yarn. Finished size is the same The colour of this sample is Fucsia. The yarn is 70% Alpaca, 30% Silk, approximately 420 yds (384 m) to 1.76 oz (50 g), lace weight.The sample used 2 skeins which are 675 yard (615 m), 2.82 oz (84 g). There was yarn leftover and the pattern is adjustable so it could be made larger.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Toronto Knitters Frolic Classes

Too busy to write much. I'm prepping for the Toronto Knitters Frolic this weekend. You can read more here:

I hope I'll see some of you in my classes.

Signature Yarns and Robin Hunter Designs - The Corso Capelet

This is the next design in the pattern series for Signature yarns. Kits will be available here on the Signature Yarns site. The patterns will be available on Ravelry. If you are a local reader they may also be available at the upcoming Knitters Frolic. 

This is the Corso Capelet and Scarf. It's a re-release of a previous pattern with extensive changes due to the amazing drape of the yarn used. Stitch counts and lengths were updated and the scarf was revised to be a one skein item.  The colours and feel of this yarn is amazing! This is a yarn which needs to be touched to be appreciated, photos just can't do it justice.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Judy Marples Pattern Promotion ends Today

Last week I interviewed Judy Marples here.  Today is the last day for the pattern promotion she so kindly offered my readers.

The starting date was April 9th and it ends at midnight PST on April 17th, which gave you one week to take advantage of the promo.  The promotion is 20% off any of Judy's patterns using the promo code “knittingrobin”.   

From each pattern page click "add to cart”.  Once the patterns you wish to purchase are all in your cart, then open your cart and click on “use promo code”.   Add your promo code and then check out.   

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

YarnOver SleepOver Retreat 2015

This weekend Mary Pat and I head up to Orilla for the third annual YarnOver SleepOver Retreat. We have a great weekend planned for the attendees. Many of them are joining us for the third time! I've included a few photos of last year's fun times.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Signature Yarns and Robin Hunter Designs - The High Park Scarf

Patrick of Signature Yarns and I will be releasing the patterns and kits for our collaborative work. Kits will be available here on the Signature Yarns site. The pattern is available on Ravelry. If you are a local reader it may also be available at the upcoming Knitters Frolic. 

The High Park Scarf is a triangle scarf with extended points, it's worked with a top down construction technique. It uses an extra set of increases at the edge to create its unusual shape. The extended points can be used to wrap around the wearer’s neck. The stitch patterns are reversible. The main body stitch pattern is created with rows of knit and rows of rib. It appears in text and as a chart so the knitter can work from whichever format they prefer. The edging is simple 2 x 2 rib.

It uses Patrick's Painted Desert yarn by Knitting Fever, 4 ply fingering weight, 100 % Superwash wool. Each ball is 437 yards (400 meters), 100 grams (3.53 ounces). The sample shown uses approximately 415 yards (380 meters), 95 grams (3.35 ounces).

I'm sure you want to see lots of photos don't you? You'll see from the photos there are many options as to how you will wear this scarf.