Once a week I post interviews with interesting designers about their insights on their experience of working in the Knitting industry. I’ve noticed that every designer makes their living in a slightly different manner bringing their own unique presence to the Knitting world.
You can find Lorna here and here on Ravelry. You can find her blog here.
Where do you find inspiration?
I like to look at what people are actually wearing, not what “Knitters” are wearing. Just because a design can be accomplished doesn’t mean it doesn’t look like an afghan on a body to a non-knitter. I prefer more wearable garments that make non-knitters say “really? You knit that?!”
What is your favourite knitting technique?
I like worsted weight, easy-yet-interesting designs. I am not an engineer, but I do enjoy pretty, wearable garments.
How did you determine your size range?
I knit mainly for women and babies. Oh how I love to knit for babies. Perhaps as my grandchildren grow I’ll also start doing more children’s sizes?
Do you look at other designers' work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
I don’t really look at other designers. I just don’t have time to look around when there’s so many ideas bursting out of my own head. LOL.
I do much of my work myself. Occasionally I get a lot of deadlines at once and hire some knitting help and always use helpers for books. I like to keep my own fingers on the yarn in case a design or math element comes up that I need to address.
Do you have a mentor?
I did to get started. My angel’s name was Ida Clendenin. She was almost old enough to be my grandmother yet we felt like sisters where age was of no relevance. She taught me to dye yarn, spin, raise fiber animals, live in the country, love myself, think outside the box, relax, be a bit of a rebel, play with color, kiss llamas, take criticism gracefully, grow old kicking and screaming and love life and God. I am a better person for having Ida.
How do you maintain your life/work balance?
My sweetheart works swing shift so I can take mornings slowly, go for a bike ride, do some pattern writing and match, then when he goes to work, I also apply myself to more creative and production work like knitting time.
I handle criticism about my work better than I did when I was younger. I know that my style and books is not for everyone. But I’ve learned to separate the “Business Lorna” from the “Personal Lorna”. Ironically, Facebook has helped with this as I have a personal account and a business page. It helps me keep things in perspective as to who would want or need to know certain information from me.
How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
When I had Lorna’s Laces I made a very nice living, in fact, I supported our family of 5 for over a year when I put my husband through Physician’s Assistant school. Later when my marriage was over my now-ex-husband told me I would need to find a “real job”. I was writing my first book and already supporting myself with full time design work. I continue to do so. I believe in myself more than he did I suppose.
What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
A career in knitting? I believe designing or teaching are the places to form a career. Find a niche or specialty and become the expert on it. Teach it, write about it, believe in yourself.