Lately there's been a flurry of activity at Sandrasingh.com and that's just the way I like it. I've been busy bringing you new yarn brands, such as Kauni's Effektgarn, plus stocking up on some of your favorites like Madelinetosh, Malabrigo, Sandrasingh.com and The Schaefer Yarn Co. I've also been having fun hosting Blog Giveaways, and this post will include one too.
You may have noticed the recent explosion of new knit & crochet patterns, lots of beautiful new designs by some of your favorite artists and that I've introduced the work of 6 new talented knitwear designers. You know I usually like to take a moment to shine a spotlight on my new designers and introduce them to you on a first name basis, but there hasn't been time to single any one of them out. Starting with this post I'm going remedy that!
I actually didn’t learn to knit until 2004. I graduated from Cornell in the mid 90’s with a degree in Apparel Design. I managed to convince my professors to allow to me focus on dyeing and weaving for my concentration and spend many hours at the loom creating fabric for my looks. I tried to learn how to knit during this time and it just never “took”! Fast forward to 2004, I was with my daughter (who was then 4) at a playdate and her friend’s mom decided to teach me how to knit. Suffice it to say, I sold my looms the next year and haven’t looked back. I LOVE the portability of knitting. I think I always felt trapped at my looms … my knitting and I can go anywhere! Though I followed patterns in the beginning I quickly found that I was constantly trying to create things in my mind and then recreate them on the needles. Since I did not take any formal knitting classes as I was learning I didn’t have any rules I was worried I would break! This allows me to create stitches and techniques… because I just don’t know any better!
Who or what inspires you the most in your design process?
Ahh, inspiration… I pretty much never know when it is going to strike me… but often times it does while I am knitting on a current design! Once I finish the sketching/swatching step my designs are pretty much fleshed out. What this means is that my mind is left to wander while I knit. I constantly take notes of ideas as I will forget them by the time I remember I had one I wanted to follow up on. This means there are little doodles everywhere on the patterns I am working on. My family is quite active, we bike, x/c ski, hike depending on the season. I often come home from a session invigorated and all jazzed up with a new concept. My biggest challenge is to learn to finish the ideas I have already started and then edit the ones I have percolating to make sure they are worth my effort. Sometimes I wish I had an off switch for this part of my brain, as it can be rather distracting!
What direction do you see yourself heading in as a designer?
Well this relates directly back to all those ideas I keep having, right? I have a few big concepts that are “gelling” into a plan. I just have a bit more research to do to understand how I am going to move forward with them most effectively. One of the ideas involves a project with a few other designers. I relish the idea of collaboration with them!
How have the advances in technology and the internet helped you (or hindered) you as a knitwear designer?
I am really excited about how the publishing industry is rapidly changing; the idea of dynamic e-books that imbed photos, links, tutorials, and videos is unbelievably thrilling to me. I can’t wait to see how other designers (and myself) develop their patterns to push the boundaries of the publishing industry. I also REALLY appreciate the role social media has played in my creativity and design community development. So much of what we do as designers is solo. Interfaces like Raverly, Twitter and Facebook allow me to share myself day to day with like minded knitters and designers. They become my office “water cooler” a place to chat, vent, learn, and find new things to cook for dinner!
You're not only an independent knitwear artist but also the Design Director at The Schaefer Yarn Company, with all this inside knowledge of the yarn industry what direction do you see fiber arts heading in the next five years?
I do see a big trend towards more yarns that are sourced/milled/designed and produced in their own countries. Right now most fibers come from one country, they are processed in another country, then shipped to another country to be milled, possibly even dyed somewhere else, and then shipped to the manufacturer who finishes the packaging and transports them onto their final destination. That’s a lot of traveling for a skein of yarn!
The end user (i.e. the knitter) is also a much more educated consumer than they were 5 years ago. The comfort level in substituting yarns, exploring different fiber contents, and the understanding of how colors and dye techniques are going to affect their final garment has exploded. Manufacturers are challenged to continue to develop BOTH fibers and techniques that will inspire knitters to continue to stretch themselves. This is not an industry that allows you to ride on your laurels… constant research and development is a must! (and the best part, IMHO… I absolutely LOVE working on the NEW!)
Laura thank you so much for taking the time to talk to with us, it was a pleasure getting to know you.
From pullovers to beaded shawls and everything in between, please visit my site to see Laura's entire collection.
And now for the Beaded Cuff Kit Giveaway, it includes the pattern, emailed to the winner as a PDF, and enough beads and Schaefer Andrea yarn to complete the project. The winner will be announced on Tuesday February 2, 2011.
Enter this Giveaway:
The more ways you enter, the more chances you have to win and make sure to leave a comment telling exactly what you did to enter. And please make sure to include your contact information.
1. Leave a comment about your favorite Nelkin Designs' pattern, under this blogpost.
2. Blog about this Giveaway on your blog and link it, leave a comment under this blogpost with the link back to your blogpost.
3. Join my Ravelry group Sandrasingh.com and introduce yourself in the "Welcome Tell us About Yourself..." thread.
4. Announce this Giveaway in your Ravelry group or in another Ravelry group that allows you to announce Blog Giveaways.
5. Friend me on Facebook: Sandra Singh and say you "Like" my post about this Giveaway.
6. Announce this Giveaway (with the link) on Facebook
7. Follow me on Twitter: Sandrasingh
8. Announce this Giveaway (with the link) on Twitter.
9. Sign up for my Newsletter on my Home Page.
10. Sign up to "Follow my Blog."