The Indie Design Gift-A-Long on Ravelry has been off to a wonderful start! In addition to viewing (and buying!) beautiful patterns created by hundreds of talented designers, it has been a great opportunity to engage with the community of knitters/ crocheters and designers. I had the chance to speak with Rebecca Hill (MissBecca on Ravelry), a very prolific designer, about her knitting and design process.
Ashwini: What prompted you to start designing?
Rebecca: I’ve always had a strong desire to create. And for a while, knitting other peoples patterns fulfilled that desire. I was creating these great handmade items, and people loved them. But I always kind of felt that knitting others’ patterns wasn’t enough. So I started to experiment with very basic shapes and ideas, such as the rectangles that Mad Faced Mikey and Tattooed Tommy are based on. And as time went on I continued to challenge myself to create more interesting and beautiful things.
Ashwini: You have a very eclectic catalogue- everything from lace, cables, and colorwork to different types of items like scarves, cowls, mitts, hats, and even toys! Do you have a favorite type of item to design?
Rebecca: My favorite type of item to design would be shawls. There is so much diversity, and so many different ways that you could go when designing a shawl. You could implement lace, or cables; it could be triangular, rectangular or really anything. And there are so many different designers out there challenging the traditional shawl design that it is always so interesting to see new ideas come out.
Ashwini: Which of your patterns did you find the most challenging to design?
Rebecca: I would say that Sequoia was my most challenging design to date. I was very inspired by the incredibly beautiful lace shawls designed by Anne Hanson, and I had recently finished knitting her Aria Delicato pattern when I designed Sequoia. I had taken a variety of lace patterns and implemented them into this shawl pattern. Releasing Sequoia, to me, was very personal and it was sort of like my announcement to the knitting world that I was a “serious” designer now.
Ashwini: Have you encountered any surprises in your design career?
Rebecca: I think the biggest surprise to me is that I have been so successful in my design career. And I don’t measure my success in the amount of pattern sales or projects posted to Ravelry- I consider my success to be my deep satisfaction as a designer and the fact that I have a fan base who continue to support my designing. That blows my mind- people LIKE my designs.
Ashwini: You’ve had many collaborations with yarn companies. How did you go about establishing those connections?
Rebecca: I could not be more grateful for every single company that I have had the honor to work with in this business. When I first considered asking for yarn support I was terrified. What if they didn’t like me? What if they said no? So I did my research, and started sending off my yarn support requests. One of the greatest pieces of advice that I will give to anyone who chooses to ask for support is to be sure that you can follow through on your commitments. Also, have a plan, and present your plan to the company. Yarn suppliers, no matter if they are a large company or a small indie dyer have a lot of time and money involved in their yarns, and it’s important to remember that they are putting their faith in you to not only produce a high quality item that showcases their yarn, but also to follow through on your commitment to them.
Ashwini: Do you have a favorite yarn or yarn type? What’s your “workhorse” yarn? And what about your “splurge” yarn?
Rebecca: Oh this is a difficult question! But I will say that you can never really go wrong with Malabrigo. I’m always pleased with their variety of yarns. I will say that my “splurge” yarn would be The Plucky Knitter, though. Her bases are so dreamy and I think that it’s important to support indie dyers whenever possible.
Ashwini: Do you manage to find time to knit from others’ patterns? Do you have any favorites?
Rebecca: I do, actually! With the Gift-a-long going on right now I’m finding so many new patterns that I can’t wait to knit! My favorites are still some of the same designers that inspired me early on- Ysolda, Jane Richmond, and Jared Flood. Julia Trice– her designs are always so classic and gorgeous!
Ashwini: What’s on your needles now?
Rebecca: I have a Gap-tastic cowl currently on my needles! I’ve been meaning to knit one for myself for ages, and I’m excited to finally get around to it. And as soon as I finish it I will begin working on Christmas gifts for my kids.
Ashwini: Have you discovered any new patterns or designers during the GAL?
Rebecca: Yes, absolutely! Of course your own designs, which are so classic and beautiful! Also Shannon Cook, Heidi Hennessy, Clare Devine, and Amy Van de Laar are a few that stick out.
Ashwini: What will we see from you in the upcoming year?
Rebecca: I have SO much new stuff planned! I will be releasing my very first cardigan design next week, and I designing that has really opened up so many new ideas for me. So this definitely won’t be my last sweater design! And as always, I offer an exclusive pattern for free to members of my group on their birthday every year, so that design will be unveiled soon too. I’m super excited for 2015!
I’m looking forward to seeing Rebecca’s upcoming designs! Follow her on Ravelry, or on her website must.knit.faster to see more of her work. A big thank you to Rebecca for sharing her knitting journey with us!