I’m excited to share an interview with emerging Chilean knitting designer, Susana from Creaciones Susana. Susana is also a maker who sells her finished knit projects in her Etsy shop. You can find Susana online on her (Spanish-language) blog, Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, Ravelry (as CreacioneSusana, in the Creaciones Susana group, or on her designer page), and Twitter. All images are copyright Susana and are used with permission. Click on the design images to link to the Ravelry pattern pages.
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Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet and knit?
Susana: Initially, I learned to knit crochet with my grandmother. I was about 7 or 8 years old. I remember I started with a circle in various colors, which she surprising transformed into a small bag. At 13 years old, I started to knit with two needles. My first great work was a sock for my younger brother when he was born, it had a nice yellow color and was too big.
UC: What inspired you to start selling your projects on Etsy?
Susana: I always liked to design clothes. I designed for my sisters and friends when I was young. Esty is a great platform to sell your work, allowing you to reach many countries. Also, I thought they understood the process of handmade creation and crafting, and that encouraged me to participate. When I started Etsy didn’t work in Spanish, and I can proudly say that I was part of the many artisans who urged that great change. (UC comment: You can read about Etsy in Spanish! here.)
UC: What led you to start designing knitting patterns for sale? Do you think you will eventually sell crochet patterns, too?
Susana: I have always knitted my designs. My first pattern for sale I made about two years ago. I concentrated on the shawls, which are my favorites. I try to make easy, simple language, making something different on the design, in general employing the techniques looking for elegant and feminine results. I like to knit seamless, start up or down, with short-rows, shining colors and contrasts.
About crochet designs, I have some patterns, but I need a crochet tool to make the stitch patterns. I hope to sell it very soon.
UC: Some of your patterns are available in both English and Spanish. Why did you decide on a bilingual format and what are some of the challenges and benefits of being a bilingual designer?
Susana: It was interesting this aspect. I started in English because it is a more accessible market. The knitters love to find new designs on the internet. Often they have read and used patterns more than the Latin-Americans knitters. In this moment, I have some bilingual patterns; I hope to have them available next month for sale.
One of the challenges is, the language in the patterns and instructions when I use English. The symbols and names are very different in Spanish. And one of the benefits is, my English patterns have more views and sales.
UC: Tell us about your cultural background. What was the yarn crafts scene like in Chile when you were growing up? How does that compare with the current scene?
Susana: The crafting world started with grandmothers. They trained their daughters and granddaughters. At that time, nobody was thinking about design. In my case, when I was a teenager, I designed and sold informally in a small environment, however, it was exceptional.
Actually, the handmade world is very important and appreciated. It is considered like an ancestral art and interesting commercial activity. There is much exchange between English trends and fashion influences in the general public and lovers of handmade through internet tools.
UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?
Susana: It has influenced me very little. My style is a combination of techniques, several forms and materials for knitting that are very different to the textile scene in Chile.
UC: What are your favorite crochet or knitting books in your collection?
Susana: I do not have favorite books; I used few in my self-education. I have used electronic information, magazines, tips and techniques shared friend knitters. The favorite books that I have are really recent; these are two examples:
- One + One: Scarves, Shawls & Shrugs: 25+ Projects from Just Two Skeins by Iris Schreier.
- Todos los puntos para tejer a mano by Katia.
UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crafty websites/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community?
Susana: I visit daily several pages that I love so much:
UC: What are you working on now?
Susana: In this moment, I’m working on new patterns for the spring and summer season (in the Southern Hemisphere). I’m focused on natural elements, soft color, and new textures for my designs. Also I’m teaching new and expert knitters.
Thank you for stopping by, Susana!