Tag Archives: knitting

Interview with Pam Hoffman from Indian Lake Artisans

I’m really excited to share an interview today with Pam Hoffman from Indian Lake Artisans. I had the pleasure of meeting Pam at Vogue Knitting Live in 2013, and then again in 2014. Pam and her husband, Mark, make these amazing hexagonal knitting needles (and other knitting and crochet accessories) using locally sourced materials. If you are at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend (also known as “Rhinebeck”), please check out their booth!

Pam and Mark also generously sponsored my 2014 Sampler Mystery Knit-a-Long by providing a set of hexagonal knitting needles to the winner of our August giveaway. (If you want to join in on the MKAL, you can buy the pattern here on Ravelry and chat in the Underground Crafter group here. There are more fun prizes to come in October, November, and December!)

You can find Indian Lake Artisans online on their website, Facebook page, and Twitter. Product photos are copyright Indian Lake Artisans and used with permission.

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Interview with Pam from Indian Lake Artisans on Underground Crafter blog

Pam at Vogue Knitting Live in 2013. I loved the booth as soon as I saw it!

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you start Indian Lake Artisans?

Pam: We live in a little log cabin, on a little island, on a little lake, in southeastern Michigan, north of Detroit named Indian Lake. Mark and I have always loved the outdoors and find much inspiration in our life from nature. We love arts and crafts so when we began making knitting needles we wanted a name that would grow with the company and encompass multiple art forms and artisans, thus Indian Lake Artisans was born. We launched the company in May 2010 with 9 products and we now make over 200 items. We make single point, double point and circular knitting needles. We have shawl pins, cable needles, stitch markers and our very own unique hexagonal wooden yarn bowls.

Interview with Pam from Indian Lake Artisans on Underground Crafter blog

Straight hexagonal knitting needles by Indian Lake Artisans.

UC: What inspired you to create your signature line of hexagonal knitting needles?

Pam: I was shopping for a Christmas present at my local yarn shop and I wanted to buy some knitting needles, yarn and a book for my daughter who was in her mid twenties and a beginning knitter.

The expert knitter at the shop thought square needles would be a good idea for her. She took a set down and began casting on to show me how easy it is to knit with the square needles. She was all thumbs and really struggling, and she was the expert. It sure didn’t look easy to me!

I declined on the square needles and bought a traditional pair instead but I couldn’t stop thinking about different shapes that might be beneficial for knitters. Back in my Jeep and driving to pick up my son, I came to a stop sign. Octagonal? No, too many flat sides. I had a Dixon Ticonderoga pencil on my dash board and that triggered my brain. Hexagonal! Easy to hold, round in nature. Returned home, grabbed my pencils and yarn, and began knitting. This felt really great.

The hexagonal shape is easy to hold. You do not have to grip the needles tightly to control them. The hexagonal shape is round in nature and creates beautiful stitches with uniform tension, and your stitch gauge stays true to size. If you think about the hexagonal shape, the yarn stretches from point to point around the hexagon. The flat side is slightly under the yarn and this creates a tiny gap or ease in the yarn. This makes it very easy for you to slide your knitting needle under your stitch, making it very easy to knit and purl. You never have to force anything.

The minute you have to force your knitting needles, you need to grip them tighter and that action tenses everything…hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, back and brain. When you are holding our needles in one hand, they rest comfortably flat side to flat side. You don’t have to try to control two round objects that want to spin against each other. The hexagonal shape makes knitting multiple stitches together, or knitting into the front and back of a stitch, so much easier because you have just a little extra wiggle room to work your stitches. The needles are recyclable and non toxic. Allergy sufferers really love our needles as they are nickel free. We hear from our customers all of the time how our needles have changed their lives. They are able to knit again and their hands no longer ache. Our needles are very ergonomic.

Indian Lake Artisans single point knitting needles are available in US size 6 through size 15. Each single point size has a decorative copper topper unique to that particular size. I designed all of the tops and they are made with a very lightweight and recyclable plastic that is copper plated. The toppers from small to large are as follows; feather, owl, fish, rowboat, arrowhead, lantern, acorn, turtle, and cabin.

The double points are available in size 2 through size 15. The DPN’s are wonderful as they provide control for your hands and your stitches. No need to worry about your stitches dancing off the needles while resting on the table.

The circular needles are available in size 3 through 15. We make standard lengths 16″, 24″, 32″ and 40″. We are also able to make custom lengths. We have made 12″ and 60″ length circulars for customers and everything in between. We love customizing needles for a particular project need. The circular needles swivel on the connector and this relieves twisting of the cord as the needles move with you.

Hexagonal knitting needles make happy knitting!

Interview with Pam from Indian Lake Artisans on Underground Crafter blog

Hexagonal circular knitting needles by Indian Lake Artisans.

UC: Tell us more about your commitment to using locally sourced materials.

Pam: On receiving the first patent, we had to figure out how to make the needles. What an adventure it has been! Michigan had not rebounded from the recession of the early 2000s and was devastated by the financial crash of 2008. I wanted to utilize every Michigan company I could to produce the needles. If we couldn’t find a Michigan source, it would have to be a USA company. I was determined to avoid overseas, outsourced, cheap labor and components.

We are extremely proud to say that we have succeeded in our “Michigan made” mission. We use more than ten Michigan companies that help employ roughly 500 people to produce our needles. The individual decorative tops for the single points are made in Grandville, MI along with the tooling for these tops. They are copper plated in Warren, MI. The wood we use is from sustainable forests in the Great Lakes and a mill in Highland prepares the native wood, walnut, cherry, and maple, for Mark. The two custom made machines Mark uses to cut the needles were made in Ann Arbor and Lapeer. The cutting blades for the machines are made in Flint. The US stainless steel connector parts for the circular needles are made in Saint Clair. The packaging is made in Rochester and is die cut in Dexter. The brands to mark the needle sizes and our logo for the beautiful yarn bowls were made in Madison Heights. The 100% natural beeswax we use to finish the needles comes from Benzonia. We use local patent attorneys, lawyers and accountants.

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And there is us, me and Mark, our labor force of two. Yes, indeed, the needles are handcrafted by us, every single one, hand cut, hand sanded, and hand polished. The needles are beautiful! We both try very, very hard to make the best quality knitting needle available in the marketplace today and we think we have succeeded in this mission. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you are knitting with a locally sourced, locally handcrafted product, helping to provide economic support to your local community.

Interview with Pam from Indian Lake Artisans on Underground Crafter blog

Shawl pins by Indian Lake Artisans.

UC: You travel to a lot of fiber festivals to showcase the Indian Lake Artisans products. (In fact, I met you at Vogue Knitting Live in 2013.) What are some of your favorite memories from the fiber festivals you’ve visited?

Pam: We have been participating at fiber festivals for roughly two years and we absolutely love it. Mark and I love adventure and travel and we enjoy meeting people everywhere we go. Having a booth at a fiber show allows us to meet our fellow fiber enthusiasts and tell them all about our wonderful knitting needles. We always have a few different sets with some yarn for knitters to test drive the knitting needles and experience the hexagonal shape. We just have the best time and it is always fun to see a beautifully finished project the following year from a satisfied customer.

We have exhibited at  the Vogue Knitting LIVE events, STITCHES, and many local fiber festivals. We have a lot of fun at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY and will be there again this October. We are busy right now preparing for the Michigan Fiber Festival held in Allegan, MI (UC comment: This event was held on August 15 – 17, 2014). We hope to exhibit at more festivals in the future and see more of our great country. We really like driving to our shows to help keep the travel costs down. Plus driving allows us to take more products along too. We met Marie at VKLive in New York last year.

Interview with Pam from Indian Lake Artisans on Underground Crafter blog

Hexagonal yarn bowls by Indian Lake Artisans.

UC: If people aren’t able to meet you at a local fiber festival, where else can they buy your needles?

Pam: We of course sell the needles and accessories at the fiber festivals we attend. Our complete product line is available on our Indian Lake Artisans website marketplace. We are lucky to have about 75 retailers across the country that carry our needles and that list of retailers is on our website. We are constantly surprised by the number of people who have never heard about our fantastic knitting needles and we are always looking for opportunities to reach more people. So please spread the word to your favorite local shop owners and friends.

Interview with Pam from Indian Lake Artisans on Underground Crafter blog

Stitch markers by Indian Lake Artisans.

UC: Do you and Mark knit?

Pam: I learned to knit as a teenager and  almost finished a sweater but really took up knitting with interest in 2003. Mark just learned to knit last year and was only using size 10 needles to make his first scarves and hats that sent him on his knitting adventure. He challenged himself recently though, and picked up some size 6 double points to knit a pair of fingerless gloves with flaps. The fingerless gloves are a very complicated pattern for a new knitter and pose additional challenges with a first attempt using double points. You can see photos of Mark’s gloves in progress on the Indian Lake Artisans Facebook page. I think you will agree that Mark is doing a great job!! I firmly believe the hexagonal shape facilitates learning to knit and purl, and control of the knitting needles. Mark’s very first scarf was even and straight. For a first project I attribute his success to our hexagonal needles as his stitches were well formed and very nice. Successful beginnings lead to a life long hobby.

UC: What’s next for Indian Lake Artisans?

Pam: We are in the process of developing interchangeable circular needles and designer needle cases. We plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding for the project. This is a very exciting undertaking for Mark and me. We will be sure to announce the Kickstarter on Facebook and Twitter so friends can help us reach our goal.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Pam! We look forward to seeing those interchangeables on the market, so let us know when the Kickstarter launches! 

Interview with Susana from Creaciones Susana (Hispanic Heritage Month series)

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

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) blogFacebook, FlickrPinterest, 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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Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Susana from Creaciones Susana.

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.)

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Wishes Shawlette, a knitting pattern available in Spanish.

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.

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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.

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Whisper Shawl, a knit pattern available in English and Spanish.

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.

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Cuello Hojas de Primavera, a knit pattern in Spanish.

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.

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Blue Deep Shawl knitting pattern.

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:

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Chaqueta Carmencita, a knit pattern available in Spanish.

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:

Spanish:

English:

Dover Books

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!

Interview with Sol Maldonado (Hispanic Heritage Month series)

Interview with Argentine designer, Sol Maldonado, on Underground Crafter blog

Today I’m interviewing Argentine multi-craftual designer, Sol Maldonado. Sol creates crochet and knitting patterns as well as sewing patterns and tutorials. Sol can be found on her website, Craftsy (in the bySol and Soles shops), Etsy (in bySol, her crochet & knitting pattern shop, and in Soles, her fabric doll/flower/toy/pattern/tutorial shop) , Facebook, Pinterest, and Ravelry (as soles and on her designer page). All images are copyright Sol Maldonado and are used with permission. Click the design images to be brought to the Ravelry pattern pages.

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Interview with Argentine designer, Sol Maldonado, on Underground Crafter blog

Floral Yummy 3d Flower Granny Square, crochet pattern by Sol Maldonado.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet and knit?
Sol: My mother, grandmother and aunts used to knit and crochet after lunch on Sunday visits during my childhood, so I learned with them.

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UC: What inspired you to start designing?
Sol: I started designing my own sweaters because I never liked what was available in shops!
In Argentina there were not many options, designs or colors in the past… but from long ago we have wonderful yarns, so I thought that making my own stuff would be easier and better.

Interview with Argentine designer, Sol Maldonado, on Underground Crafter blog

Cape Geometric Neckwarmer, knitting pattern by Sol Maldonado.

UC: You’re multi-craftual. Do you have a favorite craft or does that depend on the project or season?
Sol: I love them all, but yeah depends on climate a lot!!
These days, it’s so cold now here, I prefer to knit and crochet warm pieces, and as the summer trends start to pop up in magazines and all around, I start planning next summer projects.

UC: You’ve had over 4,000 sales in your Etsy shop. Wow! What tips do you have for new Etsy sellers?
Sol: Sell what you love most and this will guarantee your success.

My pleasure is to make new things always, so my job is to plan-make-publish and design something new again. Because of this, I’m always excited about what I’m doing…if you get bothered about your daily work it will be a loss of energy.

Be aware of what you are best in and go for it!

Interview with Argentine designer, Sol Maldonado, on Underground Crafter blog

Tribe Tapestry Granny Square, crochet pattern by Sol Maldonado.

UC: Tell us about your cultural background. What was the yarn crafts scene like in Argentina when you were growing up? How does that compare with the current scene?
Sol: In Argentina the yarn scene is high quality since forever….lots of products, colors and textures, and not very expensive.

Here winter is very cold, and knit and crochet are popular practices, like traditional craft.

Interview with Argentine designer, Sol Maldonado, on Underground Crafter blog

Bubble Zoe Purse, crochet pattern by Sol Maldonado.

UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?
Sol: Yeah, it influences a lot! As a third world country there are not enough tools or books available ever!!! So, to make something you will have to figure out and work on it with the basic tools, minimize resources as much as possible because tools here are very expensive!

Interview with Argentine designer, Sol Maldonado, on Underground Crafter blog

Clamshell and Pinwheel Geometric Pillows, knitting pattern by Sol Maldonado.

UC: What are your favorite knitting and crochet books in your collection?
Sol: I do not have any collection, since I search for instructions online.

UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crafty websites/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community?
Sol: I’m totally in love with Pinterest, regular people pinning and building trends is the most exciting thing ever to happen in design!

I find inspiration and delight with wonderful photos and trends.

I think that image is everything, Spanish or English – with Google translate tool, it doesn’t matter anymore, and frankly I don’t have much time to read any post, I look only at photos!

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your patterns with us, Sol!

Interview with Rosalia Fauste (Hispanic Heritage Month series)

HHM Rosalia Fauste

I’m continuing my Hispanic Heritage Month series today with an interview with Spanish knitting and crochet designer and blogger, Rosalia Fauste. Rosalia can be found online on her blog, El mon de Rosalia, on Ravelry (as rosalias and on her Ravelry designer page), and on Facebook. All pictures are copyright Rosalia Fauste and are used with permission.

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Interview with crochet/knitting designer Rosalia Fauste on Underground Crafter blog

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet and knit?

Rosalia: When I was a little girl, less than 10 years old, I saw many women in front the doors of their houses knitting or crocheting. I usually stopped to see why her hands moved so fast and that was the way I became familiar with that skill. Later, being a complete teenager, I got my own needles and wool and asked the ladies who came to my parent’s store for teach me to knit. Then, I learned the basics. As a young lady, I was self-taught through knitting and crochet publications.

Interview with crochet/knitting designer Rosalia Fauste on Underground Crafter blog

Camino de Santiago.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Rosalia: I did some work for Phildar in my university years. Maybe my first creation was a cardigan for babies. I always liked to invent, creating new clothes from old clothes. My first conscious moment for design was through the shawls. I made some but I didn’t write the patterns (Camino de Santiago and Transatlàntico). Later, I considered writing to share them with others. I am right now a humble apprentice designer. I have translated some patterns to Spanish.

Interview with crochet/knitting designer Rosalia Fauste on Underground Crafter blog

On the Road, knit shawl pattern. (Click image to link to pattern.)

UC: You have quite a few shawl designs. What do you enjoy about shawl projects?

Rosalia: I like shawls that combine many techniques and stitches. They are easy to be born soon and are accessories that are always “must have.” I like the challenge posed by mathematical combinations of the stitches turning into beautiful designs.

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Right now, I’m designing a new one whose original idea came a year ago. I am inspired by Estonian stitches and lace. I will also be starting two cowl tests. I work full time, so my dedication to design is limited.

Interview with crochet/knitting designer Rosalia Fauste on Underground Crafter blog

Calendulas, a knit shawl pattern. (Click image to link to pattern page.)

UC: Your patterns are available in three different languages (English, French, or Spanish). What are the challenges and benefits of offering patterns in different languages?

Rosalia: I like to offer my designs in different languages ​​in order to reach maximum number of knitters’ or crocheters’ hands possible. Is more work but for now, but that does not matter.

UC: Tell us about your cultural background. What was the yarn crafts scene like where you were growing up? 

Rosalia: I was born in a Castilian village and went off to University at 18. I live in Catalunya near Barcelona. I’ve always been surrounded by people who have enjoyed crafts – sewing, knitting and crocheting, and embroidering as well. I have always enjoyed learning new things.

Interview with crochet/knitting designer Rosalia Fauste on Underground Crafter blog

UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crafty websites/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Rosalia: When I discovered Ravelry, I extended my knowledge extraordinarily by learning how other knitters solve their projects or manage their works. I found many people with whom I have shared good moments, and that leaves a pleasant experience. It has also helped me share my designs.

Interview with crochet/knitting designer Rosalia Fauste on Underground Crafter blog

UC: Where do you find your inspiration? How do you name your designs?

Rosalia: I love many fashion designers and though they all inspire me, I have a few more favorites than others. Anonymous knitters also drive my imagination with their ideas. I am inspired by the old and the new. Also art, painting, nature, and the many colors and shapes that are everywhere. I need to invent pattern and project names that evoke something.

Shop Indie PatternsThanks for sharing your creativity with us, Rosalia!

 

Interview with Joji Locatelli (Hispanic Heritage Month)

HHm Joji Locatelli

Today, I’m continuing my Hispanic Heritage Month series with an interview with Argentine knitting designer, Joji Locatelli. Joji can be found online on Ravelry (as jojilocat, in the Designs by Joji group, and on her designer page), on the Joji Knits blog, on her Facebook page, and on Instagram. All images are copyright Joji Locatelli and are used with permission. Click on the photo to link to the pattern on Ravelry.

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Interview with knitting designer Joji Locatelli on Underground Crafter blog

Joji Locatelli.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to knit?

Joji: My mom taught me the basics when I was a teenager, but I didn’t really learnt to make anything other than a garter stitch scarf until I was in my 20s.  I had just finished University and found myself with a lot of free time and internet… And well, I found lots of knitting blogs and patterns.  I taught myself the rest by “guessing” what knit and purl meant.

Interview with knitting designer Joji Locatelli on Underground Crafter blog

Japan Sleeves, a knit pullover pattern.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Joji: In Argentina, most knitters don’t follow patterns, or at least we didn’t.  When I learnt to knit, we didn’t have access to pattern books or even special yarns, so we always make the best we can with what we have on hand.  Most of the times, we would see a garment that we liked on a store and tried to recreate it. We usually wouldn’t mind if the gauge/texture or color was absolutely different, and that left place for creativity and improvisation.

That’s the way I approached all the patterns when I finally found Ravelry.  And one day, I received this very special yarn (it was Malabrigo Worsted), and it was the very first time I had in my hands one of “those” yarns I saw on the internet, you know?  I knew I wanted to make something special out of it, but I just couldn’t find a pattern that I really liked.  I had a store bought sweater that I loved and said ‘why not?  This has to work!’

So I started knitting my own interpretation of that sweater, using a very unusual construction and wondering whether it would turn out to be a wearable garment.  Other knitters seemed to be really interested in my process of posting photos and asked if I was planning to write this up.  I said ‘No!  no… I am not a designer!’  And then I said ‘Why not?’

So there, that’s when my first pattern was born :).

Interview with knitting designer Joji Locatelli on Underground Crafter blog

Looking Back, a knit cardigan pattern (with buttons in back).

UC: You primarily design garments and women’s accessories. What do you enjoy about these types of projects?

Joji: Well, it’s much easier for me to think of designing things that I can actually wear… and also I have an audience that pays much more attention to those kinds of projects, so it’s easy to be biased and always go in that direction.

Interview with knitting designer Joji Locatelli on Underground Crafter blog

Opposite Pole, a knit cardigan pattern.

UC: Most of your current designs are self-published. What do you see as the challenges and advantages of self-publishing?

Joji: I don’t see any challenges in self-publishing your designs, unless you start designing expecting to make certain money out of what you get out there.  Self-publishing can be very exciting, and a pattern can be a total success without you having to share it with anyone, or can be a total failure, and then you’ve worked for nothing.

When I started designing I was working full time somewhere else, so I didn’t have to worry about making money or not from my designs.  And I felt that self-publishing allowed me to handle my time frames (and the rights to my patterns!) the way I liked.

When you publish with companies or publishers, you have to adjust your times to their deadlines, and also your style… which might make one a little nervous! But then you get the support from this company, which will probably do their best to get the word out there about you working with them, they will probably do a lot of work with photos and layout, which is also great!  Plus, it’s not nice to work always on your own… Sometimes it’s nice to play with others too :).

Interview with knitting designer Joji Locatelli on Underground Crafter blog

Boxy and Buttony, a knit pullover pattern.

UC: You have a large group on Ravelry with over 4,000 members. What tips do you have for designers who are nervous about starting a Ravelry group?

Joji: Yeah, the group getting that big… that’s a total surprise!

I don’t think there’s anything to be nervous about!  A Ravelry group is not a commitment to do anything.  It’s just a way to communicate with people who are interested in what you do, and there are no rules about what you need to do there.  Like all groups, mine started with just 3 members (me and 2 moderators) and was really small for a very long time! I think it was just as great back then as it is now… and I just treat it as any other social media.  Knitters really like to hang out on Ravelry, so if you give them a space to share what they like and chat a little bit, they will enjoy it.

Interview with knitting designer Joji Locatelli on Underground Crafter blog

Ohlala, a knit cardigan pattern.

UC: What was the yarn crafts scene like when you were growing up in Argentina? How does that compare with the current scene in Buenos Aires?

I described in a previous question how the knitting scene was like when I learnt to knit.  It still hasn’t changed much.  Some knitters have started to use Ravelry and learnt to read instructions in English, but this is still a rather small group within a country where A LOT of women knit.

I used to work at a yarn store until recently, so I kept in touch with what knitters here liked, and what the supply and demand of products was…

Argentine knitters tend to like quick projects and heavy weight yarns, even though we barely have a couple of weeks of winter.  They still improvise most of their projects, some follow patterns but barely, none of them are scared of adjusting gauge or even the style of the garments, and they all knit with straight needles just like me!

Interview with knitting designer Joji Locatelli on Underground Crafter blog

Rocio, a knit cardigan pattern (with top buttons in the front).

UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?

It probably does, but I can’t precise in which way.  I learnt to knit from a non-Argentine community, so I think most of the techniques and styles I used do not resemble my cultural background… but I think there is a little something in everything I make that has a little bit of my origins there.

Interview with knitting designer Joji Locatelli on Underground Crafter blog

Astrid, a knit scarf/shawl pattern.

UC: What are your favorite knitting books in your collection?

I don’t own many books!  Mailing things to Argentina is quite hard, and we cannot buy imported pattern books here, so I only have a couple.  I did enjoy and learn a lot from all Elizabeth Zimmermann’s.

UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crafty websites/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Not really...  Most of the things I read nowadays are in English…

Thank you, Joji, for sharing your thoughts with us!