Okay, on to the fun stuff! I thought it would be super fun to do a little series of interviews with other knitwear designers I admire. So hopefully you're going to get to know some new faces and be inspired by their work, too!
First up is Julie Crawford. I first got to know Julie through the Designer's Group on Ravelry, which I help moderate. When her fabulous lace tank, Make Up Your Mind, came out in Knitty Summer 2011, I knew this was a girl who was going places. Sure enough, her design was one of the most popular from the issue, with over 250 projects in just five short months since its release. This design is definitely on my must-knit short list, and luckily for me I just happen to have a few skeins of the exact yarn the pattern calls for!
I think that this fabulous racerback is a really versatile piece. Even though it's a lace tank, I think it could easily be worn right into the cooler months of fall with a few simple layering tricks, so I decided to style it up using my trusty friend, Polyvore! Here's my take:
Make Up Your Mind by Julie Crawford of knittedbliss.com
Styled for fall by The Sexy Knitter
Julie was gracious enough to give me a little mini-interview, so read on for a glimpse into her mind:
TSK: So, Julie. What got you started designing?
JC: I was really reluctant, actually. There already seemed to be so many amazing new designs coming out all the time, and so many great designers; I didn't feel that there was anything really missing from the offerings. My Ravelry queue was often over 100 items, so there were certainly lots of existing patterns I was interested in knitting. But then Tanis (of Tanis Fiber Arts) had contacted me about doing a design in her yarn, even though I had never designed anything. She liked my style, and was confident that it would translate into good designs. I'm not sure when I would have gotten around to designing if it hadn't been for that push in the right direction - Sometimes all it takes is someone else to believe that you can do it.
TSK: I love your style, too! I for one am super glad that Tanis stepped up to the plate and encouraged you. You are clearly gifted at this, so I'm excited you've entered (or should I say, been unceremoniously shoved into?) the world of knitwear design. Hopefully we're going to be seeing a lot more from you in the near future. What's up next for you, design-wise?
JC: I'm working on lots of things!! Once I started designing, it was like I'd wake up almost every day with a new pattern idea. I can't knit fast enough to keep up with the ideas that are swimming around in my head. I'm trying to work as fast as I can, but I have a day job as well, so that really cuts into my knitting and designing time. I'm aiming to put out about one new design a month, which is kind of a lot considering that a year ago, I had no design ambitions at all. Now, it's all I want to do! I try to knit seasonally appropriate things, but that can be challenging since I'd also like to publish more, and the lead times for submissions are often months out of season from the garments themselves.
Not only is Julie super talented, she's also a knockout! Here she is modeling some of her own designs.
TSK: I totally understand that! It always feels kind of strange to be knitting a worsted-weight, woolen sweater in the middle of summer. Don't forget about self-publishing, though! With the huge success of your first Knitty pattern, I think you would do well in that arena. Side note: Julie let me know that next month she's going to be releasing a fabulous new, FREE pattern. You can get a sneak-peek at her design, here. Okay, last question. Who would you say was the one knitter who has been most inspirational to you?
JC: I'm extremely hard pressed to pick just one, but I think that it would have to be Eunny Jang. Way back in pre-ravelry days, long before she was the editor of Interweave Knits, she had a blog and I read every single post. It was such a totally inspirational blog for me, for both my knitting and blogging of course, but also about what it meant to see the world as a knitter. She made modifications. She made up patterns, and her FOs were things I could see myself wearing. That's what I want from my knitting, and my own designs- not just something to knit, but something that I love to wear when I'm finished knitting it.
TSK: Yes! You and I share the same design motto. :) Also, Eunny is a serious badass, so that qualifies as an awesome answer in my book. She's also super nice! I got to chat with her at TNNA this year and she is a total sweetheart.
That wraps up our inaugural interview! If you want to follow up on Julie's design career, you can check out her blog at www.knittedbliss.com (definitely worth stopping by on a Monday), or find her on Ravelry and Twitter as knittedblissjc.