Friday, October 12, 2012
Guest Post: author and knitwear designer Rohn Strong
How/why did you start to write?
I began writing when I was young, I think a writer writes, that is just what we do.
How did you become an author?
I just did, i wrote and wrote and wrote. Then once I began combining knitting and writing they fit together like a glove!
What was your first published piece?
It was on a place mat during Elementary school, I was so proud of that poem!
What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?
Everything, however working in a Grocery Store always proved to be a safe haven. Yes, it was a huge asset! It taught me to work hard for my dreams!
Please share one of your successful marketing techniques
Market yourself like crazy and never underestimate the power of good branding!
Who taught you to knit?
I was first taught to knit by a Scandinavian woman at my LYS! (local yarn shop)
What knitting method do you us? Continental or English?
Both, I learned continental but prefer English.
What is your favourite stitch pattern?
Garter...yes I know pretty lame. However the beauty of garter is endless. I just love it.
When did you become a knitwear designer?
I'm not sure, I think I always have been. I've worked professionally in this business for two years but I am just now getting to the point where I feel okay to call myself a "Knitwear Designer"' I honestly think people throw the term 'designer' way too much. Designers are those who work tirelessly for their art. It's like a home baker calling themselves a Chef. There is a big difference!
I love knitting and crochet. I also think we are all called to a certain destiny. This happens to be mine.
WORK!! Lots of work! I average about 100 hours a week. I wake at seven and work until bedtime. That's the only way to make it in this business. You have to be willing to put in the time.
Tell me about your first pattern?
My first pattern was a three layered crochet cowl in maroon, blue, and silver. I designed it free form and wrote up the pattern but quickly threw it away.
Where was it published?
No where, thank God! I love the look but hated the pattern. However, A photo of it was recently published in InsideCrochet Magazine.
Are you a member of a knitwear design association? Why or why not?
No. I'm not sure why or why not. I think I eventually will be, however to be a success I don't think it is necessary.
Do you attend fibre festivals? Why or why not?
I do! I'll be attending more once the book is officially launched on October 20th and I'm pretty excited.
What inspires your designs?
Simplicity, color, and texture.
What is the most rewarding aspect about being a knitwear designer? What is the most challenging?
hmmmm...Well that feeling of accomplishment. Also I think it's rare in this modern day that we, as a society, are able to rely on work we actually create with our own two hands. I'm blessed to be able to do that.
The challenging part is definitely having a family, dating, having a pet, anything. When your trying to run a business, everything else seems to come secondary whether you want it to or not. Finding balance is nearly impossible.
Please share knitting/design advice.
Well there are three tips I like to give every designer:
1. Keep it simple. Quit clogging up designs. When you think you have just enough cables, take a few out.
2. Strive to be perfect. No matter what, a pursuit of perfection is the key to life.
3. Design specifically. Know who your designing for and do it. If he happens to be a man with a 32" chest...do not knit a 36" sweater. No one likes to look frumpy. Knit specifically.
What are you currently working on?
My next book! I am a Modern Shaker and with that I feel a need to talk of our History and the knitting fellow sisters and brothers have done for the past 200 years. Most on knitting pins 000 and smaller!
The first fully detailed, full-color, knitting book chronicling the history of American knitting from the beginning of 1914 to 1945, The Heritage Collection: WWI and WWII conveys the social, military, and personal realities that knitting embodied at the hands of war time knitters. Included in this book are 20 updated and redesigned knitting projects from Kitchener’s Socks to the Victory Jumper. With historical photographs, posters, patterns, and personal memories, The Heritage Collection WWI and WWII encapsulates a deeply woven history of war time knitting.