Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019 Interview with Kate Vanover
Hi Loraine! I’m mostly a technical editor for knitwear designers, but I do try to take the time to write up my own designs. Editing has kept me more busy than I’d sometimes like, so my output is slowe but I’m working on a few things to try to release before the new year!
How did you get into knitting/crochet and who taught you?
I started knitting when my son was an infant. I had just moved to a cooler climate and the idea of making warm things for my family was very appealing. I happened to see a “learn to knit” kit in a pharmacy, of all places, and though this was a good place to start. It was very basic, which is exactly what I needed. Fortunately, the internet was already teeming with other people who wanted to TEACH and I was able to learn everything I needed. I discovered Knitty magazine eventually, and shortly after that, Ravelry was taking requests to be added to their site, and the rest is history!
What made you want to start designing?
When I finally realized that I knew what I was doing and had started correcting other people’s patterns, my sweet friend Nina Machlin Dayton encouraged me to hang out my “Tech Editor” shingle… and not long after that I realized I had my own ideas and could do a fair job of writing up my processes and ideas as well!
What’s you favourite part of the design process?
Organizing my thoughts. Really! It’s that first moment of sitting down to take all my hand-written notes and sketches and start typing it all up into a more formal “conversation”. That, and the first notion of an idea, that little glimmer of a vision, are my favorite bits.
What inspires you?
Working with my hands. I get more creative thinking about things I’m NOT working on when I am working on something else! Recently I was knitting a sweater for my son and thought of a great little holiday idea. So naturally I dropped everything and started working on that prototype…
Are you a full-time or part-time designer and how does that fit into your life?
Definitely part-time. I can’t always have the quiet/focus that I really need in order for my process to be clear. I noticed that if I try to write out my notes while the TV or a book is on, I mess it up entirely! I definitely have to carve-out time to work properly, and so part-time it is.
Do you have a favourite thing to design and why?
I really like making practical things, items that will be USED and loved… and I am obsessed with bags, so that’s where I usually find all my best ideas.
Do you have much time to make things for yourself or for gifting?
Most of the knitting I do is for gifts, but I do make things for myself! I love making a nice wrap to show off at the symphony!
If someone knitted or crocheted a gift item for you, what would you love the most?
I would just love the idea that someone thought enough of me to want to make me a gift. To me that shows an esteem and care that is very touching.
Do you have a favourite yarn and why?
I am a gadfly when it comes to yarns and can never seem to settle on an absolute-favorite. I love Malabrigo’s yarns sentimentally, because their products are what made me want to work with wool more. And I’ve made so many dear friends because of a common interest in the company.
What’s your favourite of your own designs and what do you love about it?
You’re making me choose from my babies!
Honestly, my favorite always seems to be the latest one. Or one where I felt like I solved a technical puzzle. Right now, I adore my Spiney hats which are a dinosaur/beastie inspired stocking hat. I only recently released it and hope to see many of those in the wild someday! I’m very proud of the rippling spines that make a ridge, it makes me happy that I was able to make the picture in my head come to reality!
I’m very fond of my bangle bags. I loved the idea of being able to make your jewelry (the bangles) do some work for you (like holding your smart phone). I was proud of being able to knit the bag onto the bangle, rather than having to sew it on. I’m a big fan of doing things in fewer steps and with less-fuss.
I also love my plastic-produce-bag replacers: “N.M.P.B.” I had a ball coming up with all of the mesh patterns and the different closures, but even more than that, I use my samples at the market all the time and am very proud of how well they work.
Is there anything new you can tell us about or a recent design you’d like to chat about?
I already mentioned Spiney, but I made a mate to it that I call Spikey. It’s a basic beanie hat where you knit waste-yarn in spots and then afterward you take out the waste yarn and replace it with a spike! There are a lot of spikes on the hat but it’s so fun and you can go wild with colors!
I am currently working on a brioche neckwarmer inspired by kelp forests, look for that one to come very soon!
What’s your favourite colour?
I love blue-greens
Have you been a participating designer in the Indie Gift Along before and what do you love most about it?
I was in a couple of years ago and had to take a break for a season or two because I knew I couldn’t put in the time I needed to participate. I love the enthusiasm surrounding the event, and of course the moderator team is amazing…
Which Gift Along 2019 designers inspire you and why?
They ALL inspire me! I appreciate everyone’s individual “eye” and how well they create appealing patterns that anyone can make.
How do people get in touch with you or see more of your work?
Ravelry pattern store: Kate Vanover Designs
Quick links to our shop
Austermann Yarns, Baby Yarns, Debbie Bliss Yarns, Lanas Stop Yarns, Araucania Yarns, Schoeller & Stahl Yarns, Felting Yarns, Noro Yarns, DK Yarns, 4ply Yarns, Aran Yarns, Fur Yarns, James C Brett Yarns, Lion Brand Yarns