Interview with Christine Guest

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(I love it that I have a guest named “Guest”)

For the Indie Designer Gift A Long designers have been graciously interviewing one another. Christine was kind enough to interview me, so I thought it would be fun to turn her own questions around on her and see how she responded:

As a person who likes to make things

What is your usual process on a fiber project, for instance, do you start with a yarn, a cute pattern, a need you’ve noticed, something exciting you saw in a movie you want to copy, or a technique you want to learn – then what do you do next and then what?

I once categorized my projects from my notebook going back to 1990. They were evenly split between having cute yarn and twitchy fingers; wanting to try out a new technique; and needing a gift. Now that I’m designing, most of my knitting is swatches and samples. I’m trying to find the intersection of my interests, and projects other people will want to pay for. I suspect that I need to learn more what other people like to make and worry less about my own interests, but I can’t quite believe it.

My current process is to gather photos of similar projects, * draw sketches, make a knitting chart that tests out any tricky bits, knit swatches* repeat * to *.

 

What aspect of the GAL will make gift crafting more fun for you?

The camaraderie.

 

Do you usually finish projects? If not, does it bother you?

Yes, I usually do finish things. When a project does gets shoved to the side, I figure my hind brain knows it’s business and let it go – unless it’s a project someone asked for. Then I make it on Sundays when I don’t do business knitting, and I’m motivated even to knit anything, just so my fingers can move.

How do you choose a pattern when you are going to make someone else’s design?

Either I can’t figure out how it was made by looking at the photo, or my kids are looking over my shoulder and begging winsomely.

 

What makes you feel you’ve gotten you money’s worth when you buy someone else’s pattern?

If I either cast on before my family is anxious to start a movie or I learn something, I’m happy. I don’t even mind too much if I have to retro engineer it from pattern notes – I don’t know why. I guess I figure if I’m not starting from a spread sheet myself, I’m already ahead.

 

As a Giftalong designer

What have you learned from being part of the GAL?
How to use Pinterest, Twitter, and the bundles feature.

If you participated last year, how does this year feel compared to last year?

More organized, less philosophical, and less harried.

 

As a designer

What about designing and producing patterns are you most adept at, what parts are you most fond of, and what parts are challenging?

I’m fairly good at solving technical problems, I seem to have that bulldog perseverance thing for mathematical stuff that is more important than talent. I’m disappointed that folks seem grumpy if you announce an “unvention,” I enjoy techniques and stitch pattern variations every bit as much as garment patterns, maybe more.

I love the flash of inspiration when I’ve been thinking about a project for a while. It’s like a photo that bursts in my head with trumpets and joy. I always grab a pen/pencil and try to find my special notebook even if I’m supposed to be making dinner so I can capture it. Even if it doesn’t work out, some part of it is usually good for another application. I like charting, swatching and making schematics. I’m not so good at writing and editing – I mix up my left and right, forget details and and bog down over simple, obvious things, maybe because I started out making my own designs, not reading patterns.

On my last pattern, I made myself wait a week after writing it to send it to the TE, so I could revise it again. It’s as if the mistakes had sprouted like weeds and I could see them myself – amazing. Just waiting that week and revising it again halved the TE bill. I should have started doing that much sooner.


What ideas have your tech editors nixed?

Trying to please every single person’s complaint on Ravelry about pdf patterns. You can’t both write everything out and save on printer ink. Next time I make super fancy mittens, I’m either going to make them charted only, or write each size out separately. Too many sizes at the same time is too much.

 

When you look at a publisher’s mood board, what aspect makes you know you can put a submission together in time?

I originally asked this question so I’d get tips from the folks I was interviewing, I find mood boards baffling!

I have yet to send anything in based on a mood board that has been accepted. My mind is fairly visual, but kinda literal, and wants to make everything out of cables. My kids, husband, the folks at In the Loop, especially Talitha Kuomi, have been helping me with the process. Talitha told me to look at what each editor has published before, and old issues of a magazine, as well as the current call. I’m taking my family’s word for it that swatch color is important (even if you will have to change the yarn anyway depending what yarn support is available). It’s becoming a new game – help Momma/Chris understand the mood board. And I think we are winning; because my last rejection was addressed to Christine, with constructive criticism, not Dear Submitter with a form letter.


 

Christine designs, not so shockingly, under the handle Christine Guest Designs. You can find her website here, and her ravelry page here.