Have you seen the Indie Designer Gift A Long on Ravelry? I know I’ve been quiet about it this year but I did take part in the sale. The competitions and knitty fun is still happening at the GAL forum on Ravelry.
As a designer part of the fun of the GAL is checking out the other designers’ amazing portfolios.
This year I’m very pleased to be interviewing Clare Devine who does beautiful work.
All images are copyright Clare Devine unless otherwise stated
When did you learn to knit?
I learnt to knit as a child but I didn’t really do any knitting. I grew up in South Africa where it is hot and sunny, I was far more interested in swimming than knitting. I started knitting in earnest when I was travelling in Australia – it is a rather random story. My husband and I were hiking on a multi-day route when we came across a small gift shop in part of a forest reservation and I fell in love with a hand knitted hat. Unfortunately it was a little out of our traveller budget and although I really wanted it, the decision was taken that maybe food was better than a hand knitted hat (especially given that it was pretty warm anyway, this was Australia after all). The compromise was that I could buy a ball of wool and some needles and knit my own hat. The rest, as they say, is history.
How did you get into designing?
Soon after my little girl was born I was grumbling to a friend about being a bit ‘bored’, don’t get me wrong I was incredibly busy looking after a newborn but I wanted a mental challenge. She suggested I design some baby socks and lent me a huge pile of sock knitting books. I fell in love with the idea of heel construction and things just grew organically from there. Those socks became Sock Anatomy …
To be very honest I would never have thought that I would be where I am now. I love it but it wasn’t really the ‘life plan’.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
It depends on the project. I love yarn and finding out about different breeds, spinning methods, blends etc. Having free rein to try things out and create beautiful knits that work with the fibres is amazing. I also really enjoy the detail-orientated work and excel spreadsheets. I am also a tech editor so crunching the numbers is always great fun.
What’s your least favourite part of the job?
The finance admin. I always just think I would rather be knitting, creating or writing. As the business has grown I have got much better at this side of things … you have to really, but I have to force myself to do my accounts each month.
What inspires you to design and how do you turn your inspiration into a finished design?
This is always the hardest question to answer. It could be anything, the yarn, colours, a construction idea, something I have seen in a museum or art gallery, nature … I really take inspiration from everything around me.
I am driven by a love of learning and the desire to help knitters improve their skills. In my randomly varied background I qualified as a teacher so I always want my patterns to teach in one way or another. This really inspires everything that I do, the idea that we can share skills with each other and everything in life can be a learning journey of some kind.
Which of your designs are you most proud of and why?
The Tea Collection. It grew in such an organic way and I have been so blown away by how much people love it. I am super proud of it. I am really enjoying watching folk knit the hats – there is something truly magical about watching other people knit something you have created. It always makes me smile.
Is there anything you’d like to design but haven’t done yet?
I want to do some garments. I need to design my perfect grey cardigan and maybe some lightweight summer tops (I am emigrating to Australia soon so these will be useful).
This is a pretty big undertaking though so I want to take my time. It is important to me that they are beautifully constructed and fit really well so I need to work hard on improving my garment skills before I really dive into this area.
Which of the Gift-A-Long 2014 designers are your favourite or which design would you most like to knit?
There are two designs that I really want to knit right now. The first is Aoraki by Libby Johnson, there is something about all that texture that I just love. I have balled the yarn and just need to cast on.
Image copyright Libby Johnson
I also really fancy Sailing by Meg Gadsbey – it is really simple shawl but I love the shape and the texture. With all the moving chaos that is coming up I think it will be the perfect relaxing project.
Image copyright Meg Gadsbey
You can find Claire Devine at: