Sunday, September 26, 2010

Interview and Giveaway with Ann Weaver

Here it is, as promised.  I am so thoroughly excited to be sharing with you a wonderful interview with Ann Weaver, the author of the self-published pattern book, Craft Work Knit.



How did you get started creating your own designs?
When I learned to knit (I think I was about 7), I didn't learn to read a pattern, so I made everything up. It was all just simple scarves, mittens, and the occasional large and asymmetrical granny square. I learned to read a pattern when I made my first sweater. Very soon I was improvising sweaters based on the measurements in the schematics in pattern books.

The first sweater I made that really got me thinking about my design potential was an Yves St. Laurent-inspired jacket I knit in 2006. I loved the colors of the original, but didn't care for the construction, so I made this one. It has a shoulder-strap construction, which I think is hilarious! I had no idea what I was doing, but man, it fits really, really well.


Yves St. Laurent Jacket

In 2007 I decided to try to share a design I knit, so I wrote up the pattern for
Neiman, and it was accepted to Knitty! And that was that.

Where do you find design inspiration and are there any specific design themes in this book?
For Craft Work Knit, I was inspired by Dutch national athletic uniforms (you'd better believe there are more Dutch-based patterns coming, after their STUNNING World Cup performance this summer), paintings by Josef Albers, action movies, my own doodles, and photos of 1970s punks in knitwear.

I'm constantly being drawn to stripes and stripe patterns as well as unusual color combinations. More than anything, I design things that I would like to wear. I never know what will inspire me next.




Is there a technique that you love (or hate) to use in your designs?
I LOVE knitting a ton of garter stitch, but you know this. I also like stranded knitting as long as the patterns are relatively easy to memorize, yarn-over patterns, and interesting ribbing. I'm not a big fan of lace, but I think that's because it isn't my style. However, I'm branching out: I'm currently working on two lace-ish designs (I won't come right out and call them lace, because they're pretty simple, really) an intarsia project, and even a crochet design. I keep an open mind!

What made you decide to self-publish a collection of patterns?
I had so many designs in mind, most of which didn't fit any current calls for submissions to magazines or books. I also had a vision of what I wanted the book to be, from the yarns and the colors to the models and the layout. I knew there was no way any publisher would let me have this kind of freedom, so I decided to go for it.

First I thought I would publish an eBook, since that wouldn't require as much financial investment as a print book. Then it hit me that what I value most of all in my knitting, the craftsmanship, the feeling of the work itself, the beauty of the object, ran absolutely counter to the notion of a book that would not be available in high-quality paper form. So there went the notion of quick profitability! Ha!

The book IS available digitally, however, because I understand that this is more convenient for many people. There is also a great deal for purchasing both the paper and digital copies.

Do you have a favorite pattern in this new collection?
I do. Grundy, both
Man's and Woman's versions. This was the most difficult pattern to write, because it's a new construction style for me (my tech editor can attest to how terrible the editing process was) and because I had a very specific fit in mind, but the results are EXACTLY what I imagined. It's like magic when that happens.

Grundy

What was the most difficult pattern for you to create?
The Grundy, again. It was painful. Ask the tech editor. Ask the sample knitter who made the man's version. I thought I was going to have an aneurysm.

Do you have any specific design goals for yourself?
Interesting. I don't do well thinking about the distant future, so I'll give you my goals for this coming year. I want to put out another collection of patterns in Fall 2011, sort of a knitting/art/literature mashup. I've already begun a few of the designs. That's all I'll say for now.

In other goals, I'd like to work with a few new magazines, online and print, to reach different audiences. I may have a design in an upcoming Yarn Forward, which is in discussion now. I like the idea of a British audience that may not be heavily involved with
Ravelry or knitting blogs seeing my work. I'm also always up for inclusion in interesting books and pattern collections, so I'll see what comes my way this coming year.

Do you have a favorite yarn?
In terms of major yarn companies, I really like Berroco Ultra Alpaca worsted, Rowan Wool Cotton, Madelinetosh Sock and Vintage, and Malabrigo (any). However, my special love is reserved for smaller companies, like Fleece Artist (I used their BFL 2/8 for the Tempest cardigan in Knitty, and have used their BFL Aran for Grundy Man's in this book. I cannot say enough good things about their yarns), Briar Rose Fibers Abundance (which I used for Vert & Horiz), Alchemy Haiku and Kozmos, and The Fibre Company Terra. 

I am currently making designs from Fly Designs Cashmara (WHOA) and Lorna's Laces Honor (a yarn to kill for), so man, the list could go on and on.



What type of knitting needles to you prefer to use?
Addi Turbos all the way.

Do you store yarn in any strange places?
Is everywhere strange? Really. I store it everywhere. While working on the patterns in this book (along with a few other designs for other publications), I had a drift of plastic bags filled with yarn and projects leaning against the living room wall, about 10 feet long. Chris, my husband, started threatening to call the A&E program Hoarders to get an intervention.

How many works-in-progress do you tend to have at any given time?
Several, but it's not out of control. I'm usually working on 3-4 things, with others that nearly done but awaiting design decisions.


With all your designing, are you able to find time to knit for yourself?
I have a lot less time than I would like (seeing that I work full time too, BOO!). However, I've managed to knit a pair of
Nancy Bush socks this month, and am working on some other gift knits as well. I've promised myself that I'm going to make a Nimbus and a Shroom for myself this fall; I even have the yarn.


If you would like to see the piece I knitted for Ann, the Albers Shawl, you can check it out here.

Thank you Ann for a wonderful interview! It's been an awesome experience knitting for you and getting to know you through this interview. I'm thinking Button Coil or Grundy may be my first projects from this book!

If you have any questions you can contact Ann at ann@annweaverknits.com. As she stated in her interview, her patterns from Craft Work Knit are available in both book format as well as digital copies. To purchase either a paper or digital copy (or get both for a special discount) you can go to Ann's new and super snazzy website annweaverknits.com. Additionally, single patterns are available for download on Ann's website and on Ravelry.

And now for even more exciting stuff. One lucky reader can win their very own eBook version of Craft Work Knit!


To enter just leave a comment under this post sharing your favorite pattern from Ann's new collection and whoosh! You're entered. Make sure to leave your contact information in the comment as well! This giveaway will run until October 10th when I will use the Random Number Generator to draw the winner. Good luck! 

47 comments:

  1. Yea! I'd love to be entered into this drawing! I love the Silhouette!

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  2. i love Death Race, so adorable.
    songyueyu at gmail

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  3. I love Grundy and Silhouette. I love Le Mans also.

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  4. I am going to have to say Button Coil or Silhouette are my faves. Hard to pick just one :)

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  5. Button Coil, of course! I am a sucker for anything with a ton of buttons! All of these projects are great!!

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  6. Albers Shawl....soooo beautiful. Must. Have. Now.
    Great interview!!

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  7. Oooooh, the Albers Cowl. I saw the photo of it on Ann's mom and fell in love with the colors, the squares, and the garter stitch. I'm an Albers fan!

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  8. Great giveaway!
    My favorite pattern from Ann's new collection is "Vert & Horiz"

    Thanks :)

    Eliana
    IknitCupcakes- Ravelry

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  9. They are all great but I particularly like Grundy.
    Thanks!

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  10. Great interview! Loving the preview of Ann's book, too. Among the patterns, I have to say, Powel is my favorite at the moment. Possibly due to the fact that a hat seems far more manageable to me at the moment ;-)

    Congratulations Ann!

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  11. Such great designs! Hard to choose a favorite, but I think I'd have to go for Vert & Horiz.

    (linked to my blog, and I'm also Lynnette on Ravelry)

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  12. I love the Le Mans sweater. I'm lately on a little kid knitting kick and this one is really cute.

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  13. I love the Powel hat, I like stranded knitting a lot!
    Sewsable on Rav

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  14. Albers Shawl all the way! I'm obsessing over that random spot of blue! I love it. bigwoolboston on Rav

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  15. My fav is the Powel hat. Right now I'm obsessed with hats and this is beautiful! Debbie in Alaska

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  16. Great interview. I have fallen for Vert and Horiz - lovely, edgy look.

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  17. Albers shawl and button coli - cool,cool! Both are beauties!
    CAT from Canada

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  18. The silhouette sweater is my fave!

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  19. Vert & Horiz is the one I would knit first but I really love the picture of the Albers Shawl with the blues of sky and sea.
    BethT

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  20. I love the Albers Shawl - wonder if it could be made smaller - that's a LOT of knitting. But oh so pretty!

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  21. I can't remember the last time I saw a book with such a high percentage of patterns I not only like but actually might make! I think the Go Dutch mittens would be my first choice. I would LOVE to win -- but will buy the book anyway, so maybe I'm disqualified.

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  22. I think I love the Grundy best, but I honestly love almost every pattern in the book...a rare thing! The one I'd be most likely to knit soon is the Albers Cowl. I am so impressed with the inspirations behind the patterns....also the designer's commitment to share her vision her own way!!

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  23. There are so many "favorites" to choose from! I love the Albers Shawl, and how it is photographed! Stunning!

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  24. I love Le Mans - I am a follower and have added your giveaway to my side bar - thanks so much :-)

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  25. Very cool. I have no talent for design so I'm always impressed by those who do!

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  26. its hard to choose.. but Silhouette is my favorite!

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  27. i'm liking the albers shawl.....and there's a couple of sweater designs in there i'm curious about!! gorgeous, nifty, simple work (i'm not big on lace either.....)

    -oonaghfibersmyth on ravelry

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  28. I really like the Grundy and the Le Mans. Though all of the patterns look great.
    Thanks for the chance to win,
    KJo on Ravelry

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  29. I love Le Mans!!

    Jess

    jessecreations on Ravelry

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  30. I love the Alber's Shawl. So beautiful yet so versatile as well. I enjoyed the interview. Thanks

    lotsofhermies on Ravelry

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  31. I love the Albers Shawl!

    The interview was an interesting read! It is fun to get the designer's take on what she did!

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  32. I am for sure knitting some of Ann's designs. I like her style.
    I hope to win!!!

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  33. Vert and Horiz is gorgeous!

    I would love to have that in my projects....

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  34. I love the Albers Shawl. Yummy. (actually ALL of them!)

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  35. I really love the Albers Shawl -- the style, the colors and the photography. Grundy is a close second.

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  36. Love the Silhouette and the Albers Shawl - great patterns!

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  37. What a fun giveaway - I loved reading the interview :) My favorite pattern is definitely Le Mans. It's really sophisticated for a little kid, and I can imagine so many great color combinations.

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  38. Tough to choose just one! I think my favourite is probably the woman's Grundy, but Button coil is a very close runner-up. That's some lovely patterns!

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  39. I like the Albers Shawl! Grundy is great too. Hurray for self-publishing. :) Thanks for the contest!

    jenniem on Ravelry

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  40. It's hard choosing but I can't ever go past a shawl.
    susanlhorne[at]hotmail.com

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  41. I'd love to enter! Vert & Horiz is a great pattern, and I'd love to knit that up.

    wendymc on ravelry

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I'd love to hear from you!