Normally I keep my interviews for Thursdays, however as some of you may know, blogger had a bit of an accident and deleted posts after, or on, Wednesday...
So..... Today we will speaking to Heather Zoppetti from Pennsylvania. She is a friend of mine and also an up and coming designer.
You can find her on Ravelry (http://www.ravelry.com/designers/heather-zoppetti)
and blogging at http://digitalnabi.com/blog
We will be doing a giveaway for one of her patterns today. I will be using a random number generator to choose one winner of her design I.B. Footsie. I love this pattern & currently it is on my needles already. It’s a really fun knit. All you have to do is leave a comment below on why you think you should be the winner of this fabulous design. And because I love a good giveaway, I’ll be throwing in enough yarn to knit up the pattern. I will be choosing a winner on Friday next week. Don’t forget to leave contact information like an email address, or some sort of contact information so if you win I can get ahold of you for your prize!
Hi Heather and thanks for joining us today! So I’ve known you for awhile now. We go to the same knit group together & I get to see firsthand some of the work that you do. You’re really starting to make a name for yourself with your designs and now you’re teaching classes as well.
Has everything started out in your design career in the path that you have chosen, or has it been harder than what it really appears to be?
It’s definitely hard work. I’m one of those obsessive people that once I get into a hobby I have the need to learn every single thing there is to know about said hobby. Knitting was no exception. I explored many techniques (I would hate to say all, I’m sure there are things I haven’t tried or even heard about) and felt comfortable, if not compelled, to take the next step to designing my own patterns. On a whim I started submitting patterns for publication, and even now as a published designer I still wouldn’t say I know all the ropes. There many things to learn and discover in the knitwear design industry. I feel like I’m just getting started. Unfortunately there is not a lot of direction or help for fledgling designers. Much of what I have learned has been based on observations, trial, and error.
I know Interweave Press has published a lot of your work. That has to be a great feeling to not only see one of your designed published with them, but many! One of my favorites is the Wintersweet Scarf. I love the look of it and the photos they took make it look so amazing. What gave you the inspiration for that particular design?
Thank you J I love the styling of those photos as well. I don’t like to wear hats. Hoods are better, but most hoods have an unattractive (at least to me) point on the back. Wintersweet came about because I wanted to design a non-pointed hood. I couldn’t see just a hood being a successful accessory, so I attached a scarf.
How old were you when you learned to knit and who taught you?
I taught myself to knit while in college. I went to Wal-Mart, bought one of those “I can’t believe I’m knitting” kits, snagged some cheap acrylic yarn, casted on, and haven’t stopped since.
I see you have designed a lot of socks. What is it that makes them so fun for you to design?
I love socks, both to knit and to design. Mainly I love them because they are so portable. I almost always have a sock in progress. For designing, the small canvas makes it easy to try out new and interesting stitch patterns without committing to a large garment.
I’ve seen firsthand that you can knit both English & Continental. Which do you prefer?
My choice at this time is Continental. I learned English, and until I needed to use both hands for Fair Isle/stranded colorwork, had never considered knitting any other way. Even after learning the two handed technique it wasn’t my preferred method because it was so slow in comparison. Since then I have committed myself to getting better and faster by forcing myself to use that method. Now, I prefer it for most every situation.
There are a lot of techniques out there already. I’m sure you’ve mastered a lot of them, but are there any that you haven’t tried yet that you would like to learn?
I’ve read about but haven’t knit a project using Brioche stitch. Ok, I knit a swatch, but that doesn’t really count right?
If you had to choose any yarn brand & mix of fibers, what would you say is your favorite that you find yourself going to time & time again?
I don’t think I have a favorite. As a personal plug, I love working with the yarns by The Alpaca Yarn Company. They have a great variety of lines and who doesn’t like alpaca?
What are you currently working on at this moment, and how many projects do you have in total that are ongoing?
Currently, I am working on two secret projects. Perpetually, I have many projects. I have started at least three blankets for my husband, socks for myself, a couple of design ideas that have not yet come to fruition, and many others. Possibly too numerous to count; it’s a tad bit embarrassing actually.
There are a lot of great designers out there who make such a statement with their work. Who is your favorite & why?
I’m in love with Connie Chang Chinchio – I want to be her when I grow up. Her designs are beautiful, classic, and fresh. I can only hope to one day to be as talented as she.
What inspires you to knit?
About writing someone once said (paraphrased here heavily); there are two reasons to become a writer: one, you read awesome stuff and aspire to be awesome too, and two, you read awful stuff and know you can do it better. I think this applies to knit design as well. I am constantly inspired by the amazing designs out there as well as determined to be better than those I find wanting.
You have been teaching some classes lately around the area, what is the biggest reward you get from teaching? And what would you say is your biggest weakness with teaching?
I love teaching. It sounds cliché, but seeing the light bulb go on is very rewarding. I also love being able to pass my love for the fiber arts onto others. I think my weakness is a lack of confidence. Until I teach a class a few times, I feel unsure about how to best convey a technique or idea.
And one last question; Of all the items you have ever knit or crocheted, what was your most favorite by far, whether it be a design of your own or someone else’s, and why?
By far my favorite knit was the Haruni shawl I made for my husband’s aunt (http://www.ravelry.com/projects/digitalnabi/haruni-2). The yarn and pattern came together so well. It was the second time I knit that pattern, and I cruised through it in two days. I received a most gracious thank you note and know that it will truly be treasured.
Thank you Heather for sharing your thoughts with us today. We look forward to seeing more of your designs in the future.
And now onto the Giveaway…… Don’t forget to leave your comment on why you should win the pattern for I.B. Footsie and some yarn!