Today I’m happy to welcome designer Julia Trice to our Designer Spotlight! Julia’s patterns are beautiful and very wearable, and I know you’ll enjoy getting to know more about her. (Read to the end for a really good deal on her patterns, as well as getting in on Dream Club signups!)
Loopy: Hi Julie! So how long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?
Julia: Hi Loopy! My grandmother taught me to knit when I was 6, but then I re-taught myself from library books when I was about 20 years old and in college over one Christmas break.
Julia: Sweaters, hands down. I love the magic of watching a sweater come together. For a quickie project, I really enjoy hats.
Julia: Oh, that is tough. I vary the construction in the sweaters that I design so much that there are “ties” for most techniques used. I guess I would have to say my Mexican Wedding Shawlette, because it has something like a 45 row repeat with lace worked on both sides. Even that was not too bad, though. Knits are not usually challenging for me due to technique as much as due to stupid mistakes. One of my easier patterns, the Great Missowski, was a pain to knit because I just wasn’t paying attention. At one point I ripped out half the back, intending to rip out the fronts! That was challenging. Another tough one was Wingspan, which I designed for Twist collective. I had to plan the cables across the neckline very carefully.
Loopy: You ripped out the wrong piece on your Missowski? Oh, that had to have been a bummer! Unfortunately, I’ve had plenty of those “stupid mistakes” in my knitting as well. Isn’t it frustrating? When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?
Julia: I’ve been designing since I started knitting. I’ve been knitting for close to 25 years now, and in the 1990’s in particular, there weren’t as many knitting patterns for exactly the kind of garments I wanted, so I designed out of necessity. I published my first pattern, the Honeymoon Cami, in Knitty in 2004, but I didn’t really design seriously until around 2009. At that point I had decided to really embrace the whole process of publication. It was a thrill.
Loopy: That would have been in the early years of Knitty. That’s fun! Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?
Loopy: That is a really pretty sweater. And a good choice for your profile pic. What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?
Julia: My favorite part of designing is still the knitting. I love the very end (usually in the wee hours of the night), when it all comes together and I get to try the piece on and see if it is what I wanted it to be. When I am lucky, it’s even better than planned. My least favorite thing is calculating row counts. I put total row counts in every pattern at key points along the way, and inevitably I make some stupid mistake that I have to go back and forth with my tech editor about. Row counts and right side vs. wrong side (which can cause row count problems) are my nemeses.
Loopy: All that tech stuff would do me in, I think. Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?
Loopy: So you do this business on the side. Is that hard?
Julia: Initially I found that challenging because I wanted to spend more time knitting and designing, but now I prefer designing part-time for many reasons. I really enjoy my other work and it is steady and pays well. I don’t have to worry about making enough money through my design business, which I think I would find stressful. Related to that is the freedom that doing this part-time gives me. Although I run a tight ship, I don’t have to make decisions – and design decisions in particular – for financial reasons. I also prefer to do all of my own sample knitting, and if you do that you have only so far you can grow your business. Since I plan to stay somewhat small anyway, it makes sense to design part-time. Finally, it cuts down on wrist stress and injuries, and helps keep me balanced. I don’t want to spend too much time in front of a computer or knitting furiously. I can take time off if I want to. I’ve taken advantage of that this year, and slowed production quite a bit. I will ramp up again when I am ready, but when I need to attend to other things – as I have recently – I do.
Loopy: That’s really a nice position to be in with a business. It seems to provide a good balance for you. Does anyone else in your family knit?
Loopy: Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Julia: Yes. Too many. I box, do yoga, crochet, and quilt, and I’ve also been teaching myself Japanese for the last year and a half. I keep myself entertained, for sure.
Julia: Depends on the day. Currently, my favorite activities are quilting, knitting, and studying Japanese. But I’m not averse to reading a good book. Really, I love to do anything if my family is around for parallel play. I like having my husband and son around, even if we aren’t all doing the same thing. We often hike or garden together, and that is really fun, too. If I could be anywhere I wanted on that theoretical day, I would be snorkeling with my family. It is magical to swim holding my son’s hand and watch him take it all in.
Julia: Morning and night, though nights have been easier than mornings the last few years. I try to get the right amount of sleep, so I aim to go to bed at 11:00 at the latest, and wake up around 6:30 or 7:00. When I stay up past midnight I just keep going and it can get ugly the next day. Tea. Rooibus, please, with coconut milk. I’m a “thrower”, though I can knit Continental, and I do for colorwork. I prefer semi-solid yarns, and I find that hand-dyed yarns have the best depth. Occasional colorwork is fun, but my knitting “home base” is solid, with cables, lace, or both.
Loopy: Thanks again for being in our Designer Spotlight today, Julia!
Julia is having a special summer sale and is offering a 50% discount on her patterns! The code is: DOGDAYS2015 and is valid now (July 31) through next Tuesday (August 4). So don’t dilly dally – hop over and check out her patterns and pick a few for yourself!
P.S. It’s also time to sign up for Dream in Color’s Dream Club here at The Loopy Ewe! You can get all of the information and sign up by clicking this link.