September 17, 2010
today we’re talking with another canadian jane,
this interview holds a special place in my heart
since hers was my first ever ravelry download.
you just don’t forget something like that!
not only that,
she was the first person to fave/message me re: a project.
as a new knitter, having a designer comment was a big deal.
she made me feel really special
(even if she initially thought i was veronica)
So happy to be here!
are you ready for your questions?
here we go.
ten questions for jane Richmond
1) we’ll start where i always start, with the most important knitterly question: english or continental?
-Are knitters really that divided on this? I knit English and can’t seem to get my fingers to learn Continental but someday I would like to be able to say I know how to do both.
good question jane. what do you think people? are knitters divided on this? i think so! leave a comment with your opinion.
2) when i was first learning to knit, i hated that all beginner projects seemed to be both ugly and time consuming (i.e. garter stitch and scarves). when my ravelry membership finally kicked in (because, in those days, you had to wait to get on ravelry; these kids today don’t know how good they have it), i found your marian cowl. not only was it beautiful and fast, i remember thinking, “i can do this!” and that’s what i love about your designs, their simple beauty. of course, that’s just my take on your aesthetic. what would you say drives your design? what inspires, not only the designs themselves, but the need to design so to speak?
-Well firstly I like to design because I’ve always liked creating original work that I can call my own. Secondly you can’t always find what you’re looking for when it comes to patterns (although I have to say that Ravelry has really brought some amazing talent to the public eye as far as knitwear designers go and that really makes me happy considering I took up knitting when knitting was done for babies and fashion had nothing to do with it).
I like to keep the esthetic simple because I don’t believe knitting has to be complicated in order to be beautiful. What makes a garment really stand out is the stitches, the yarn selection, the small details, the subtlety… you don’t have to throw every knitting technique you’ve ever learned into a design, sometimes less is more.
3) good photography has become vital to promoting one’s brand in the knitting world. i personally love your eye; i think your photos have a very specific look. what are you thinking about when you’re looking through the camera lens?
-Hmm, that’s such a good question, I don’t think I’m thinking anything really… I’m an amateur photographer, I don’t claim to be good at it but it’s certainly something I enjoy doing. My favorite part is the outcome; I really feel passionate about lovely photographs, they make me feel good. I guess I just know what I like, I know what appeals to me and so that is what guides me when capturing and selecting the images.
4) along those lines, it’s often necessary to step in front of the lens to promote one’s designs. the photos of you in your marian (which i believe you have since changed) was one of the big reasons i stopped to look at the pattern and then follow your work. i personally hate being my own model because it’s so flippin’ hard to take photos that flatter both the object and me. and yet somehow you make it look effortless. can you talk a little bit about your experience being your own model?
-I laughed when I read the word effortless. Thank you Steven, I’m glad that’s how I come across because as you know it’s actually a lot of work to take pictures of yourself. Let me start off by saying I hate having my photograph taken and I am a terrible model (meaning I don’t know how to pose, lol, if you’ve ever watched America’s Next Top Model and seen photos of the girls who don’t know how to “use the light” or “work the camera” and they end up with these really awkward pictures…that’s me). So what I do is set up my tripod in front of a mirror so that I can see what I’m doing, lol, otherwise I end up looking like a total goof, seriously!
I also like simplicity when I’m shooting, a plain grey wall as a backdrop. My sister is always bugging me about how boring it is but I love it, it appeals to me.
5) and, as miss tyra says, you must always smile with your eyes, lol. in our initial correspondence, you wrote that you used to be an auto mechanic. that’s a pretty badass profession. i’ll admit i would never have guessed that of you. was it difficult to be a woman working in a profession that one would imagine is almost completely male dominated?
-No, I worked with some amazing guys that really showed a great deal of respect for me. I was prepared to put up with a lot but really I think that I had the right attitude to be in that environment. If you don’t take shit people don’t dish it. I also had to prove that I could do the work and I did, after that it was never an issue.
6) got that fellas? this bitch don’t take not shit! so i read on your blog that you recently moved to victoria. how has living is a city affected your knitting life?
I’m happy to be back in Victoria for my knitting’s sake, I love to watch the trends walking down the crowded city streets, it really fuels my need to create. I also love that I have options when it comes to LYS’s. I have a triangle that I hit up when I need to enhance my stash, Knotty By Nature, then Beehive, and ending at The Button & Needlework Boutique.
7) moving around seems to be a theme in your life. in fact, my new hometown used to be your old hometown. can you tell us who-what-where-when-and-why of how you came to live in the u.s. and then leave us to return to your native land?
-You have no idea what you’re in for with this question, lol, I’ll try to keep it short… I was born on Vancouver Island where I was adopted and brought to the Mainland to grow up in Vancouver, only to move to Melbourne, Australia at age 10. After 9 months we left the land down under to live in Seoul, Korea for two years. After our term was done there we moved to good ol’ Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We were there 9 years and once my sister and I were out of the house we decided to leave our dumpy apartment in Coraopolis and move back to Canada. Victoria was a good fit as Vancouver had totally outgrown us in the 13 years we’d been away.
…when people learn my story they ask if my Dad is in the military, he’s not, he worked for an international Australian company and we became expats living all over the world.
After Christopher and I met and decided to settle down together we moved back to his home town of Chilliwack (on the Mainland), that’s where Elsie was born. We stayed 2 years but ultimately decided we were Islanders at heart. When we came back the Island we didn’t land in Victoria, we wanted to give up Island a try (the pace is slower, things are more spread out, it’s lovely up there), but my family was down in Victoria and the distance was becoming a nuisance… so now we’re here, and I feel like I’ve come full circle.
and as a little follow up to that question, are you still a steelers fan?
-I don’t really follow sports, it’s just not my thing. I did enjoy all of the excitement that surrounded the football season, everybody is in to football in the states, it’s like our hockey.
…you do know it’s pronounced “Stiller”?
yes, yes i do.
8 i’m reminded of a question i asked another canadian jane about border crossings. when i asked spillyjane this question, she gave a very diplomatic answer. i’ll be interested to here your take. while similar on paper, i would argue that americans and canadians have very different cultures (though of course the lines get blurred in the upper peninsula. i think they’re canadians in disguise). so, other than the metric system, what differences if any do you see between american and canadian knitters?
-When I was living in the ‘burgh I didn’t know any knitters, it was pre-Ravelry so Knit Nights and such didn’t really exist for me back then.
From an online perspective I don’t really notice differences so much as similarities. I’ll admire somebody’s knitting on Ravelry, and notice how similar our tastes are and then realize they are in Finland. It’s so cool. Knitting really unites us and I am so thankful to Raverly for opening the door to the knitting world so that we can all get to know each other.
9) good answer, jane. now, question nine is an important one, one that the readers i’m sure are dying to know. it’s no secret that your husband, your mister chistopher as you put it to me, is pretty smoking’. he’s what we would call a “very good knitter.” so what i, and i’m sure everyone else, would like to know is this: does he have a brother?
-lol, he does, and they are all spoken for.
(I am grinning from ear to ear)
10) i start with the same question and i end with the same question: if you could interview one person for project 10, who would it be and what would you ask them?
-Hmmm, I really admire Ysolda Teague for really carving the way for self published designers. I don’t know what I would ask her, It’s sort of nerdy but I love hearing about the design process and how other designers get there, the more in depth the better.
i’ll see what i can do.
i doubt she’ll take my call after my peaks island hood ranting,
but i’ll give it a shot.
thanks so much for being her jane.
if i’m ever on the west coast,
i’ll have to pop up and see you.
I hope you do.
* jane (29) lives on vancouver island in gorgeous british colombia, canada with her equally gorgeous husband, chirstopher, and baby girl, elsie jane. you can find her blog, ravelry, and etsy. seriously people, go buy her patterns!
editor’s note – after rereading this post,
i noticed that jane uses american spelling!
*sigh* it warms my heart.