In 2017 we ran a survey of Stitchmastery users and one response particularly caught our imagination – someone told us they would like to hear from other Stitchmastery users and how they make use of the software. We’re delighted to bring you a series of interviews with designers, tech editors, magazine editors and teachers – we hope you enjoy reading them!
Interviewee – Birger Berge
1) When did you start designing? Could you give us a potted history of your knitty and designing background?
My first serious design activity started in 2016, when I won a design competition in a Norwegian knitting magazine. I then designed and knitted a cardigan. I´ve always been adapting other designs though, adding or subtracting when I felt that something could be improved on a pattern that I was working on.
I have always been preoccupied with making and creating thing. I loved drawing, sewing, knitting, weaving and crocheting since early childhood. I used to draw dress designs for instance. Designing knitted garments has thus been a process from the beginning, since my love for textiles and designs has always been present and has developed during the years. I love making traditional Norwegian knitting designs with a modern twist.
Slipset by Birger Berge. Photo copyright: ToveLise Mossestad
2) Do you have any recurring sources of inspiration or unusual muses?
I guess that social media is a big inspiration these days. It is so inspiring to see what people create and how they work. But my background is still my biggest inspiration. I come from a family of makers where a lot of my relatives were always creating something, for instance knitting socks. This combined with strong traditions back home in terms of traditional textiles such as the local folk costume, is echoed in my choice of colors, choice of patterns and so on.
I always look to nature for inspiration as well. I´m lucky enough to live in a country with beautiful landscapes and stunning changes of scenery during the change of seasons. A walk in the forest can bring new color combinations to mind, for instance by looking at yellow leaves against a grey background during fall.
Rosesokkane by Birger Berge. Photo copyright: ToveLise Mossestad
3) When you have an idea, do you always work to a set workflow (eg swatch-knit-chart / chart first then knit) or does your approach change with each design?
I usually try out a new pattern and a new yarn by knitting a hat. Then I can see how the colors work together on a garment, and I can also check my gauge. My ideas usually change as I go. This means that the initial draft of a pattern can change totally during the process of knitting. Also; the draft that I made with a hat or a cowl in mind can quickly become a sweater or mittens if I find the pattern suitable for a larger or a smaller garment. Details from a mitten, for instance the cuff, can also become a new sock pattern. I´m not very good at designing intentionally, but rather I follow my whims as I go.
4) What made you choose to use Stitchmastery? Is there a particular feature you use most regularly or couldn’t do without? And is there anything you wish Stitchmastery could do?
I was looking for a simple, effective and aesthetically pleasing stitch software when I started working on my book. I found all this in Stitchmastery. I could not do without the possibility of exporting the charts to different file formats. This means that I can export them in file formats that allows for good printing quality in my books, as well as lower quality editions that can be sent via mail for approval and so on. I also love all the possibilities for customizing and editing my charts as I go.
Flatengenser by Birger Berge. Photo copyright: ToveLise Mossestad
5) Please tell us about your latest publication or next exciting project!
I have two books out in Norway now. The most exiting one is of course my book “Moderne tradisjonsstrikk”
. The title translates to “Modern traditional knits” and it is filled with traditional knitting patterns with a modern twist. This is my first book, and I´m very exited and proud. I also participate in another book with several designs which just came out. My book is doing well, and I´m already planning new designs and hopefully a new book. I also hope that my current book will be translated to other languages, and an English version seems to be waiting in the wings.
Skogsstjerne by Birger Berge. Photo copyright: ToveLise Mossestad