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 – Thea Colman aka BabyCocktails
1) When did you start designing? Could you give us a potted history of your knitty and designing background? And tell us about where BabyCocktails comes from!
I started about 11 years ago, when my kids were small and I was figuring out what I was going to do to keep busy, since my corporate career was no longer an option. I didn’t actually have ANY design background and hadn’t picked up my needles in a while.
However, once my first daughter was born, I found that it was the perfect thing to do on the playground or waiting for a lesson to be over. It became apparent that I couldn’t follow a pattern without changing things, so the “design” bit was kind of organic for me. The career part was because friends encouraged me to do so.
The name “BabyCocktails” refers to the drinks that I used to share with my neighborhood mom friends at around 4-6pm in the day, when the parenting day was getting a little long and nobody’s partners were home yet. We had a business idea about making/thrifting/altering our babies’ hand-me-downs and selling them, and decided to name our company-to-be BabyCocktails after the reason we all got together.
That idea never did get off the ground, but one of my most common models, and current drinking partners – Gabriella, is one of the parents I met and began having drinks with way back then.
2) Do you have any recurring sources of inspiration or unusual muses?
I love to go to thrift shops and see little details to incorporate into sweaters – a cable here, a shoulder there. Often one of my designs is a mix of different $5.00 sweaters I’ve photographed or purchased to reverse engineer!
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?
My approach definitely changes with each design. But I do always knit my own sample and I don’t write until I’m done as things change so often! I DO, however, chart before working.
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?
A friend recommended it. I had been using another, older version of charting software that had less bells and whistles and it created a lot of extra work for me. A particular feature? The written instructions generator. THANK YOU for that. I think I use Stitchmastery for the things I know how to do and it has all the elements I need for now – but I am one of those people that never knows what I need until I find I don’t have it!
5) Please tell us about your latest publication or next exciting project!
2020 is going to be the year I don’t accept deadline work and I try to knit down my stash. I find that I do my best stuff when I’m not in a rush and when I’m using yarn that makes my heart sing – and that stash is so full of things I’m dying to get my fingers into! We will see how this goes…