Last year 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 – Julie Dubreux aka Julie Knits In Paris
1) When did you start designing? Could you give us a potted history of your knitty and designing background?
I self-published my first design in March 2016 just to see what it was like, and a little over a year later, I started designing full time. I enjoy the process so much that I just had to dive in. I love that designing allows me to explore my creative side and satisfy my nerdy interest in maths. And I get to knit a lot, which has been my true passion for years now. My grandmother taught me to knit when I was 6 or 7, to keep my mind and hands busy when I had chickenpox. I made doll blankets, then baby sweaters, and as a teenager I knit myself a “statement scarf” (that’s what you call a scarf that is far too long because it was the only way to compensate its being ridiculously narrow… First ribbing experience…). Then I took to sewing for a few years, until that blessed day when I discovered Ravelry and had an instant crave to knit-all-the-things! That was it. Now I’m a knitter for life.
2) Do you have any recurring sources of inspiration or unusual muses?
I do like thematic or technical constraints: they work as great starting points for me.
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?
It depends on whether I am working with a yarn or with a theme, if it’s a sweater or shawl, if it’s lace or colourwork.
I like swatching first if I am commissioned to work with a specific yarn, so I can see and feel how it knits up. But I’ll sketch first if I am working with a theme in mind. And I’ll always chart first for lace and colourwork, work up my first chart draft and make alterations from there until I’m happy with my swatch.
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 needed a reliable charting tool and I had heard great feedback about Stitchmastery. I still don’t use it to the max and regularly think I really should spend some time exploring the features I don’t use yet. The mirror feature is so time-saving! And I often “Save as” my chart in progress when I’m happy with it but at the same time would like to try another idea. It opens a new tab with a copy of the original chart under a new name, so I can make all the changes I like, compare the new version to the older one easily, and eventually keep both if I like. Also, I spend more time than I’d care to admit customizing my chart colours so they match my yarn. Oh, and “Hide all no-stitches in selection”! It makes my charts so much neater!
I wish Stitchmastery could grade my garment patterns for me! Please don’t tell me it does and I could have used that feature already! [ed. – unfortunately not!]
5) Please tell us about your latest publication or next exciting project!
I’ve been so lucky to meet and work with great people over the last year, and the coming months are full of exciting projects: festivals all around Europe (Yarnporium in London and Barcelona Knits this November, for a start), thrilling magazine commissions, and inspiring collaborations. I can’t wait to be allowed to disclose them all!