Interviewee – Lisa K Ross of Paper Daisy Creations
1) When did you start designing? Could you give us a potted history of your yarny and designing background?
My mom taught me to crochet when I was a little girl, and I absolutely loved it! I crocheted for many years, but never knew how to knit. I was baffled at the idea that someone could make something without a hook at the end of their needle… ha! When I was pregnant with my fourth son, I received a ‘learn to knit’ kit for Christmas. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos of knitters until I found someone who held the yarn like I did for crocheting. I followed their instructions and quickly knit up swatch after swatch, knitting, purling, cabling and more. On my third day of knitting, I designed a pair of cabled mitts. I checked out armloads of books from the local library and went shopping at my LYS. Every spare minute, I was watching technique videos or reading about how to improve my knitting skills. I literally spent hours almost every single day committed to this new skill.
About a month after my first cast-on, I was knitting my first pair of fingering weight socks. I met another mom at a craft night who told me she worked with yarn companies to design knitting patterns. I needed to know more, so Stephanie Lotven (aka TellybeanKnits) and I became friends. She taught me how to get started and within 6 months I had created my first design, a striped sweater vest for my boys. I was so worried about getting the fit right, I had to knit one for each of my four boys! Stephanie and I have remained good friends as we have built our knitting design businesses and she is still the person I trust the most when it comes to design work.
2) Do you have any recurring sources of inspiration or unusual muses for your design work?
My inspiration almost always comes from the yarn. I might get an idea for something, but it isn’t until I have the yarn in my hands that my ideas can come to fruition. I believe that the right yarn paired with the right design can be absolutely magical, and I strive to unlock that magic with my designs. I particularly adore the artistry of hand-dyers and their beautiful yarns. It’s an honor to get to work with so many talented folks and I hope I can do their yarns justice!
3) When you have an idea, do you always work to a set workflow (eg swatch-knit-chart or chart first then knit) or does your approach change with each design?
My approach varies with each design, though I’ve found that the more legwork I do beforehand, the easier it will make my life in the end. While most knitters dread swatching, I’ve learned to love and appreciate it, as it always saves me time in the end. I learn so much about how the colors play together, how much I actually like working the stitches, and how to translate them into a shawl or sock design. Charting the stitch patterns into Stitchmastery before I cast-on helps me to better understand the stitches and what I’ll be doing, saving me time in the end. This is especially helpful with stitch patterns that are only written. I am a visual learner, so charting ahead of time makes a big difference.
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 have found Stitchmastery to be the best knitting software that is available, and it is frequently requested when I submit designs to publications or collections. It is easy to use and creates beautiful charts for my patterns. I especially appreciate the ability to flip the stitch patterns vertically or horizontally. This is particularly useful when charting symmetrical cable or lace designs.
5) Please tell us about your latest publication or next exciting project!
This summer, I’m releasing a three pattern shawl collection with Camp Color. The designs will vary in colors, size, and complexity, and all of them are a blast to knit! I always give great introductory discounts, so sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss out!
I’ll be creating another mystery wrap to release at the end of the summer! Much like Garden Variety and Just Beachy, this design will use 2 full skeins of fingering weight yarn (800yds) and 7 minis (133yds). It will feature unique construction that will keep you guessing and it’s going to be SO much fun to knit together!
I release a four pattern sock collection in both April and October each year, and I run an accompanying KAL. We are finishing up Socks of The Secret Garden right now and I’m currently narrowing down my theme for the fall!