Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gift-a-long Designer Interview: Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter

One of my favorite parts of the Gift-a-long is discovering new-to-me designers and browsing their patterns. This year, I happened across Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter (who goes by stefaniegrrr on Ravelry), and she was kind enough to let me interview her for the blog. Stefanie is lucky enough to work in the fiber biz, and I think you'll enjoy getting to know her as much as I did!

How did you get into designing? Tell me a bit about your first design and what inspired it.
I got into designing when I was working at Lorna's Laces in 2007; my first design was the Side Swipe Sock, which is now available for free on Ravelry. Basically, I was asked if I wanted to design a sock for a new color of yarn, and that's what I came up with!

I see that, like me, you love to knit and design socks. What is it about socks that you find so appealing?
I've always been drawn to sock knitting (and designing) because it's so utilitarian: you can never have too many wool socks! While I love knitting other projects such as shawls, cowls, and hats, I find that I tend to favor just a few to wear each season, and the rest sit in the bin of hand-knits, unused - it seems like kind of waste! However, I wear all of my wool socks thoughout the season, and that's great motivation to make more. My favorite kinds of socks to knit are those that are simple enough to work on at knit night or while riding the bus or train, but with elements of interest to keep the knitterly part of my brain engaged.

Do you have a favorite design or one that you're most proud of? Tell me about it!
I'm most proud of the ebook I published this year, Conversation Socks. The premise is quick-to-knit socks using sport weight yarn with unisex appeal. As my time for gift knitting shrinks each year, I am always looking for ways to make my family the hand-knit socks they love, and sport weight socks seemed like the obvious solution. I found that a lot of the existing designs in that weight of yarn were either not "unisex" enough for my taste, or too complicated to knit while on-the-go. Each of the 5 designs in Conversation Socks is designed with these constraints in mind. Unfortunately, ebooks aren't eligible for the Gift-a-long discount, but I have set up a coupon code for listeners of the Prairie Girls Knit & Spin podcast for those wishing to save 25% off their ebook purchase.

What would you say are your main influences when you design?
Necessity! I design the things I want to make, which I haven't seen published elsewhere. Then I hope that other people will want to make them, too!

What can we expect to see from you in 2015?

Curiously, I have mostly toys or non-sock accessories in my design queue at the moment. I would like to publish more crochet designs (so far I just have a free pattern out for a Crochet Button Bunny), and I am also thinking about another ebook of some sort, but that is very early in the planning stages!

Thanks so much for chatting with me, Stefanie!

Stefanie has some great quick-to-knit patterns in her Gift-a-long bundle, so definitely give them a look if you're still in search of holiday knitting patterns. Remember, all these patterns are 25% through 11:59 p.m. EST this Friday, November 21, with the code giftalong2014.

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