Today we're kicking off a new series here on the Knitter's Pride blog called the Designer Spotlight. In this series, we'll interview independent knitting and crochet designers, and today we're thrilled to bring you an interview with well-known knitwear designer and technical editor Ruth Garcia-Alcantud (you may also know her as Rock + Purl).
Ruth was born in Spain, then lived in the UK for over a decade, and recently moved to sunny California. Her father worked in the fashion industry, and her mother was a computer programmer, so it's no surprise she combined the two to become a hand-knit pattern designer!
KP: How long have you been knitting, and how did you get started designing?
RGA: I started knitting when I was very young - I believe I was 6 or 7 years old. And, actually, I started crocheting first! I also tried ALL the crafts: clay modelling, figurine painting, cross-stitch, sewing... and made tons of clothes for my dolls. Of course when I was a teenager I didn't even touch the needles, but as I was into my mid-20s I started again and now there's no stopping me.
I always modified all the patterns I was knitting, mostly because I have really long arms but a short torso, so changing those aspects to fit my figure was key. Making the move from there to my own designs was quite easy and natural.
KP: You're also a tech editor, and for those who don't know, can you tell us what a tech editor does? How does it differ from designing?
|Echoes of Winter|
RGA: A technical editor (TE for short) is hired by designers and publishers to check the accuracy of patterns before they are released. We check charts, mathematics, sizing, wording, grammar, spelling, and, if necessary, we also change the style of the pattern to match the rest of the designer's portfolio, or the style sheet of the publisher.
All designers should arm themselves with a good TE - for a start, as designers we have "tunnel vision" on our own work and find it hard to find mistakes and errors. A TE is far enough from the piece to be able to pick at it. Also, it provides you with a professional product, which is crucial if you want knitters to pay for your pattern.
KP: When you're not knitting (or sleeping) what do you like to do?
RGA: I've recently relocated from the south of the UK to the East Bay in California - currently all my spare time is spent investigating new areas, new streets, finding new cafes, restaurants... and yarn shops!!!
KP: Of all your designs, which is your favorite?
RGA: I have a very soft spot for 2 particular ones: Chambourcin, which is a very flattering lace hoodie. And Echoes of Winter: I'm very proud of it, the shaping is beautiful and it flatters women of all sizes.
If we are not talking about garments... Lichen Mists and Libelula are my favorite shawls!
KP: Do you have any knitting horror stories or mishaps?
RGA: Uh... Yes. A very silly one? When I started knitting again in my 20s I made a garment from this pattern. The pattern said to use "Cotton DK and 4mm needles" and I used "bamboo sportweight and US4 needles". YIKES. It was horribly saggy, the gauge was off, and it died a horrible death: I took it apart and frogged it entirely!
Follow Ruth and get to know her better:
Ravelry: Ruth Garcia-Alcantud
Congratulations to Margo Watkins and Gwenn, you will both be receiving a Waves Crochet hook to try! We'll be in touch to arrange delivery of your prize.