Indie Design Gift-A-Long

Welcome to ash alberg.
See patterns on Ravelry. Follow on Instagram.

What makes you excited about being a designer? What part of the process do you find rewarding? 

the most rewarding thing is definitely seeing others knit my patterns and find their own joy through that process. i think about that after i publish a pattern, though. during the designing process itself, i love seeing a new pattern grow, and seeing the finished object once it’s off the blocking mats. i also really enjoy taking pattern photos. sometimes it can be stressful just trying to carve out time for it, but i like having an excuse to do slightly fancier make-up and play with my camera.

What inspires you? most of my inspiration comes from nature.

i’m a hedgewitch, so i use plants and stones in various healing rituals. specific yarns will also inspire me – local yarns that i can source and have a story attached to them, or an indie dyed yarn with particularly good speckles or a rich semi-tonal. i’ve got a few designs that have been inspired by dear ones as well. lately, my designs have been shifting more towards silhouettes and stitches that fit into my daily wardrobe. i love layers, and i really love a good all-over stitch pattern.

Are you a full-time or part-time designer? 

i work more than full-time as a designer in terms of standard hours, and also have a part-time admin job to make sure my bills are paid. up until 2 months ago, that part-time job was full-time for another organization. for the past 3 years, i’ve worked an average of 80-100 hours/week between my jobs. with the day job switch, i’m falling somewhere between 60-80 hours instead, which is a really lovely shift. i’m able to spend more time with people i care about, and to get back to baking. i’m grateful for that.

Does the place you live affect how or what you design?

absolutely. i thrive in organized chaos – too much mess stresses me out, but i also don’t like to be super clean and tidy. i make a lot of nests that probably look like piles of junk to other people but that i know contain specific projects. baskets are my favourite organizational tool. as far as geography, i live in the canadian prairies, which are literally freezing (-40 celsius) in the winter and hot and sticky in the summers, so layers and using different fibres for different seasons is important.

What’s your favourite thing to design?

shawls, because i get to play with shape and construction and really get to know a yarn through the process. but in terms of my everyday wardrobe, i also really love having handknit socks and sweaters. i’d like to spend more time with sweater designing, but i seriously hate grading…

If someone were to knit you a present, what would you most love to receive?

probably a blanket, which sounds kinda weird, but i find i’m a lot more particular about clothing, plus the realities of designing so much means i can fill a lot of holes in my wardrobe if i want to. blankets are cozy, can be passed down through generations, and add to my nesting abilities. plus i can share them with people i love if i want to, or just make myself my own blanket fort if i don’t!

Tell us about your favourite yarn. 

ooof, do i have to choose just one? i have a few go-tos that i find myself regularly returning to – julie asselin’s nurtured, yoth yarns’ father, and woolen boon’s boon classic all appear a lot in my stash and on my needles. i’m shifting more and more to minimally processed yarns with clear sources too, and am super lucky to have long way homestead and ferme fiola farm within a 45 minute drive of where i live. i’m in the very baby stages of a new long-term project that will be highlighting the canadian fibre shed (farms, mills, and fibre producers, although i also love a lot of canadian indie dyers too). i’m excited to see how that will affect my knowledge of fibres and design choices.

What’s one thing about being a designer that surprised you?

i’m constantly being surprised by it. i’m surprised sometimes by people who seem to grow in popularity really quickly, because i know from experience that one viral pattern or magazine publication doesn’t automatically mean everything you design from then on will receive the same reaction. but i’m learning that a lot of marketing and biz coaching goes on behind the scenes, and that a lot of the people who seem to go viral out of nowhere actually have a solid base in one or both of those areas (or someone close in their life who does). i try to remind myself on a pretty regular basis that those factors don’t mean someone else isn’t also working really hard and with a lot of heart, it just means they have an advantage and they are (smartly) choosing to use it. for myself, i’m working on how to balance the business side of designing (where i’m less comfortable) with the creative side (where i prefer to hang out) without losing my joy of it all. i never want design to get to the point where it just feels like work. i would probably stop at that point, and i have no desire to stop.


Giftalong interview with ash alberg
Tagged on: