I confess that I spend more time than I should in the design groups on Ravelry, and that’s where I first got to know Julia Trice. She always has something smart to say, and her designs show just how much thought goes into everything she does. Julia balances her pattern writing with a day job, but that doesn’t stop her from constantly releasing gorgeous new patterns. I was curious what her design process was like, and she was kind enough to share. Here’s what she told me!
What’s your favorite drink to have by your side while you’re crafting?
That has changed recently. For years I’ve made cocoa on the stovetop every morning and that was the drink I would prefer to have with me. Now I’m cleaning up a bit, so I have tea with coconut milk in it.
Do you like to have some background entertainment while you’re working? A favorite movie or maybe an audio book?
I like to people watch or listen to my family and friends talking to each other while I knit, but because I knit mostly at night that happens less than I’d like. I also listen to podcasts while I knit – Yarniacs, Double Knit, Stash & Burn.
What is an average day in your life like when you’re working on a design?
This is going to be a different answer than you usually get. I have to seriously shoehorn knitting into my day. I get up and make breakfast and lunch and do a seemingly never-ending stack of dishes. I set my laptop on a huge chopping block in the kitchen, and do a lot of checking in on e-mail, sales, and Ravelry goings-on in between cooking and cleaning. Then I go to work and take my son to school. At lunch I either knit the entire time (people watching!) or scoot back onto the internet if it’s an active day there. After work, I head to the gym and knit for 20 minutes before I work out. I get home, repeat the dishes and cooking thing while checking all the e-mails and internet stuff again, spend the evening with my husband and son, and get everyone happily tucked into bed. I then steal off to the guest bedroom to design for a couple hours (where I am now, by the way). On the weekends I will knit in the car, or in our backyard if we are hanging out at our place, but I generally try to be in the moment with my family rather than constantly knitting. This gets altered a bit when I am nearing completion on a design or am in the midst of a release, because those things require sustained focus. Happily, I put out more designs during the fall and winter sporting seasons than any other time of year, and I will always knit through football, basketball, etc. without feeling that I am neglecting anyone. Which reminds me – I love to listen to sports commentary while knitting. I have no idea why.
Of all of your designs, do you have a particular favorite? What makes it special?
Adiri. It’s the perfect “me” sweater – cables, lace, elegant casualness. It felt magical to design. I don’t know how to express it other than to just say that. It was incredibly fun to knit, and I love the end product. I wear it as often as weather here in LA permits. The designs are all my babies, though, and there is something special in each of them.
What is your go-to source for inspiration?
Japanese stitch dictionaries and craft books, other stitch dictionaries, anthropologie, and pinterest – in that order. I keep a pinterest inspiration board here: http://pinterest.com/mindofwinter/knitspiration-crochet-too/
If you had the time and resources to pick up a new craft, what would you try?
I’ve dabbled in a lot of crafts. I can sew, but I generally stick to things with straight lines. I will often piece a quilt to cleanse my palette if I’ve been designing a lot. If I had the time, I would teach myself to either quilt by hand or sew garments, both of which require much more sewing skill than I currently have.
What have you been working on lately?
Right now I’m finishing writing up the pattern for a piece I designed in 2007. It’s a sleeveless shell, so I won’t release it until next spring, but it’s a solid design that people seem to respond to, so I felt that I needed to go back and write it up. I am also working on several sweaters for fall in Shalimar Yarns and yarns by The Plucky Knitter. My most recent release was the Brennan Cardi – a fitted cardigan with textured patterning around the yoke, including some bobbles, worked in Shalimar Yarns Breathless DK. Several people have mentioned that it seems like a departure for me, but I love it and it fits right into my wardrobe. It’s pretty high on my list of favorite pieces. I would love to have the time to knit it again in a deep orange for fall.