In this week’s interview I spoke with Ruth Garcia-Alcantud from Rock+Purl. Not only is she a talented designer, but Ruth also tech edits for a variety of designers and publications including my favorite, Pom Pom. I asked her to share a bit about what it’s like to do both design work and tech editing, and this is what she had to say.
What’s your favorite drink to have by your side while you’re crafting?
Coffee or tea. I think I like the ritual of making these drinks as much as I like drinking them. Grinding the coffee or measuring out loose tea, achieving the perfect coffee/milk ratio, waiting for the kettle to boil… sometimes I just like “spacing out” from work while I prepare my drink and return to work with renewed energies and a blank slate.
Do you like to have some background entertainment while you’re working? A favorite movie or maybe an audio book?
When it comes to knitting, I love my Netflix subscription more than I dare admit. My latest obsession has been Orange Is The New Black and lots of sci-fi movies. If I’m tech-editing, I prefer silence or visiting www.rainymood.com (and you’d think I get enough rain living in England!!).
What is an average day in your life like?
Wake up at about 6.30 and have breakfast with my husband. Once he’s gone to work, I look at my calendar and emails, figure out priorities for the day and catch up on social media (which is why sometimes your “late at night” tweets and my “early morning” tweets cross!).
I’m currently tech-editing for 2 magazines as well as my independent clients so depending on their print deadlines or advertising needs, things must move to the top of the list.
If I am under deadline for anything knitted for a book or magazine, I grade and write the pattern first, then hit the needles. Usually I don’t work on anything else until the piece is knitted in its entirety. I’m lucky in the sense that I work from my own home and don’t need to bother looking my best at all times, but it does get lonely. When that happens I visit one of the many cafes in my town, or go for a walk. Fresh air always helps!
How do you balance tech editing with design work?
It is tricky, I won’t lie to you! I have to be careful with my workload and ensure I can pay my clients the attention they deserve while at the same time not hurting my progress in other endeavors. I tend to use the morning hours to do tech-edits, since most of my clients are abroad and it allows me to give them a reply before they wake up – also, my brain is at its peak in the morning, as long as I’ve had my coffee! Usually I spend the afternoons knitting on deadlines or swatching new ideas.
Of all of your designs, do you have a particular favorite? What makes it special?
I keep plugging Caramel when people ask me this question, but I truly love it. It took a while to be born, approximately 5 months went by between the first concept sketch and the final photo shoot. I had to plot the shaping carefully to retain a tailored look, pick the yarn to best show it off, and the finishing details (buttons, ribbon) were not easy to pick! I have since realized that it is my way of working. I am not one to design on the needles and I like taking my time perfecting something for my customers to enjoy without worry.
What is your go-to source for inspiration?
Oh, that’s a tough one!! I subscribe to Vogue UK and also buy the special catwalk editions of the fashion magazines every season. I also look at a lot of landscapes, architecture, textures… and mix and match!
If you had the time and resources to pick up a new craft, what would you try?
I can sew, cross-stitch, crochet, knit, quilt, …. so I’m not sure you can call this a craft but since buying a car, I’ve been wanting to learn about car mechanics, figure out how things work and why, especially since my air-con seems a bit picky with when it decides to work!
What have you been working on lately?
Well, lots!!!! For starters, my book. I’m finally getting to a stage where I can SEE how it all meshes together and I’m loving it. In the self-published arena, I recently released the last of the Summer patterns (Mediterranean) and the first of the Fall patterns (Chopped!). I’m also putting the finishing touches to a holiday ebook launching very very soon: my friend Joeli Caparco and I decided everyone should have socks for the holidays and we are each designing 3 patterns, one for Halloween, one for Christmas and one vanilla to knit as either a warm-up to the other two or as a “phew, I made all those socks, now these are plain sailing fun!”. Oh, and I’m also showing and teaching at a couple of UK events this coming Fall. I guess you can say I’m busy!