Interview with designer Samantha Roshak

 

Posted on June 13, 2011

I’m very excited to welcome this week’s featured Pacific NW designer to this blog. She was one of the first designers I ever met in person, and has taught me so much of what I know about this industry. She’s a prolific designer of simple, elegant, eminently wearable garments and accessories. I’m so pleased to introduce to you… Samantha Roshak!

Samantha Roshak
Sam, wearing her Aventurine hoodie

Name: Samantha Roshak, a.k.a. KnitQuest
Location: Redmond, WA
URL: http://www.KnitQuest.com / @knitquest on Twitter

Please introduce yourself!
Hi! I’m a designer, instructor, and Design Coordinator for Blue Moon Fiber Arts. I have a passion for matching fibers and colors with projects, enjoy exploring interesting construction methods, and am downright obsessed with finding the right details to make a project special. When I’m not pursuing some form of knitting, I’m a mother to two children and two Basenjis, and wife to a very patient man.

What do you do?
I have three main jobs. First, I design and publish my own line of knitting patterns on KnitQuest. Second, I teach at local shops and at fiber events (like the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival, Sock Summit, and on a cruise to Alaska this fall). Lastly, my newest job: I work with other designers and Blue Moon Fiber Arts staff to develop an exclusive Blue Moon line of patterns. It all sounds pretty cool, but mostly amounts to a lot of email and typing. I love it, and feel blessed that I can work in an industry I’m so inspired by; but I’ve learned that designing has more to do with paperwork, organization and math, and less to do with actual knitting, than you’d think.

Where do you get your design ideas?
Design ideas can come from a stitch pattern I fall in love with, a store-bought garment I see and think, “That would be great if only…” or as a solution to a request for a specific design or club. Mostly, though, my ideas come from wanting to solve a problem. For example, I designed Shawl That Jazz because I wanted a shawl with a rounded edge (just say “No” to an arrow pointing at your butt!) that would be big enough to tie around my waist. Tellum was created because, while I love the idea of a cowl, I hate all the extra fabric at the back of my neck. A Little Something and Icing were both born to make the most out of a small amount of luxury yarn. I think I’m the most creative and often the most successful when I have parameters within which to work. Knowing only that you must design a sweater can be a bit overwhelming, but knowing you want a new cardigan to wear over your summer tank tops gives you a place to start and really starts ideas flowing.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get started designing?
Read! There are so many wonderful design books and blogs available that can answer almost any question. It pays to do your research.

If you could start your business over, what would you do differently?
I would take the time to set standards and document them from the start. It’s important to be consistent for your customer, but it’s also a huge time saver for yourself. Spending time trying to remember what order you put your Ravelry notes in the last time you released a pattern, or having to go back and look at old patterns to see how you listed your materials, eats up time and adds stress. Make a real choice about how you want to do things, record what you did, and stick to it. You’ll be so much happier.

What’s the big news around KnitQuest these days?
This year I launched the Sweater for all Seasons club. The club includes four top-down women’s sweaters, plus three extra patterns based on some element from the sweaters. The really interesting part of the club is that all the sweaters are worked at the same gauge and tips and suggestions are provided for customizing the fit and making alterations. My hope is that people will use the patterns as learning tools and building blocks for making their own personalized creations.

Do you have a favorite colorway?
My favorite of anything is always variety. My color likes and dislikes change with the season and depend on the purpose of the object and my mood. I love rich, earthy fall colors in my home; I wear mostly neutrals with a pop of a clear strong color. Pink, green, and red make up a lot of my wardrobe. Blue is the only color family I really don’t care for.

What’s one thing most people don’t know, or wouldn’t guess about you?
Hmm… if you’ve never met me you’d probably be surprised that I was a computer geek. I studied computers in college and worked for Microsoft for seven years as a test manager in Office. My “manly” personality traits also seem to surprise a lot of people. Apparently I look like a girly girl (shudder!), but no. I like movies with explosions, I adore meat and prefer beer to wine, I’d rather go to a basketball game then go shopping, I don’t like to talk about feelings and I’m not a fan of flowers. I do however, like shoes and think made beds are a necessity, so maybe I’m a girly man.

Is there a fiber artist in the Pacific Northwest that you think others should know about?
Not surprisingly, I have to say Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Even before I worked there, Blue Moon yarns were always some of my favorites. I think most knitters are familiar with Socks that Rock, but have you tried their garment yarns? I love the quality, the variety (wool, bamboo, silk, all the good stuff), and the value. Both Woobu and BFL Sport are over 600 yards for less than $30.

Read interviews with other designers, dyers and fiber artists from the Pacific NW here.

2

Comments

 

Christy Dimon

October 7, 2013

Hi Samantha, this is Christina, your good friend Deborah Clarkson’s cousin. Ever since I heard that you do lots of work in knitting, I’ve wanted to check out your blog. I mainly crochet, but want to learn more knitting techniques. Your blog and work is impressive. I too, love designing, especially accessories.

You recently got a friend request on your Facebook profile, so if you;re wondering who that gal is, it’s Deborah’s cousin. .I am excited about learning how to knit better.

Reply

    Susan M.

    November 11, 2013

    Hi Christy,
    If you’re looking for Samantha’s blog, it’s at http://knitquest.typepad.com/. (I’m a friend of Sam’s and you’re on my blog right now, not hers.)

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Christy Dimon

Submit