One of my favorite parts of the GAL is getting to introduce you to my fellow indies! The admin duties took most of my time at the start, but now the GAL is moving along like a well oiled machine (knock on wood), I can turn my attention to having fun too. This year’s first GAL interview is with Jessica Anderson of Jessica Anderson Designs (aka monkeybuttbabies)!
Please join me in welcoming, Jessica.
Q1. Looking at your Ravelry profile you’ve got a full house, homeschool, and a prolific publishing schedule with 36 releases thus far this year. I’ve not even managed my desired minimum of 12 with only a Great Dane to care for. What’s your secret? How do you do it… ALL?
Wow! I didn’t realize that I had that many releases this year (and I thought it was a slow year!) I actually get asked this question, in various forms, a lot, because I do homeschool, work for a yarn company, and design, so I started a monthly “BizzyMom Series” where I tackle some of the how’s each month. My top secrets though?
1) 15 minutes! I have a dedicated 15 minutes a day, after the lunch stuff is put away, when my children have reading time, and I sit down to work on a dedicated project for just those 15 minutes. When I did my first book, those 15 minutes a day where the time that I worked on my book.
2) Planner! I always have my planner with me (I’m a written planner gal!), and that way I know what I have going on when, and the steps I need to get it done.
3) One stitch at a time. I carry knitting with me, everywhere, and I literally tackle projects one stitch at a time. I don’t hire sample knitters (in fact, I even work as a sample knitter from time to time for other designers!), and I just keep knitting.
Q2. Where do you find your design inspiration?
Everywhere? It really depends, for me, my designs have such a personal connection, and are typically related to a memory of some sort or other. Sometimes it is as simple as my children drawing a pictures of something they want, or telling me about their favorite character from a story and what they would wear. A lot of times I have a nice little chat with the yarn, or once I see a color, I start to see shapes, designs and ideas that it inspires. Other times, it is just a big collaboration of all those things, like my upcoming Wands Ready! Design- I bought a yarn kit from The Lemonade Shop inspired by the new Fantastic Beasts movie, after seeing the movie in the theaters, I saw visions of wands and dancing colors, so when I sat down to sketch out the idea, it was already coming together nicely, those are my favorite types of projects! When I sit really quietly, the yarn will usually tell me exactly what it wants to grow up to be- whether it is a shawl or a cowl, or something way different than what I had planned!
Q3. Congratulations on your new (print) book, “Lorelei’s Journey”! How was the process of writing a pattern plus book different than writing individual knitting patterns? What was your favorite part of Lorelei’s Journey?
I think the hardest part of it all was keeping it all a secret and holding on to all the pieces to release at once! It honestly really flowed together nicely, because the whole concept was based on an idea of my daughter’s and the story just built from talks that we would have about Lorelei. Watching my daughter’s excitement build as the story came to life, and the way that the photographer was able to capture her joy in the whole thing was definitely a highlight for me! The other thing about the book that has just been amazing for me is that I was able to do an event for Hope Kids Phoenix (an organization that provides fun opportunities to children that are battling with a childhood illness of some sort and their families). I was able to read the story with a group of Hope Kids, they all were able to play with Lorelei, we made paper dolls and I taught the children (and their parents!) how to finger knit. It was such a sweet day and built a lot of relationships and connections to knitting. I’ve had lots of requests to come back and do a knitting class, so I am definitely looking forward to that!
Q4. What’s your favorite type of item to design and why?
Hmmm, that’s a toughie! Usually my favorite is whatever I am currently working on, but if I had to choose just one, it would most likely be a knit skirt. They are so much fun to play around with and they are something that I can actually wear in Arizona!
Q5. If applicable. Do you employ any eco practices in your design business? If yes, what? Do you have any patterns featuring eco yarns?
The most eco thing I probably do is that in my children’s line, I try to find ways to make the knit last through more than one kid (or at least more than one season!). I love the memories that become attached to each piece of knitwear and I just love seeing those memories passed down from child to child. I love when I have a piece that I can make a minor adjustment to, and voila, it is a perfect “new” piece for the next child in line.
Q6. What are you up to this GAL? What designers have caught your eye and why?
I’ve been finishing up some last minute work that snuck up on me (I know, I know!), and I’ve just started looking at some patterns and getting things ready to cast on! I have a pair of socks from Alison Makin ready to cast on and I’ve been promising myself that I get to knit a Depth cowl from Talitha Kuomi once I get all caught up (not GAL related, but a gift nonetheless, my littlest has been asking for the Sleeping Kittens from Susan B Anderson and I have started one of them, hoping I can make his wish come true!)
Puddles species to species questions – tell us about your furbabies! What role do they play in Jessica Anderson Designs?
I have 3 adopted kitties: Leonard, Batman and Elphaba. They are quality assurance inspectors (and occasional yarn inspectors as well as they like to run off with certain yarns and hide them!)
They definitely keep things interesting and fun around here.
Find Jessica around the web here:
Ravelry shop: https://www.ravelry.com/designers/jessica-anderson