Designer Conversations: Irina Dmitrieva
Posted by Jared Flood on
. Good morning, Irina! Thanks for joining me today to talk about your work—I’m such a fan. Thanks Jared! I’m very pleased to be a part of these wonderful Wool People collections, thank you for the opportunity! Rambler is your third hat for Wool People—you contributed Scrollwork for WP4 (with a matching cowl) and Gentian for WP6. We’re so glad to have you back again for WP8. I know Rambler is an idea you’ve been playing with for a very long time. Can you tell us about the process for your new design? When I was working on Scrollwork Wool People 4 in the "Wool Socks” colorway, I started thinking how wonderful this color would work for a design with an autumn leaf motif. I started drawing sketches at that time, but nothing solid came from it. Over the next few months, I returned to the sketches again and again, knowing there was something there that I hadn’t locked in on yet. After time, I was able to work up something that I felt ws interesting, which is the resulting Rambler – even though I've never worked on one design for so long! . . What kept you coming back to this idea? What made it finally click? It was the sheer number of sketches I drew in my notebook—which I always keep by my side—that kept the idea percolating at the front of my mind. I find returning to my own sketches again and again for inspiration keeps ideas moving along over time. I do the same—you never know when you’ve accidentally found the solution to an aging design conundrum. Yes! I often spend a long time drawing a single sketch, which ends up unresolved in some way. More often then not, when I return to it later the moment of “enlightenment” comes, and what seemed so difficult receives a simple solution in the end. This was the case with Rambler. . . Your cable work is so distinctive; you clearly don’t just browse stitch dictionaries and amalgamate motifs. What makes a design come alive for you? Most often I get inspiration in drawing curls and knotwork. Often I find ideas for woven motifs in objects around me. It can be anything from nature, architecture, interior design objects, etc. I draw a lot. Sometimes I come up with different variations of the same pattern, sometimes trying different ways to combine several patterns. Sometimes I start to draw one pattern, and in the end it turns out to be quite different from my original idea. Sometimes a beautiful idea comes right away, and other times it’s a much longer search. But in the end, tangling cables together is always the most exciting type of knitting for me. Can you tell us about your background? How did you get started with knitting and design? I learned to knit at age 12. When I was 15 I made my first sweater. Since then, knitting has been my favorite pastime. In the past I have always chosen to work from knitting patterns with interesting stitch patterns – ones that particularly piqued my interest in design. In the early 2000s, however, I felt I was having a harder time finding interesting patterns to work with. The publications that I had access to in Ukraine published mainly knitting patterns worked in stockinette stitch and fancier yarns. While I like wearing simpler patterns, I tend to get bored knitting them. So in 2003—the year I was on maternity leave and had more free time—I began to invent my own stitch patterns and design accessories with them. Ever since I’ve been sketching and knitting my own stitch patterns, and amassing a nice collection of them to draw from. I would love to someday produce a stitch dictionary with my original motifs. You should! I’d be first in line for that… . . The more I grow as a creative, I realize that my passion is inventing and knitting unique or complex stitch patterns. I like to watch as a pattern emerges in the process of knitting, particularly with intricately woven cables. As I mentioned before, the result is almost always different from the initial sketch, so the element of intrigue remains until the end. My favorite accessory to incorporate my motifs is obviously hats. To me the brim, body and crown of a hat represent a single unit, and I love finding ways to make each flow into the other without breaking the motif, but instead enhancing its interest. I think this all certainly shows in your work, and it’s really inspiring to hear you talk through your design process. Thank you so much for spending some time with me today, and I really look forward to watching your work evolve. Thank you, Jared! It's really a pleasure to work with you and your team. . . _________ Curious to read more about this design or get your hands on the pattern? Visit Rambler's pattern page for details. This has been the Part 2 of a 6-part Designer Conversations series with selected creatives from our new Wool People 8 collection. Stay tuned here for more; two interviews will be posted each week!