Knitwear Designer Diane Soucy
Despite the availability of endless knitwear patterns, it's almost impossible to find patterns for basic garments that fit well and look good. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Diane Soucy, who recently made her own designs available to the rest of us under the Knitting Pure and Simple label.
Her designs are easy to follow and leave plenty of room for creativity. But here's the best part: They're also very attractive.
Who is Diane Soucy, what inspired her to design knitting patterns, and how did she take them public? I recently talked with Diane to find out.
KR: How did you first get into knitting?
Diane: I began knitting in my teens, but didn't really get into knitting in a big way until I started working in a small shop in our town that had a small yarn department. I'd read Knitting Without Tears, which really made me understand and love knitting.
I grew to love being creative with yarn and helping customers with problem projects. In the early '90s, I began taking classes and workshops at Stitches and the TKGA, and I completed a program of teacher certification and design through the TNNA and the American Professional Needlework Retailers. I began teaching classes here in Truckee and at other yarn shops.
KR: When did you start designing?
Diane: I began designing for the shop I worked in because customers kept asking, "Don't you have just a simple pattern for a ...?" I didn't have such a pattern, and the customers went away with no yarn. I found that lots of knitters didn't want to (or couldn't) read large multi -sized pattern books in order to knit just a simple pullover.
So I began designing patterns that were easy to knit, with a minimum of finishing, and that actually fit when they were finished. Customers began buying them even without yarn.
I did the yarn ordering for the shop. One day the sales rep for Brown Sheep Yarns saw my patterns and said he'd be happy to help me sell them when I was ready.
He was very supportive and helpful, and almost two years ago I stopped working in the little shop and began designing and selling my patterns full-time.
KR: What has your biggest challenge been so far?
Diane: Believing I could really do this!
KR: And the biggest reward?
Diane: The biggest reward is when someone says that they knitted one of my patterns, enjoyed knitting it, liked the garment, and wear it all the time. When someone tells me that, it makes my day.
KR: What's your absolute favorite yarn?
Diane: I love all yarn, but some of my favorites are wool, tweed yarns, multicolored yarns, mohair, and my own handspun.
You can view Diane's patterns and find a retailer near you by visiting her Web site.