1. What is your name and where are you from?
Hi there! I’m Vanessa Smith, and I’m based in Olympia, Washington.
2. What is your craft? How long have you been crafting? And how did you learn?
Knitting since September 2005! I’m mostly self taught, but I was introduced to the craft while I was in high school when a friend had a small group of girls over to learn. She had just started knitting and wanted to share what she was learning. She taught us the long tail cast on and the knit stitch and for a while, I happily just made lots of garter stitch scarves. Eventually, I started using books and the internet to learn more, and soon after, Ravelry became another huge source of information, especially when I wanted to get into sweater knitting.
3. What is your favorite project?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. I always try to apply some new knowledge or techniques to my latest design, so generally, any project that allows me to learn and grow as a knitter can become my favorite, because I can feel proud of what I was able to do. If I had to pick just one, though, I’d have to say my Avalyn cardigan. I had this vision of what I wanted the cardigan to be, but I wasn’t entirely confident in my ability to pull it off at first. But with lots of perseverance and encouragement from my husband, who fully believed I could do it, I made it! And I absolutely love the finished product—the texture, the nearly invisible waist shaping, the overall fit and style. I would love to see more knitters make this sweater, because I want them to also feel the huge sense of accomplishment I felt when I was able to say, “Yeah, I made this!” I also designed a little version with the curious knitter in mind—if the adult version of Avalyn seems a bit intimidating, they can dip their toes in the water with a little version while still making an absolutely gorgeous sweater.
4. Who is your crafting inspiration?
I’m not sure I could pick just any one person! There are countless amazing designers and knitters out there. But really, there’s inspiration everywhere you look—in the grocery store check out line, at work, on TV. My husband is also really great about pointing out sweaters or other things that he thinks would translate well into knitting. I’m drawn to interesting shapes and details and pick and choose features to blend together for unique pieces.
5. What advice would you give a fellow knitwear designer who has just begun her crafting journey?
If designing is what you want to do but it seems a little scary, start small. It’s ok to use each pattern as a learning process. The wonderful knitters who choose to knit your work will cheer you on, and seeing their projects will encourage you to keep it up. But most importantly, be true to who you are and create things that you personally would love and wear. Don’t try to fit into the mold of what’s popular if that doesn’t align with your personal style. Don’t let the success, popularity, or skill of another designer discourage you. We all had to start somewhere!
6. How can we connect with you?
Ravelry: NessaRenee / Group: Vanessa Smith Designs
Thank You Vanessa!