Saturday, December 12, 2015

An Interview with GAL Designer: Tania Richter

Tania Richter
This week, I get to welcome Tania Richter to the blog. She's an American designer who goes by the name AetherFang on Ravelry.

A quick look at her designs will tell you that she is not just interested in creating wearable garments and accessories. She is here to create art. And you can see her love of fantasy novels, anime, and role-playing games in every piece she designs. I'll admit that I don't share her love of fantasy, but I absolutely love that each of her designs are a unique reflection of her, and the fantastic things she is interested in!

• How did you become part of the knitting community?

I randomly found Ravelry when I was in college. After graduation I got into dyeing yarns with kool-aid and ended up joining What a Kool Way to Dye group, and progressed into the Malabrigo fan group soon after I discovered my LYS. I ended up joining a weekly knitting group and now teach classes at my LYS.

Drachen Jäger Kimono Sweater © Tania Richter
• Is there a knitting resource that you would recommend to others (a book, video, pattern, tutorial series, podcast, etc)?

I'm a big fan of Knit Purl Hunter. Very good tutorials for all different types of knitting!
• What motivated you to begin publishing patterns for others to use?

A few years ago I discovered that I was having an extremely difficult time breathing around perfumes and synthetic scents. The issue got to the point that I was constantly sick and ended up quitting my job at a bookstore. We discovered soon after that I was having anaphylactic reactions to certain triggers and would have to work from home for the most part. Back then I was knitting mainly as a hobby, but I decided to go ahead and put some fox hats I had designed and knit into a convention art show and see if they sold. They did, and there was a decent demand for them so I started spending my days knitting many, many hats with various animal ears. I would sell them online and at the occasional convention.   
  I was originally designing the Cloud Dragon scarf in my free time as a personal project while working on the hats. I put up a screenshot of what the chart looked like in the Double-knitting group on Ravelry and I had a lot of interest in the pattern. At the urging of one of the members I ran the pattern as a Mystery Knit-along, and the release was so successful that I decided to start pursuing more pattern designs and phasing out of the knitted hats.
Drachen Jäger Kimono Sweater © Tania Richter

• In 3 words, describe your design style.   Knitted Fantasy Art
Kimono Sweater Trip © Tania Richter
• Your designs are very distinctive - usually covered in color work art that reflects your love of fantasy creatures and their stories. How is the creative outlet you get from designing knitting patterns different than the ones you get through your fantasy writing and artwork?

With both art and writing you have pretty much infinite possibilities to play with. Colors, characters, lighting, mood... these can all be fairly easily changed in either medium. Designing for knitting patterns, especially with two color double knitting, forces you to constrain yourself. You have to be extremely creative to get across complicated pictures with a limited palette and space to work. It's also extremely fun to be able to wear art that you designed.
325 Winged Triangle Shawl © SoHo Publishing / Rose Callahan

• Tell me the story behind your favorite pattern.

That honor would probably have to go to the #25 Triangle Wing Shawl. I was playing around on Ravelry back in March when I got a message from one of the editors asking if I would like to do a design for the Double Knitting feature for the Fall 2015 Vogue Knitting Issue. I jumped on board using a pattern I'd thought up a while back, a set of wings that anyone could wear. It was a very fun pattern to design, and the quickest project I've ever managed to knit! I love how it turned out, and it's been great seeing everyone else's variations on the pattern.

Epic Cloud Dragon © Tania Richter
• What is your favorite knitting trick or tip?

When double knitting, use Kitchener stitch to bind off the pattern. It gives a very smooth finish to the piece and pairs well with the Invisible Cast On for Double Knitting.

• What knitting notion can you not live without?

Stitch markers, especially on the more complicated patterns.

• Do you have a favorite design (of your own)?

Rise from the Ashes. I like it enough that I've made two of them.

• Do you have an under-appreciated design?

I would probably have to go with the Winter's Ward Dragon Cowl.

• What was your favorite thing that you knit in 2015 that you did not write the pattern for?

I'm currently halfway through a Military Jacket sweater. I love how it's knitting up, I just need to be able to set aside the time to finish it!

• What is your knitting or designing resolution for 2016?

I would like to release a new double-knit sweater pattern, this time with a cardigan style and less-fluffy sleeves.

10 Quickie Questions:
Neutrals or Brights? Neutrals
Metal or Bamboo? Both
Felt-able wool or super wash? Superwash
Color work or cables? Color work
Solids or tonals? Solids
Fun fur or ruffle yarn? Fun fur
Self-striping or variegated? Self-striping
Scarves or shawls? Scarves
Garter or Stockinette? Stockinette
Dpns or magic loop? Magic Loop

You can find more Tania on:
Tania's Knitting Blog

Remember that it's not too late to participate in any of the Indie Design gift-along KALs with one of Tania's patterns, or any pattern from a participating designer!  Not sure if the pattern you are working on was written by a participating designer?  Just go to this thread, click on "search this topic" at the top of the message board, then enter the designer's Ravelry name (for example, mine is "colie75") in the "written by" field, then click "search this topic".  If your designer is participating, his or her name will pull up the post that shows the patterns that designer had on sale for the first week of the gift-along.  But any purchased pattern, not just the sale patterns, is eligible for entering in the finished object prize thread (only projects made from free patterns are ineligible.)  So far there are over 1000 entries!  So join the fun, show off your project, and maybe you'll be one of the many winners at the conclusion of the KALs!  (Deadline for all entries is December 31, 2015.)

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