Today, we are delighted to feature a new pattern and an interview by Lori Versaci of VersaciKnits. Lori's style is classic with a modern twist; she designs the kind of sweaters that will be in one's wardrobe rotation for years to come.
We were excited to see this sweater in person at TNNA this past June. It really is a beautiful sweater!
We wanted to get to know Lori and her process a little better. Here she is to tell us in her own words what her influences are and where she gets her inspiration:
Kelbourne Woolens: What helped you transition from being a knitter to a designer?
Lori Versaci: The short answer is Knitty.com. Since so many newer designers first published in Knitty, it felt like a welcoming, non-threatening place to start. So after 2 years of teaching myself about construction, knitting techniques, pattern grading, yarn properties, etc., I finally felt confident enough to submit what I considered to be my two best designs to Knitty. The rest is history.
Looking back, I entered the hand-knit design world knowing so little, but I am very grateful to Knitty, Amy Singer and her team. Knitty is a wonderful resource for a new designer, offering a framework for getting started: sizing guidelines, a plethora of technique and design articles, and the support of wonderful tech editors and yarn manufacturers. I really have no idea how I would have entered the industry without them.
And, then there is RAVELRY!!! But that really kicked in once I started publishing in earnest.
KW: You've used Meadow and also Savannah for two of your designs. What attracts you to the Fibre Company yarns?
LV: What attracts me to the Fibre Company yarns is the unusual combination of natural fibers (which gives the yarns so much texture and makes for a joyfully tactile knitting experience) and the fantastically rich color (which gives the yarn so much visual depth). These are not your every-day merino hand-dyes, and, for me, that presents a wonderful design challenge: How do you design a garment with a clean, modern, wearable aesthetic that also shows off what, at first glance, seems like a somewhat rough, rustic yarn?
KW: Your designs are all about classic shapes and styling. What are your influences and inspirations?
LV: The inspiration for any one sweater might come from virtually anywhere, but my sense of style I attribute to my mother, Nancy: mother, gallery curator, modern art collector, painter and gardener.
She was always fashion conscious and, while my classmates shopped at the stores in town or in nearby Providence, RI, we went to Boston every fall to buy our school clothes: Bonwit Teller, Filene’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Paraphernalia (for all of our Mod needs)… And this was back in the 70’s when only major department stores carried designer clothes. My sister and I wore Pucci underwear (one never knows when one might be in a traffic accident), Marimekko dresses, Lily Pulitzer bathing suits and patent leather over-the-knee boots! To this day, I snatch the Fashions of the Times section out of the Sunday paper as soon as it arrives!
KW: What design or designing milestone are you most proud of?
LV: Last fall one of my other favorite yarn manufacturers, Shibui, asked me to design their Winter 2013/14 collection. The collection is called FORM and will be introduced to the public the first week of September. My proudest moment was at The National Needlearts Association meeting in June, when the company raised a full wall - eight feet by eight feet - that consisted of beautiful photographs of the designs. I was totally blown away. I couldn’t believe that I had actually designed those six garments!