This week, Inspired By is all about Kate Sonnick of Knitscene magazine's Stylespotting column--knitter, blogger, fashionista, and creative chica extraordinaire! She was so much fun to talk to and get to know a little better! ♥
Faye: Most of us probably know you best from your Stylespotting column in Knitscene magazine, or from your knitting & fashion blog, Knitlit. I had to hunt a little to figure out what else it is you do with your creative self! Why don't you start by giving us an overview?
Kate: I worked in ad agencies for a long time as a creative director and copywriter. In 2003, I left to start my freelance gig, Kate Sonnick Creative. I started Knitlit in 2004. The best part about having a blog is I get to write whatever I want about two topics I love: knitting and fashion.
F: How did you get started with Knitscene? What's been most rewarding about being a part of that project?
K: It turned out that the editor, Lisa Shroyer, was a big fan of my blog. She contacted me out of the blue and asked if I'd be interested in developing a style column, which became Stylespotting. The best part about Stylespotting is that I get to be involved in every aspect of the piece from selecting the featured knits, selecting and styling the models (real people, not professional models, btw), directing the photoshoot, and writing the story. It's everything I love to do, all rolled into one assignment.
F: How do you get dressed in the morning? Do you throw on whatever's closest to you and hope it works, or do you put thought into making it stylish?
K: I work out of a studio in my home, so I can wear whatever I want, including my flannel jammies. But I hardly ever do that. I honestly love deciding what to wear, even if I don't see anyone all day besides my dog. Some of my favorite looks come from throwing on one piece and forcing myself to build a look around it. For example, this morning I really wanted to wear these really cool vintage necklaces with orange beads. The beads informed the rest of my outfit, which I kept completely neutral and streamlined.
F: What was it like to launch Kate Sonnick Creative, and what went into making your website look so gorgeous?
K: It helps to have a great graphic designer! My good friend and creative collaborator Chrissy Ortiz designed my site. It was supposed to be my "interim site" until we both had time to put together a "real" website. That was seven years ago!
F: Are there any established fashion designers that you'd really love to see publish some knitting patterns?
K: A girl can dream, can't she? Stella McCartney always has the coolest knitwear, as you'd expect from a proper British girl. And who wouldn't want to see the 411 on Sandra Backlund's otherworldly knit-as-sculpture designs? But it's also fun to look at runway designs and let them inspire you to try new techniques on your own. My Fake-A-Gamo bag was the result of my obsession with a Ferragamo knit bag that cost thousands. I couldn't find a single stitch resource that had anything close to the counterpane stitch on that bag. It led me to a whole community of like-minded knitters who were also interested in decoding the stitch. We eventually did, resulting in a great handbag design inspired by the Ferragamo... and a whole lot of new knitting friends.
F: What fall & winter trends this year make you most proud to be a knitter? Is there any style in particular that is simply begging to be knit?
K: I'm all about slouchy... slouchy snoods, slouchy berets. People are always so impressed when I tell them I made it myself. And they never believe me when I tell them how easy it was. I was also blown away by a fair isle design in Marc Jacobs' fall collection. I'm currently collaborating with jeffsilverman.com on a boot design that features a similar fair-isle knitted panel.
F: You've dabbled in knitwear design yourself, and have a few published patterns on Ravelry. Are you planning to continue pursuing that in the future, and is there anything you'd especially like to design?
K: I've been knitting since I was a kid, but nothing taught me more about the craft than learning to design. My favorite part is the creative process... sketching, dreaming about yarn, swatching, thinking about silhouettes, color, all the touchy-feely stuff. The technical aspects of design remind me what a horrible math student I was. So, no, I won't be quitting my day job any time soon! On the blog front, in addition to Knitlit, my friends and I are launching a regional style blog called Lilacs & Lipgloss. This will be my first outside hobby-blogging into the world of professional blogging... so, wish me luck!
F: What's your number one winter craving this year?
K: A perfect vintage camel coat.
F: And, to wrap it all up, what's currently on your needles?
K: Purlbee's "Simple Pleasures", which is (surprise surprise) another slouchy beret!
You can find more about Kate and all her endeavors on Twitter, at her blog, and on her lovely website! And, of course, watch for her column in future issues of Knitscene magazine!
Many, many thanks to Kate for being so sweet about all the questions!