Friday, February 13, 2015

Let me introduce... Justyna Lorkowska

Hi everyone! Today I am very proud to introduce a designer, who´s patterns I totally love (here, here a here): Justyna Lorkowska! (Ravelry, web). 

One of the Ravelry designer stars was born when her children needed something to wear... Since then she has been designing pretty popular patterns for adults and kids as well and colaborated with many famous yarn manufacturers such as Malabrigo (e-kniha What the Heart Wants)Dream in ColorDe Rerum NaturaSundara Yarn and The Plucky Knitter. You can see and buy all her patterns on Ravelry and her website, some of them she also published in a webzine Knitty. If you are you interested what is she going to do this year, which book she can´t stop reading and what is her former profession, then enjoy the text below, please...

1) Why have you chosen knitting among other handicrafts?

Probably because it's so portable :-) I can also crochet and sew, but crocheting for me means mostly making blankets or hats for my daughter, while using sewing machine with two small kids around is a really hard thing to organize. Knitting is perfect - I can put it in my bag, take it with me wherever I go, and if one of my kids wants me to play with them I just put my WIP away and nothing bad happens to it. Later I can come back to working as if nothing happened.

Antares hat.
Designed by Justyna Lorkowska.
2) Do you have a degree in designing or are you a self-made woman?

Actually I have a degree in English and kindergarten pedagogics. For many years I used to teach English to adults and kids and propably that's why I'm pretty wordy in my patterns. :-) I like when knitters know what is going to happen next. I never got a degree in designing, but I did "design" when I was young, mostly Barbie clothes :-) When I was a teen I loved sewing too.
Everything I know is self-taught. I'm very stubborn and I don't easily get discouraged when I need to rip back - after all it's a part of the process, just like winding yarn or sketching.

3) Are you a professional knitting designer?

I'm not sure if I would call myslef a "professional knitting designer" but knitting designs has definitely become my profession. I used to teach English as I said before and that helps a lot. First of all it helps in communication with other knitters. Being a teacher also taught me to be patient, which is really useful when you're making the same thing for the 5th time :-)

Fickle Heart cardigan.
Designed by Justyna Lorkowska.
4) Are you missing teaching? Could we look forward to any online lessons/ tutorials from you? 

I went to my school to sign up for a language course for me and my old friend asked me if I miss teaching too. To tell you the truth I don't. I'm loving my job a lot. I'm lucky to be working with the most creative and talented people in the world and every day I get to do what I love with people I adore.

As far as online lessons or tutorials go, I'd love to make them and I already have ideas for a couple. However, it's most likely to happen after summer holidays when both my kids go to kindergarten.

5) I have read that you always carry a bag with knitting just in case you can add one more stitch to your WIP. Do you have another useful tips for balancing family and work life?

I'm pretty bad at finding balance, I admit. Since I don't have a sample knitter I make my designs myself and recently I had to stay up late to finish samples and meet the deadline. However, there are a couple of people thanks to whom I'm able to look after my kids and not just type or knit and I'm truly grateful to them.

I heart cables hat. Designed by Justyna Lorkowska.
With 1225 projects it belongs to the most popular kids
hat patterns on Ravelry.
6) What are your knitting plans for 2015?

The first part of 2015 is very busy - I'll be finsihing a couple of collaborations that I started a while back. It will also be very creative and challenging. I'm also planning to travel a bit and meet my knitting buddies. The second part at the moment looks more relaxed and I hope to release a couple of designs that I've been meaning to make for ages.

7) Could you recommend one book every knitter should (have and) read, please?

My most read and cherished books are stitch dictionaries by Barbara Walker I got for my Hubby as a Xmas gift two years ago. They are probably the most read books by me now, so inspiring and not boring at all :-) Also Elizabeth Zimmermann's books are very interesting.

8) What is your favorite fiber/yarn? I mean yarn which you want to knit with over and over?

Mrs. Skyler cardigan. Designed by Justyna Lorkowska.
I think this would be merino. I love that it's so versatile and available in many bases, colors, etc. what's more, I love single ply merino yarns. I know a lot of pepole hate them and say they pill (well, yes they do, but all yarns pill after some time), but that only reminds me that this yarn deserves good care. Finally, I also love wool, especially Rambouillet. You'd think I'd say silk or cashmere? :-) Well, they are ok, but they are not my first choice :-)

Shifting pullover. Designed by
Justyna Lorkowska.

9) You are a Polish, what about knitting in your country? Is it popular there? Here in Czech it is usually connected with a stereotype of an old-fashioned, uggly, baggy, scratchy and non-professional looking garments made by an old grandma...

Oh, here in Poland it's the same. Very often when I say what I do, people look at me with surprise in their faces and say "What? Is that even possible?" Polish knitting industry is developing very slowly and hopefully one day it will be as big as in the Western countries. And yes we also have the same stereotype.

9) Who would you like to read the next interview with? :-)

Hm, I'd love to read an interview with Suvi Simola.

Thank you for talking to me :-)

Thank you for you time, Justyna!