Thursday, March 5, 2015

Interview with Designer Pam Powers. Win a Copy of "Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves."

I met Pam Powers at the Needlework Association conference (TNNA) a few years ago and quickly became smitten with her designs. They all have a bit of a surprise element such as a knitted floral embellishment or unusual construction. I recently asked Pam for an inside look into her designer life and her answers to my questions are below.

Her new book "Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves: 24 Extraordinary Designs for Cowls, Kerchiefs, Infinity Loops & More" has just been released and Pam has generously donated a copy to give away.  

What was your path from knitter to designer and what made you start selling your designs?

I started altering patterns to look like garments and accessories I had seen in stores.  From there, it wasn’t much of a leap to start designing from scratch.  People started asking me if I would knit and sell accessories I was wearing, but of course you really can’t charge for the amount of hours invested, so I never went down that path.  I then stumbled across Ravelry, and the rest is history.

You've said that you start with a "theme" when designing, can you give us an example?
Well it could be an outfit—like a slip dress with a cardigan, for example.  I think about what type of knitted accessory would work well with it, probably starting with a shape (maybe an ascot with flowy ends), then apply stitch pattern (probably lace) and yarn (sport or fingering weight).  

Can you share with us the day-to-day life of an independent designer? Do you set aside time each day to work on designs? What about other aspects of the business?

I run the schedule of a stay-at-home mom.  Things are a little easier now that my 17-year-old son has his own car.  But I still drive my 15-year-old daughter around—she trains in a pre-professional ballet program, so it requires a lot of time from both of us.  I can usually squeeze in 4-5 hours of work during the day which is usually business stuff—answering emails and the logistics of pattern sales.  I then design and knit at night, starting at about 10 pm until 2-3 am.  I have been trying to get more sleep lately, which makes this schedule a little more palatable.  I also work pretty extensively over the weekend.  

Where does blogging fit in? Would you advise designers to have a blog?
It doesn’t.  I have to put it in my schedule.  A blog post can take up to 8 hours to produce, and it is not necessary to run my day-to-day business, so it tends to get pushed to the bottom of my list.  

I would advise to have a blog, but you need to have some kind of hook whether it be tricks and tips, a funny outlook or compelling photos.  There’s a lot of competition out there, so it’s hard to get people on board and keep them there.

The photographs on your blog are very artistic and professional looking. How long have you been taking photos? How did you learn?

I’ve been doing photography in some respect for probably over 25 years.  I’ve taken A LOT of photography classes over the last 5 years and have picked up tricks along the way.

Where do you go for design inspiration?

The internet is a great resource.  I look at fashion—different brands and stores.  I love Anthropologie and Free People.  I try to steer clear of looking at other knitwear designers though, so I can stay original.

What is something surprising that has come from being a knitwear designer?

When people ask me to sign something—I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be giving autographs.

What's the most common misconception you run into when you tell people what you do?
When people hear “knitting”, they think it’s a hobby because they can’t wrap their head around the fact that someone could actually do what I do for a living.  

What's on the horizon for Pam Powers Knits?
I’m trying to get a pattern or two out for Spring, then I will be starting to put some patterns together for Fall.  I will have a booth at Vogue Knitting Live Pasadena in April where I will be selling patterns and kits.
Thanks for including me in your blog.  Those were great questions!

Big thanks to Pam for taking the time to share with us. If you want to enter for a copy of the book, leave a comment below before the end of the day Wednesday March 11th with your email address or Ravelry ID. 

Happy Knitting!
Tricia (@CheekyAttitude)


Unknown said...

What a beautiful book. Can't wait to check it out!

Rav ID - slawson
sarah.m.lawson at

Tracey said...

This book looks so lovely! I would love to win.

Tbmccarthy on rav

Dana (DanaRae19 on Ravelry) said...

Lovely book, thanks for the chance to win!

Kelly-ann said...

Liked reading the interview. The photos look so pretty. I'll have to check out her other patterns.

Debbie McPhillips said...

The photos are awesome. I love that gradient checkerboard cowl! Thanks for the interview and the chance to win the book!

Debbie4 on Rav

April said...

The patterns are lovely. I would love to win a copy of the book.
Ravelry - aprilcox26

Sara said...

Checking out the rest of the patterns now--those shown above look great!


Rav ID stretchforever

Barbara said...

I enjoyed reading the interview. I am pretty sure I met Pam several years ago at a lunch during Stitches Etc. in Santa Clara. One of her sweater patterns had just been on the cover of Interweave knits not long before. In any case, the book looks lovely!

Rav ID BarbaraJ

MegR said...

I actually hadn't seen any of Pam's designs until this post. What a really neat take on accessories. I will definitely be adding some of her designs to my queue. Thanks for the great questions you put together. meagan(dot)radford(at)gmail(dot)com.

Melissa said...

Thank you for introducing us to this lovely new book. Must look for it in the book store when I'm there this week.

Diane Ellis said...

Book looks beautiful. Thanks for the chance to have a copy.

susdbella said...

Well thought out variety... Congrats on the new book!