Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Creating Success Worldwide - Amber from What to Make Next?

Welcome to

Creating Success around the World
The worldwide blog hop tour, that introduces you to creative people from all corners of the globe.

Creating my way to Sucess

Every Wednesday our hosts on each continent will introduce you to someone new whose creativity is inspiring!
Here's how you can take this worldwide tour with us:
You can follow all the hosts to support them and keep up to date with the fabulous posts they will share every week.  Then if you are inspired to join, just link up your own blog to make some new international friends.
Remember to leave us a comment when you follow us so we can follow you back!
And of course we'd love if you added our button to your site to help spread the word!
This week's guest is Amber from What to Make Next? in
Wairarapa, New Zealand

Here's Amber......

·What do you create?
I've always been an avid crafter and loved the satisfaction of seeing a completed project on display or in use.  I've tried many different crafts and gone through various craft 'addictions' in the process.  Currently, my favourite craft of choice is knitting and it's mostly clothing for my three girls.

When I first started out knitting, I wasn't happy with how 'homemade' and unfashionable lots of the available commercial patterns were.  I also hated having to sew things together when I was finished.  Eventually, I discovered Ravelry and a whole new world of options were suddenly available.  I found lots of modern patterns and learnt about circular knitting needles which reduced the need for sewing thing together.  But, even this new-found expanse of knitting options seemed to have limitations.  I was constantly having to adjust patterns to suit my style or to fit my girls just right.  This was when I decided that it couldn't be that hard to just make up my own patterns for what I wanted.

·Why do you create?

I love the challenge of designing.  To go from a concept of something to forming the process of construction and then making it into a wearable item is very rewarding.  The best part has been seeing other people knit my designs!  It still makes me nervous everytime I hear of someone using my pattern, wondering what they think of it.


The process of knitwear design starts with a lot of number-crunching and I've always loved maths.  Working out gauge and converting it to stitches needed for each size is fun for me.  I often have to restrain myself when people ask about the designing process or I get a bit carried away explaining it all.  Most people don't want to hear all the finer details, no matter how much I love to talk about it!

What I love the most about it all is how much my family loves what I do.  My girls are always putting in their request for whose turn it is next to have something knitted for them and they wear the things I knit for more than just the photo shoot.  My husband is great with idea suggestions and always gives harsh, honest criticism on my designs.  I have a large supply of multi-aged nieces and nephews that love being models (especially the nephews as I don't have boys myself to model my boy designs) and their mums who love testing the patterns.


·Do you sell your creations? If so, how? Where?

I discovered when working on my first multi-sized pattern, Elisaac, how much work was actually involved in writing a pattern for other people to use.  I think typing it up took me a couple of days!


I was frustrated when knitting other patterns that often there would be too big a jump between sizes and my girls always seemed to fall exactly in the middle, so I didn't want my patterns to be like this.  I try to size all my patterns from 3mths up to 10 years with a size for every year (instead of every second - 2, 4, 6, etc) and even include an 18mth size, so have around 14 different sizes in the one pattern.  I try to keep my prices cheap so the large size ranges makes good value for money.  It has also made me more understanding when buying other patterns from independant desingers, knowing how much work other people put into them as well.

I have all my patterns listed on Ravelry and they are available to purchase through my pattern store there.  Those that aren't members can purchase via the 'buy now' links on My Designs page on my blog.  All payments are made through PayPal and a downloadable pdf link is emailed immediately.


·What mistakes have you made or lessons you have learned?

My mistakes have so far only been silly things where I've miscounted or miscalculated stitches which I notice when knitting up a prototype.  I'm very good at ripping back my work and doing it again!  I get all my patterns test knitted in each size to check for any errors before I put them up for sale.  My testers also give me great feedback on how clear the pattern instructions are.

Every pattern I make is an improvement in the design process from the last one.  Sometimes it might only be in the knitting process - I find a new method of casting on to try or a new buttonhole technique, and sometimes it might be for the designing - I have gone from calculator and paper to spreadsheets for my calculations.  I find that I'm still constantly learning and improving.


·So what's next?
I have a sketch book full of design ideas that will keep me going for months.  I wish I had a clone to do the housework and day job so I could sit and design/knit all day!


I'm currently working on two designs - a cardigan version of my Sweet As... pattern and a new boy's/unisex vest and jumper pattern.  I have a lot of motivation to keep designing - everytime a friend or family member has a baby I want to create them something unique and it usually eventuates into a pattern.  My next pattern, I have the yarn ready and waiting, is specifically for a friend's first baby and will be a sweet little girl's cardigan.

I also have grand ideas of getting into bag pattern designing (sewing patterns) as I've fallen in love with making them.  But that might be a while away yet!

Great answers there from Amber! Do go and visit her lovely blog - see her lovely designs plus the bonus of some fabulous photos of one of my favourite countries - New Zealand!!
 Now that you've seen the talent here in Australasia, here are your hosts for the other continents:

Make sure you visit them all to see the inspiration and creative people
every corner of the world has to offer:
Europe - Yaga @ The Shiny Bubble
The Americas - Suzy @ Suzy's Artsy Craftsy Sitcom
Asia - Janelle @ Of Pinks and Fairy Tales
And don't forget to add your own link below!  It's all about meeting new friends worldwide!


  1. Thanks Jill for hosting and for introducing Amber to us! Knitting is not my cup of tea and i was just overwhelmed by her creations! Good work Amber!

    Readers of Creating My Way to Success, please join me in Month Long Celebration of SKirts @ Sew Skirt September

    Adithi's Amma from Adithi's Amma Sews

  2. Friendly and fun photos. Lovely.


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