From the amirisu magazine archive:
Designer in Focus - Veera Välimäki
Six years have passed since the launch of amirisu magazine. If you notice, the next issue will be the 17th issue. There are many people who became fans halfway through, and the early and out-of-print issues that do not have a printed version are a bit of a fantasy. Therefore, we started a corner to introduce articles randomly from the back number.
Designer in Focus - Veera Välimäki
(Information is at the time of publication. August 2012)
The first designer to be featured is Vera, a popular Finnish knit designer. Amirisu was very interested in how she created one wonderful design after another. Even if you are a hand-knitting designer, there are many designs that are “sold in stores” or “I have seen them somewhere”, but her knit is unique. I can't buy it, so I have to knit it , it's all special. I asked him to find out the secret. I wonder if everyone can feel the excitement.
amirisu: First, an important question (laughs). How did you start knitting? how did you learn
Vera: I was taught by my mother when I was eight years old. When I transferred to a new school in a new town, all my classmates had already learned how to knit. In class, we were supposed to knit a vest, and I couldn't help but worry about how difficult it would be to change the colors. That's why I chose only two colors, blue and red. After all, it was completed five years later!
amirisu: When you first became friends at Ravelry, you weren't designing yet, and you were knitting patterns for various people. What made you want to try designing yourself? What was your first design?
Vera: Actually, before I started designing in earnest, I had been making my own knitwear for a while. After a while, various people asked me for a pattern, so I thought I'd give it a try. And it was the nicest job I've ever had! I feel like I've finally found a job that I'm passionate about.
Shift of Focus
amirisu: Please tell us about your experience when you started designing. What kind of places were difficult?
Vera: Making patterns has become rather natural. However, I've had a bit of trouble with the lace design, and I've been trying not to use it much, and I don't really know how to make charts.
amirisu: What's your favorite thing you've designed so far? Do you have any stories about it?
Vera: There are many, but the most recent ones are probably the ones I'm most attached to. On the other hand, there are also pieces that I myself wear a lot (Golden Wheat, for example), so there are various kinds of favorites.
amirisu: What kind of work did you originally do? Did you study fashion or design?
Vera: I originally studied architecture, not fashion. My time studying architecture was not wasted at all, I learned to see the big picture and see things differently.
amirisu: Is knitting popular in Finland? What do young people think of you?
Vera: I think it's become a lot more popular than it used to be. New yarn shops, designers and dyers are popping up in Finland one after another! I'm really looking forward to it becoming even more popular.
amirisu: Where do you get your inspiration from? How do you come up with ideas when you start designing? Can you tell me about the process?
Vera: Inspiration comes from many places, of course! I usually come up with small details in the design, like pleats or flechage stitches. I always start my design by sketching on paper (sometimes I use paint, I love watercolor!). After that, try knitting a swatch, draw measurements and a knitting pattern in your own size, knit a sample, and so on.
amirisu: What do you like to do besides knitting? How do you spend your days?
Vera : Knitting is my favorite thing and always something I want to do, but I also like taking pictures, drawing and sometimes gardening (I finally got a garden recently!).
amirisu: Do you have a favorite designer?
Vera: Too many! Gudrun Johnston, Joji Locatelli and Heidi Kirrmaier are my favorites!
amirisu: How do you manage your design work while doing household chores and raising children? Is your family supportive of knit design and knitting?
Vera: Design work is flexible! It's easy to stop in the middle and start again. But yeah, I love my job so I try to take as much time as possible. Sometimes I just want to knit all day without doing housework. I think my family accepts me for who I am.
amirisu: Your photos are always very nice, do you have a fixed photographer?
Vera: Oh, thank you! I shoot most of it myself. I want to get better. I always hope that my friends will model for me. . . I don't really like modeling myself.
amirisu: Thanks for the fun story! I really can't wait to see what he does in the future.