Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tina Barrett Knitted Dinosaurs

We recently had the opportunity to do a blog interview with Tina Barrett, the clever designer behind the adorable book "Knitted Dinosaurs". We just love how cute these guys are--perfect for the little ones in your life...or even your dino-loving friends! Here is what Tina had to say about her book, knitting, and life in the UK:

JBW- Can you give us a description of Knitted Dinosaurs for our readers who might be new to you and your work?

Tina- Knitted Dinosaurs. How to describe it? Hmmmm…..Fifteen well known scary dinosaurs which are simple to knit and assemble with loads of scope for you to stamp your own personal mark on their fearsome
identities.

"Stegosaurus"
Photo courtesy of STC Craft
JBW- What was the inspiration for the book?

Tina- I cannot tell a lie, my publishers GMC asked me to do it. It was their original idea but having said that, I had total control over the type of dinosaurs featured and also the design input. My five year old daughter, Lily at the time, was totally obsessed with dinosaurs and wanted to keep every single beast that came off the needles. I had to explain they were going on a long trip to be photographed but that when they came back home, she could definitely have them for her bedroom.

JBW- Do you have a favorite design (or designs) from the book that you’d like to highlight for us? What makes this design(s) your favorite?

"Ankylosaurus"
Photo courtesy of STC Craft
Tina- Personally, I love the cute Pterodactyl but everyone I talk to seems to have a different favourite which I take as a great compliment. My eldest daughter loves the big Diplodocus, Lily loves the Triceratops and loads of folk love the Steggie the Stegasaurus.

"Triceratops"
Photo courtesy of STC Craft
JBW- As a designer and author do you have any advice for those folks out there who are just starting to design on how to make a living doing what they love? Have confidence in your work. Approach magazine editors and ask if they are looking for new submissions and if so what type (ie: accessories, socks, garments). If they are positive, send in some sketches (we are not talking Leonardo Da Vinci, just a clear thumbnail of the shape and idea of your design) together with a swatch. You will probably be surprised at how enthusiastic they are about your work. Once you have negotiated and completed one design job, they will probably ask you for more and you can then start building on these foundations.

"Parasaurolophus"
Photo courtesy of STC Craft
JBW- What kinds of future projects are on the horizon for you?

Tina- I think I may be taking it a little easier this year, actually. I wrote two books last year (The Sewn Nursery and Knitted Dinosaurs) in addition to my usual load of design work for magazines and yarn companies. I reached a point where I actually wanted to burn my needles (yes I was that maxed out!). I kicked back at the beginning of this year and am now just finding the joy in knitting again. I am currently designing four children/baby knits for Blacker Yarns which is something I am really enjoying plus my usual design work for magazines such as Knit Today and Lets Knit.

JBW- Now, let's get a bit more personal! We'd love to know a little bit more about you! For example, where did you grow up?

"Velociraptor"
Photo courtesy of STC Craft
Tina- In sleepy rural Devon which is sited right down at the bottom of England on the sticky-out leg bit.

JBW- What time do you start work?

Tina- I have to get my youngest to school and then vacuum the house, shove washing in the machine and sort dinner for that evening first so I usually manage to get to my desk around ten thirty and work on till about three when it’s time to pick up Lily and get stuck into the evening round of household chores. See, it’s not all glamour.

"Diplodocus"
Photo courtesy of STC Craft
JBW- Do you prefer coffee or tea?

Tina- Coffee but it’s always decaff.

JBW- Tell us about your previous life—you know, before designing…

Tina- I was originally a hairdresser before I gave that up to have my four children. Then, I wrote children’s books for Working Partners (Animal Ark, Midnight Library) before developing my knitting career which began as a hobby.

JBW- What is your favorite hobby?

"T-Rex"
Photo courtesy of STC Craft
Tina- My favourite hobbies are knitting and sewing which is the expected answer but true, none the less. I am currently sewing curtains and cushion covers for our VW campervan which I am
soooo excited about!

JBW- What is your dream job?

Tina- A children’s collection for Rowan.

JBW- A little known fact about you…

Tina- I worked as a man’s barber years ago and I love trimming and shaping beards and moustaches! Bizarre but true.

JBW- Your favorite book?

Tina- Three men in a boat by Jerome K Jerome. It makes me laugh out loud every time I read it.

JBW- What was the last crafty project (knitting or other) that you created?
Tina, in her craft room.
Photo courtesy of Tina Barrett

Tina- A new set of sewn cushion covers for the front room- a mix of fun fur, flowers and cupcakes. It may not sound great but it does work- honest.

JBW- If you be any animal (besides human), what would you be and why?

Tina- A cat. They have their owners trained for their ultimate convenience if you ask me. Waited on hand and foot- what a life.

JBW- Favorite possession?

Tina- Our VW Campervan. It has flowers all over it. You can’t help smiling when you are riding in it. People always wave and smile at you too.

Thanks so much to Tina for granting us the interview! It was so much fun getting to know you and hear all about "Knitted Dinosaurs" and your other projects! To read more about Tina's work, be sure to check out her website: http://www.tinabarrett.biz/homepage.html. Also, you can view all of her designs on her Ravelry designer page: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/tina-barrett. Lastly, you can see more of Tina's Knitted Dinosaurs in the "I Love Dinosaurs" group on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/i-love-dinosaurs/1961370/1-25


To win a copy of Knitted Dinosaurs, please leave us a comment on this post telling us what prehistoric pal you would knit first! We will select a random winner and announce it in next Wednesday's blog post. You have until 11pm (PST) on Tuesday, 7/17 to enter! Be sure to check back here to see if you've won!


I hope you all have a great rest of your week, and happy knitting!
Kristen

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