This month I’m talking to Tabitha of Tabitha’s Heart. Tabitha is an adventurous knitwear designer as well as a technical editor.
These monthly features of other creative businesses are a way for all of us to get to know these wonderful makers; it has been a long-time interest of mine to explore how other creative people make their way as professionals.
Tabitha has taken part in my A System of Grading course; we are an interesting pair—I who am completely non-math-y, and Tabitha who is all about math!
Q: Tell us who set you on the path to being Tabitha’s Heart, tech editor, and designer.
A: It is a little difficult to narrow down the list of the people who put me on the path to becoming the designer and tech editor I am today. There have been so many who helped me in my fiber journey. But there are three who stand out to me.
First, there is Elizabeth Zimmermann whose books I encountered early in my knitting journey. She taught me to pay attention to my work, to analyze the process, and to fearlessly change a pattern whenever I wanted. While her pithy instructions can be challenging for a beginner, her books encouraged me to think for myself when knitting so EZ started me on my designing journey.
Next, there is Kate Atherley whose book Pattern Writing for Knit Designers completely changed my thinking about knitting patterns. Kate taught me how to translate a series of meandering notes into a set of instructions that someone else could follow. She showed me the importance of clear and well-written knitting instructions, which helped me develop my own pattern writing style and, in turn, put me on the path to becoming a tech editor.
The third person who was pivotal to Tabitha’s Heart business is Joeli Kelly. Her tech editing classes took my natural affinity for words and numbers (which I like to think of as my nerd superpowers) and honed them into a new career. Thanks to Joeli, I now spend my days helping other knitting designers make their patterns the best they can be. Talk about a great reason to wake up in the morning!
Tabitha, this is such an interesting blend of characters!
Q: Tell me what drives you to do these things?
A: My designing is driven by my utter fascination with yarn. I am flabbergasted that you can take a simple piece of string and a couple of sticks and turn it into something beautiful and useful. Designing is all about the feel of the yarn, the texture of the stitches, and the fun of discovering something new when you combine stitches in a different way. When designing, it is the journey that motivates me more than the destination.
My tech editing is driven by the desire to help others and to return something to the community that has supported me for so long. I have worked with some wonderful tech editors who have patiently helped me to become a better pattern writer. Now, it is my turn to offer that same support to other designers. I think of myself as a partner with the designer. My strengths can fill in where the she has a weakness and together we can create a pattern we are both proud of.
Q: Is there a place that is meaningful to your work or how you work?
A: My little farm is the place that anchors me and makes work meaningful. It grounds me while still allowing me the space to grow. When I get stuck on a project, I can wander around my garden, have a chat with my chickens, or enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Then, I can come back to the problem with renewed energy. I love that my business allows me to work from my front porch swing. The tinkling of the wind chimes, the clucking of the chickens, and the rustling of the leaves provide me the gentle encouragement to carry on.
Q: Please tell me what is going on with Tabitha’s Heart now, and any special upcoming projects you have.
A: I have a few special things on the horizon. I am making some changes to my tech editing newsletter – converting it from a monthly format to a biweekly one. Now each issue will be more focused on a single topic. I think this focus will make the information more immediately useable to the designer. I am also updating the Tabitha’s Heart website to give a little more focus on my tech editing and I am adding some new resources for designers that should be pretty cool.
This doesn’t mean I’ll stop designing! I will still be designing, when I am not tech editing. Be looking for a Faroese-style shawl pattern in February and more patterns throughout the year.
Find and Follow Tabitha & Tabitha’s Heart
Find and follow Tabitha and Tabitha’s Heart on social media…
Join her Designer Newsletter here
Join her Knitter Newsletter here
Instagram – @tabithas.heart
Facebook – @tabithas.heart.design
Twitter – @tabithaknits
Pinterest – @tabithasheart
Ravelry – @tabitha
The best way to keep up-to-date with Tabitha is through her newsletter.
If you’re a knitter, sign up here for her Knitter Newsletter and receive the latest pattern updates and exclusive subscriber discounts.
If you’re a designer, sign up here for her Designer Newsletter and receive your free copy of Tabitha’s 5 Easy Ways to Save Money on Tech Editing, plus regular pattern writing tips and designer resources.