This month, we got to sit down with Trish Hernacki!
She’s the designer of the Tree-T Cowl that we used in our Brioche PDF (read below for a promo code), and she’s just an all-around great knitter and great person. She’s a true Knotions person 🙂
She might be new to some of you, but regardless – read on to learn a little more about her
Tell us a bit more about yourself. Where do you live? Who do you live with? How did you end up there? Where are you from originally?
I live in Columbus, Indiana with my two big rescue mutts, Bruce and Charlie. The where are you from question is difficult for me to answer because I’ve lived in five different states! California, Kentucky, Washington, Montana, and Indiana. I went to optometry school at Indiana University and I stayed because I really liked the area.
Who taught you to knit?
The “How to Knit If You’re a Crocheter” blog post by Mama In A Stitch. I started my fiber arts life as a crocheter. I was really drawn to knitting patterns and would end up frustrated because I couldn’t make them! I tried books and YouTube unsuccessfully but that blog post de-mystified the basics enough for my skills to flourish quickly from there.
You’re a newer designer. What made you want to do knitting design?
Once I gained enough knowledge and skill with my knitting, I began to treat patterns the same way I treat recipes: as guidelines meant to be twisted to my own purposes.
Like taking a hat pattern that’s designed for an average adult head circumference (21-23”) and making it smaller because my head is 19.5”. I did a lot of this because I’d like the way something looked, but I didn’t think it would work for my body.
I was certain I wasn’t the only knitter out there who had this problem, so my solution was to begin designing my own patterns! I also love math and geometry. There’s something so satisfying about translating inches into stitches, turning math into something tangible and wearable.
Do you design full-time or part-time?
I’m a full time optometrist, so my design work is part time. While I love designing, I love caring for my patients even more!
What are your favorite things:
COLORWORK! Mosaic, brioche, striping, intarsia. It’s rare that I work with just one color. I will admit I’m still trying to get more comfortable with Fair Isle (I’m a continental thrower, it’s weird).
Fingering and DK
For what type of project? All fibers serve a particular purpose in my world!
Types of objects (e.g., shawls, hats, etc.)
I have a passion for knitted tops of all kinds!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mostly my every day life. My patients, weightlifting, memories, looking out my window, and yarn.
I’ve looked at a skein of yarn and all of a sudden I know what it’s going to become. There’s a couple skeins of BFL sitting at my LYS right now that are going to be a brioche shawl, they just don’t know it yet 😉
Do you have a design that you think people should give a little love?
My favorite design so far is still my Visual Aura Cowl. I designed it after listening to my patients describe the visual auras that accompany their migraines/ocular migraines.
Can you tell us about your process when you design? I’m curious about your inspiration and how you bring that to life.
Usually choosing my yarn is the first thing I do! Either the yarn brings the idea, or the yarn choice helps me figure out what type of garment the idea will become.
Once I have my idea and my yarn, I turn to my trusty stitch bibles (both paper and virtual) to find the right combination of stitches to bring my idea to life.
Next, the swatch: the single most important part! The swatch allows the idea to become a pattern through math! Once all the theoretical calculations and grading for multiple sizes are done, I work up a sample, write out the pattern, tech editing, testing, and voila!
What is your nemesis? The thing that makes you want to run and hide when you think about it.
Drawing schematics!! I’m not a good enough artist to do them by hand, and Inkscape is REALLY hard to figure out!
What does a typical Trish-day entail?
Wake up at 6:30, get ready and head to work to see my first patient at 8:00.
I go home at 1:00 for lunch and hang out with my pups (and usually knit a little) for an hour.
After work at 5, I spend some quality time with my barbell and lift weights for an hour. I catch up on emails and social media over dinner.
After dinner is design time: I typically have a weekly to do list of design-related activities to work on like swatching, pattern writing, social media planning, etc.
Around 9 is my designated ME time. My phone gets put away, I hop in bed with my tea and knit for an hour while listening to an audiobook.
Other than knitting and designing, do you have any other creative endeavors?
I sew project bags. And I guess you could call this creative: I create new and interesting dishes to compete in our local Big Green Egg barbecue competitions semi-annually!
Do you have a stash? Or if you buy it you make it up pretty quickly?
Oh jeeze. See photo 😊
Where can we find you online?
I’m most available on these platforms:
And we also heard that you’re offering a Promo Code to Knotions readers!
From Jody: Thanks so much for giving us a bit of a look into your world!
I’m not sure if I’m more impressed by the fact that you’re an Optometrist IN ADDITION to a knitter and designer, or that you have such an awesome appreciation and respect for Math!
Ok fine – the Math wins. Because, well, Math.