A Look Inside the Design Process with Tonia Barry

I recently enjoyed a virtual cup of coffee with Tonia Barry, a member of Classic Elite's creative in-house design team. What a fun conversation we had! I figure if I am interested in how she goes from concept to garment, our readers maybe interested too! Check out the photos below interspersed with bits of our conversation. 

CEY BLOG - (CEYB): Tell me a bit about your background. When did you learn to knit?  

TONIA BARRY - (TB) I grew up surrounded by women who knit and crocheted. At every family gathering as far back as I can remember my Mom, aunts, and cousins would have their own impromptu knit night. I was interested when I was younger and learned from them but not much ever came of it but a couple of interesting Barbie outfits. After college I really wanted to re-learn but did not live near my family so I went to my LYS and learned there. I also made a friend in my first first class who is still a best friend today. The gifts that come with knitting are numerous!

CEYB:  Were you always interested in design?

TB:  Once I seriously learned to knit, I became hooked on design. I was constantly adapting patterns, so why not create my own?! One thing led to another and I started submitting work to yarn companies and publications. My very first published work was for Classic Elite Yarns -- a little Bolero out of Calliope. 

CEYB:  As a member of the in-house design team, how much inspiration comes from Creative Director Susan Mills and how much from you?

TB:  Susan lays out the number of books and designs we'll create for the upcoming season. Together, we discuss all of the new yarns and select yarn from the continuing collection to use as well. We discuss trends and pin ideas to a group Pinterest board. Then its time to sketch, swatch and develop ideas.  We all reconvene and choose our favorites.

CEYB: "Tonia Barry" is synonymous with cables and texture. What do you know about cables that you to share with others -- why do you use them so frequently?

TB: I love texture and am particularly fascinated by cables. The geek in me really loves creating a good cable chart.

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