World Crafters are people who make things in different parts of the world. Some turned their hobby into a profession, some are balancing a day job with small crafty business, some chose to keep their hobby and just enjoy making, creating and giving.
Please, welcome our first World Crafter – Zhanna, aka Jannetta, from Lárissa, Greece!
Lárissa,the capital and largest city of the Thessaly region of Greece. It is a city of history, architecture and beautiful nature. Our first World Crafter, Zhanna, is originally from Ukraine, but Greece became her new found home where she lives and creates spectacular handmade garments.
I have been following a career of this beautiful and gifted woman for quiet a while and Zhanna never stops surprising me with her talent. Zhanna turned her hobby into profession and created Veronica Filina, a label of handmade luxury knitwear. I was very happy to chat with Zhanna and ask her a few questions that we, knitters, are always interested in.
How did you start knitting?
I remember it very vividly! All my childhood I was wearing sweaters knit by my Mom, maybe because of that I always loved yarn and knitwear. It was my mother who taught me to knit when I was just a girl. I remember I even finished a couple of scarves then.
Once, when I was a little bit older, 12 maybe, I saw a cable vest in one of the Knitwear Catalogs. This catalog came all the way from Finland, it was a precious gift for my Mom from her friend. Everybody who grew up in the Soviet Union would understand what a treasure it was!*
*Note: Zhanna is talking about the time when Ukraine was a part of the Soviet Union. I mentioned the situation in the Soviet Union in one of my old posts – ABC of Knitting. At this time it was almost impossible to buy anything in stores. The shelves were practically empty, you had to stand in lines for hours and hours, sometimes even days to buy clothes or furniture. Even the amount of food you could buy was limited, forget about good yarn and knitting patterns! So, I am sure Zhanna’s Mom was fascinated with this booklet from Finland – it was a “window” to Europe and everything that it had to offer.
I knitted this vest for my Mom just by picture, without any pattern. After that I made a couple of sweaters and… stopped. Though I was still in love with yarn and knitting, I hadn’t knit a single item in 15-16 years! At some point I even forgot that I could knit. My current knitting story started 9 years ago when I was spending a freezing winter in Canada. I was casually browsing the Internet and saw a sweater. And all of a sudden my hands remembered… Since then I became addicted to knitting and never stopped again. By the way, that sweater was never finished 🙂
How did hobby become a profession for you?
By pure accident. One girl saw my works in the Internet, wrote me an email and asked me to make something for her. She became my first client. It was 4 years ago.
Once I read a piece of advice from a professional knitter – “If you don’t want to lose your hobby, don’t turn it into profession”. What do you think about it?
Well, as for me, I still look at my work as a hobby. And it doesn’t matter if I am knitting a new design or making the same dress for the fifth time. I just love doing it!
What is the best and the most difficult part of your work?
The best – creating a new design! The most difficult – keep knitting what I’ve started when my head is exploding with dozens of new designs and ideas!
One of the most difficult questions for crafters who want to turn their hobby into something more – how to estimate your work?
Handwork is a luxury. And it shouldn’t be cheap. But at the same time not all handwork can be expensive, there are so many factors to think about – the quality of the final product, how time and work consuming it is, the quality and the price of the materials… All of this should be taken into account before you put the price on the final product.
What inspires you? How does your creating process looks like?
At the moment I live in Greece. This country is the inspiration itself – nature, history, architecture… It’s definitely my main source of inspiration. My creating process can be completely different in each design. Sometimes I make a sketch and follow it, but as I knit or crochet my fantasy can get out of control 🙂 It often happens that the final object has very few details in common with the initial design. Sometimes I plan just a part of a garment and keep knitting until the puzzle comes together.
Do you have a design that you are most proud of?
Proud of, hmm… I can’t say that I am proud of… Really, I am just knitting and loving it! But there is one design that is very special to my heart. Atlantis Dress, my favorite.
It’s funny, I was going to knit a completely different dress, but made a mistake in the stitch pattern. When I got it, it was too far already, so I just kept knitting. After finishing the skirt, I realized that it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to make and put the dress away. After some time I found it in a closet, put it on and… fell in love! Finished it in a blink of an eye and still wear it! This dress is my top seller, I’ve lost count how many times I knitted it for my customers!
And now, yarn chatting, of course! What is your favorite?
The quality of the yarn is very important to me. I work only with natural fibers of the best quality. My favorite are silk and cashmere. I absolutely love Italian yarn brand Loro Piana.
How big is your stash?
Honestly I don’t like “overstashing”. But right now I have enough yarn for several years of knitting 🙂
Do you have a lot of WIPs?
Yes, always.I love working on several things at the same time, knitting one, putting it aside, coming back to the first one and so on…
Do you have a favorite color?
It’s hard to choose one. Everything depends on the mood and the season. But if to choose – lilac shade, it always draws my attention.
What is your favorite knitting place?
At the computer 🙂
Is there something that you learned from knitting and crochet?
Definitely – patience!
Dear Zhanna! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your work on my blog! You are a true inspiration!
My personal favorite dress is Baroque, a hand-knitted silk dress with pearls embellished yoke. It is just breathtaking…
Look at these lovely pearls masterly intertwined into the lace pattern! True masterpiece!
I know it’s a tough choice, but what is your favorite dress from Zhanna’s collection?