Our World Crafter, Alisa, is taking us to Moscow today!
Moscow, the capital and the biggest city of Russia. The city that never sleeps… It is a place of beautiful architecture, art galleries and museums, countless theaters and… yarn stores.
Alisa, a 20 year old student, lives, studies, knits and crochets in this big megalopolis, and she surely has found her place here! Her Instagram page @alisa_knitting has more than 20 000 followers and every single handmade item she puts online is sold in the matter of minutes. Alisa balances her student life and successful business masterly! I really appreciate her openness about ups and downs of handmade business in this interview!
How did you start knitting?
My Mom taught me how to knit and purl when I was 11 or 12 years old. And I, struggling with every single stitch, knit my very first blue scarf!
Is knitting your full-time job or you balance it with something else?
I am a student at the university, my major has absolutely nothing to do with knitting – I study foreign languages. But the university played an important part in my knitting journey – there I met my friend, who actually inspired me to knit. Once I saw a half-knit sweater that she had at home and… my heart skipped a beat! Something got me – I wanted to knit and knit and knit… I covered my friends with hats, mittens and scarves!
How did knitting become something more than just a hobby for you?
It were my friends who gave me an idea to share my knits online. I would never have thought that I will be able to knit for so many people! Honestly at first I was a little bit shy and scared to show my work. A couple of years ago handmade things weren’t that “hot” and appreciated as they are right now. And yes, I had my fears that nobody will like it, nobody will support me… There were some people who were skeptical about my knitting aspirations… To be honest, I was a little bit skeptical myself. I couldn’t even imagine it to be what it is right now! I was just knitting for the sake of knitting, because I loved it so much. Once I decided to make a leather label with my name to put on my knits. Well, this was a beginning of my brand “Alisa”
I wonder if something shifted in your attitude to knitting when the transition hobby-profession happened?
As for me I love the feeling of creating beautiful and modern knits for women! One of the most favorite parts of my work is to receive warm comments, pictures and lots of “thank you”. Making others just a little bit happier makes me happy! I still see knitting as my hobby and I really hope it will be with me for a long time! It’s absolutely amazing to have the opportunity to support yourself by doing something that you love so much.
What is the best and most difficult part of your knitting journey?
The best is to create something new. Especially when you vision and everything you planned come to life! The most difficult part… Well, I want to be honest. Lately I encountered some professional knitters who started to treat me as an obstacle to their success, as an opponent. Which is really sad… But I am determined to keep going and look at the bright side of my knitting journey!
What was the most time-consuming project for you?
My knitted coat design took me a lot of time… So much had to be thought through – the fit, the seamless construction, the stitch pattern. Every single detail is important to me! But all this time and effort were so worth it – now it is one of my most popular designs!
What is your favorite technique to use in your knits?
Cables and cables and cables! The diversity of cables just blows my mind, LOVE them!
How do you plan your designs?
Usually I am nurturing my ideas for a long time. But as soon as the idea is shaped in my head, I just have to put it in action, right here and now!
What is your favorite piece in your knitwear collection?
I love my collection of hats, cowls and mittens! Sometimes I even meet women, who wear my knit accessories, on the streets of Moscow. I remember how I was stuck in a traffic jam, and there was a girl in the car next to me who was wearing my hat! The best feeling in the world! 🙂 And, of course, I love the coat. I keep three of them for myself at home 🙂
Is it hard for you to put a price on your final product?
I feel like the handwork is being much more appreciated right now. Not everybody understands that, unfortunately. Sometimes I even get the messages where people express their irritation by the price of the product. But mostly people are very understanding, they appreciate all the time and energy that is being put into the final product.
You live in one of the biggest and populous cities in the world. Are you inspired by Moscow?
Honestly I am definitely NOT inspired my Moscow. It’s a big city where people get “lost”. But my very own hand knit hat warms me and my heart in this huge megalopolis.
Are you guilty of yarn stashing? 🙂
I try to buy yarn only if I know that I am going to use it. I plan my projects beforehand. I don’t like to keep a big stash, though I must admit it’s not easy to resist all the yarn temptations out there 🙂
How many projects are usually on your needles?
I usually cast on several projects. This way I will never be bored!
Your knits are always so colorful! Which color do you prefer for yourself?
It depends… Usually I prefer pastel shades, but sometimes I crave for color!
What is your favorite place to knit?
My sofa with a sleeping cat on it!
You are 20 years old, but you have already achieved so much! How do you see yourself years later?
Who knows what lies ahead… All I know is that I really want to keep knitting! One of my dreams is to open a small knitwear store where people can come and touch and try on handmade things.
What “gifts” did you get along your knitting journey?
I’ve met so many amazing people who play a very important part in my life. I am deeply grateful to all and each of them for their support!
Dear Alisa, thank you so much for this interview!
Have a nice crafty weekend!