Interview series 9 – Tina Tse

Interview series 9 – Tina Tse

In 2017 we ran a survey of Stitchmastery users and one response particularly caught our imagination – someone told us they would like to hear from other Stitchmastery users and how they make use of the software. We’re delighted to bring you a series of interviews with designers, tech editors, magazine editors and teachers – we hope you enjoy reading them!

Interviewee – Tina Tse


1) When did you start designing? Could you give us a potted history of your knitty and designing background?

My grandma taught me to knit young, can’t even remember the age! Then during college, I fell in love with knitting again. I actually got my degree in fashion knitwear design so my background is a lot in machine knitting, industrial knit machine programming, knit textiles fundamentals, stitch analysis, different kinds of knitting, etc. I started designing hand knits in college, for projects or for myself. It was mostly designing as I was knitting, didn’t take down notes or write out my ideas. I only started writing knitting patterns a year and a half ago! I worked as a knitwear specialist for 6 years in the fashion industry, helping designers and companies execute their ideas into knitwear. Now I work in the sporting goods industry, designing knit textiles with plastic yarn and programming my designs onto industrial knitting machines.

2) Do you have any recurring sources of inspiration or unusual muses?

My inspiration comes from everywhere. Sometimes it’s a color, sometimes it’s a stitch or swatch, sometimes it’s a place or word or person or concept.

Woman wearing knitted jumper in a gradient of blues, standing amongst trees

3) When you have an idea, do you always work to a set workflow (eg swatch-knit-chart / chart first then knit) or does your approach change with each design?

I always start with a swatch. A lot of the times what is in my head doesn’t execute well when it actually gets down to knitting. Even with sketching, the idea might not execute well when knitting. After trying to figure out how to knit the idea, then I lay out charts or schematics of the shape and layout of knitting directions.

4) Can you tell us a bit more about how your main career influences your work in the hand-knitting side of things?

My day job working with industrial knitting machines to create a specific product is very technical and very calculated. Every stitch, every gauge tension, every millimeter makes a difference in the product for functionality and performance. So when it comes to designing and creating for hand knits, there’s a lot less restrictions and more creativity. My background in knitting as a profession rather than a hobby changes how I design and approach a project for sure. It’s a lot about how to present a concept or design as much as the design or knit piece itself. For my hand knitting designs, I try my best to use it as a way to express myself and my creativity and kind of let the imagination flow rather than being confined to any set of rules.

Close up photo showing a blue textured sweater on a woman

5) What made you choose to use Stitchmastery? Is there a particular feature you use most regularly or couldn’t do without? And is there anything you wish Stitchmastery could do?

I use Stitchmastery mostly for charts! Cable charts, lace charts, makes it much easier. I use to make my charts on Photoshop and it took way too long compared to what I can do on Stitchmastery.

6) Please tell us about your latest publication or next exciting project!

I have a lot of exciting projects coming up with sweaters! My next design coming out is a top down sweater [Luna Rising Sweater, pictured, will be released on 20th May]! Very excited because it is my first top-down sweater design. My goal in designing this year is to make them as size inclusive as possible.

You can find Tina on Instagram as @tina.say.knits and her designs are available from Ravelry at ravelry.com/designers/tina-tse.

Asian-American woman wearing a knitted jumper in a gradient of blues

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