Designer insights with Heidi Gustad of Hands Occupied

Heidi Gustad is a knitting, crochet and crafts designer who grew up in North Dakota. She first learned to knit at age 8 from a grandmother who saw in her a need for something to keep her busy. She's now a Chicagoan, blogger at and librarian who works with teens. You can keep up with her designs and more by searching your favourite social network for handsoccupied. So we are pleased to bring you the Designer Insights of Heidi Gustad.

Designer Insights - Heidi Gustad

Image Credit: 1) The Fibre Co. 2) Pam Allen 3) Tolt Yarn and Wool 4) Brooklyn Tweed 5) Nice and Knit

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1) In your own words describe your unique style and creative aesthetic?

I love color (the bolder the better!), and designing projects that are fun to work on. Why knit something boring or stressful when you can have fun with it?

2) When starting a new project, what is your creative process?

I start with a sketch and a concept for how to execute a piece’s construction. While it’s not the most efficient, my process beyond the initial concept is all about trial and error.

3) Out of the creative people you have worked with, who is it that you respect and admire the most?

The sort of people I respect most are those who work very hard and very smart, no matter what their field. Simply learning to knit or crochet requires some tenacity. When I find a designer who can marry the creative aspects of designing with the ability to execute and promote a finished pattern (a.k.a. a significant amount of time management skills and discipline), I’m completely impressed.

4) When looking for inspiration is there a particular thing you do to get inspired?

My inspiration comes from a variety of sources. By day, I’m a librarian, so I’m all about research, which ranges from watching TV or taking a walk to checking out archival materials.

5) What has brought you to this point in your career? And what is your advice for people looking to follow in your footsteps?

Combining social media marketing skills with my design work is definitely how I’ve gotten to this point. Put yourself out there and take good photos! Pick up the latest books and follow blogs about social media for tutorials and current information. Information currency is key! Don’t read social media books more than a couple of years old – information on this subject gets obsolete very quickly.