As a lifelong knitter and crocheter, The KnittingGuru has created a charming Craftsy Pattern Marketplace store that you simply must see! Her patterns, ranging from a retro crochet sun hats to a zig-zag lace knit scarf, are stunning. So we were thrilled to chat with the KnittingGuru herself to get her views on knitting inspiration, aspirations, and popular patterns.
First we wanted to know how she learned to knit and crochet at such an early age (already when she was four!).
I was so young when I learned to knit and crochet that to me they were a kind of play – What could be more fun than all that bright colored yarn? Actually, I still feel the same way.
My mother and grandmother were both skilled at knitting and crochet as well as other textile arts. My mother always made all of my clothes, her clothes, household linens and curtains. All those left over scraps of fabric and yarn were perfect for my dolls and dollhouse.
I was curious and insistent so she taught me the knitting and crochet skills that were a central part of her life. It’s interesting to me that I have no memory of whether I first learned to knit or crochet. I seem to have always been doing both. In fact, I still use both crafts equally and very often in the same project. That’s why you’ll see many knitted pieces I’ve made that are edged with crochet. Knitting generally has more flow and drape and crochet more structure so I choose what works best in a particular piece. What we learn to do when we’re very young often becomes so ingrained that it leads to emotional rather than intellectual decisions.
We wanted to know more about her start and were curious what some of the first projects she tackled were.
The first things I made were clothes and blankets for my dolls. I distinctly remember a blanket made up of different colored squares, each in a different stitch I was learning. Perhaps this is why I find making swatches absorbing rather than a chore. I remember being fascinated by the way the different stitches looked. I was so entranced that I spent a lot of time just looking at the squares. I remember my mother saying I’d never finish the blanket if I didn’t keep knitting instead of gazing. Of course, two things resulted from this: 1) I never did finish that blanket, and 2) I became a knitwear designer!
When I got older, I was given a potholder loom and made so many potholders I think all the adults in my life must have wanted to run away when they saw me coming with gifts of yet more potholders. This is probably why later in life I became a hand weaver, making tapestries, clothing and accessories.
As my dexterity improved, I became interested in thread crochet, a love I still have. I designed costumes for 10 inch dolls that reflected my enthusiasm for fairy tales. Later still, I used very fine threads to make crocheted lace edgings for handkerchiefs. When my mother died, I found a drawer full of these in one of her bedroom chests and was amazed at the patience I had as an elementary school aged child.
We were also interested to find out what brought her to Craftsy's platform.
I’m always looking for good sites online to learn even more about the fiber arts and to present my work. I found Craftsy when it was still quite new and I’m extremely glad I did. It’s my favorite place to sell my patterns and a website I go to frequently just to keep up with what’s new in crafts. I love the wide range of skills presented at Craftsy and seeing all the great courses that are offered. As an aside, I’ve been baking bread for many years and was delighted to find that you’re offering an artisanal bread making class to spread the word about such a satisfying activity.
We absolutely love her lace knitting patterns- many of which are scarves. So we were curious to know more about her inspiration and favorites.
I really do love lace knitting. I enjoy crocheting lace too, so look for lacy crochet patterns in the future. Each piece I make has a different source of inspiration. Sometimes I want to try a new stitch variation or combination. Often the yarn itself seems to call out for a particular technique, shape or drape. I’m an avid gardener, so many of my pieces are inspired by flowers, trees and shrubs. The sky, the sea, climate and animals also prompt visions of fiber interpretations.
The inspiration for my Delicate Lace Scarf was my forsythia bushes in spring. I bought some beautiful, bright yellow wool that immediately reminded me of forsythia blossoms and prompted me to use a lace stitch that looks a lot like those dainty flowers.
I always have trouble deciding on a favorite piece. It’s almost like being asked which of my three children is my favorite. There’s really no answer to that question. However, among the lace pieces that I currently have in my Craftsy shop, I do find my Heart Lace Scarf to be very appealing. I like it so much that I made myself two of them. The scarf pictured in the pattern has been my favorite winter scarf for several years. It’s toasty warm in Merino wool worsted and I always get compliments when I wear it.
We were also curious which of her lace knit patterns would be best for a beginner to tackle.
The name of my Beginner’s Luck Lace Scarf was not an accident. It’s really shockingly easy to knit. The pattern includes a crocheted clasp that is also easy to make, but the scarf is lovely even without the clasp. When I was about halfway through knitting it, my teenage daughter came into the room and announced, “That’s my next birthday present, right Mom?” She got that scarf of course and soon asked me if I thought she could make it for her best friend’s birthday. She knew how to knit and purl, but was worried that the lace would be too hard and the yarn too fine in gauge. I let her in on the big knitting secret: simple lace is faster to knit than stockinette! All those holes mean fewer stitches are needed to make a similarly sized piece. I’m happy to report that she made that scarf in a weekend.
Her lovely cowls patterns piqued our interest. So we were curious whether she finds that they're more popular than scarves or similar.
Popularity is so changeable. The current rage is for infinity or circle scarves that are similar to oversized cowls. I supposed that some knitters find the fact that you can do them quickly on circular needles has a lot of appeal. I sometimes make those, but I’m getting really tired of seeing them, especially those bulky ones. I prefer cowls that may be worn many ways: as scarves, capelets and wraps. Many of my cowls, that I haven’t made patterns for yet, feature both knitting and crochet as well as unusual brooches so that they can be fastened in a wide variety of ways.
And finally we wanted to know what her most popular pattern has been and whether that came as a surprise to her.
At Craftsy, my Delicate Lace Scarf is my most popular pattern and it was a big surprise. It was so popular that it made it to the Top 20 Craftsy Knitting Patterns for over a week.
The big surprise was that my husband and I were on vacation in Paris at the time and I really wasn’t spending any time at the computer. Who needs the computer when you’re in the most beautiful city in the world? We got back to the hotel from a long, hard day of sitting in cafés, eating delicious food, and strolling through gorgeous neighborhoods and parks. When I went to check my emails, I found that I’d sold a huge number of patterns for this one scarf. I’m still not sure what prompted those sales that day.
This went on for several more days before I noticed that the pattern was in the Top 20 list. Once a pattern gets there it seems to generate a lot more purchases. Maybe I’ll just move to Paris!
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us KnittingGuru! Readers, be sure to head on over to The KnittingGuru's Craftsy Pattern Marketplace store to check out her beautiful patterns.