Hi Karen! Could you tell us a bit about yourself and how you start designing?
I am a home daycare provider and mom to two boys who were adopted from China.
For a long time, I mostly knit square things (scarves, stoles, dishcloths). I was getting bored and a friend told me that shaping wasn’t that hard. I knit a pair of baby booties and I was hooked!
One day I was washing dishes with my Chinese Waves dishcloth when it hit me that the slipped stitch pattern would make and snuggly warm hat. It was like a puzzle making the pattern flow through the decreases, and I love a good puzzle. I published the pattern as a fund raiser for Love Without Boundaries (a charity that works with orphans in China).
How would you describe your style?
Crazy hand-knit lady? LOL. Hopefully not. I would call my style is classy sassy mom – no mom jeans, though.
Is there any pattern you were particularly proud of designing?
I love my Punto Mitts and Mittens pattern. It was a challenge to figure out how to continue the stitch pattern through the gusset and I love how it looks. I also like that the pattern includes a mitten option for extra flexibility.
The most challenging part is figuring what ideas to develop. I have a sketch book full of ideas and don’t know which to work on first. As a busy mom, it’s also a challenge to find time to turn a idea/FO into a real pattern.
The most rewarding part is seeing other people knitting my designs. It’s so cool to see how other knitters choose colors and their own ideas in knitting my designs.
I’m inspired by how stitch names and knitting terms translate to real life feelings or happenings. My Crossing Paths Mitts were inspired when I had to knit a mitten for a mitten swap (a partner and I swapped right hand mittens). I wanted to convey that I was so happy our paths had crossed and when I found a cable called Crossing Paths, I found inspiration.
I love cables. There is something very cool about how simply knitting stitches out of order creates twists and turns. Learning to cable without a needle revolutionized my cable knitting Now cables are as fast as straight knitting for me.
And what about colors, is there any particularly shade that stands out?
I love blues right now. Icy or deep, blue is speaking to me.
If you had the opportunity to learn a new skill what would it be?
I would love to learn steaking, but I’m just intimidated to cut into my knitting!
What’s your favorite item to design?
I am on a bit of a fingerless glove and mitten kick. And since they make such nice, quick gifts, it’s a great time of year to be knitting them.
If you had to design a different kind of item what would it be?
I have several shawl ideas I want to develop, but they haven’t risen to the top of the queue yet.
Regarding the knitting world, what’s your favorite season?
I love cold winters. It’s a great time to have a pile of wool on your lap as you’re knitting.
If you had to choose one pattern from this GAL to knit or crochet which one would you pick?
I have already knit an Eskimo Hat (by Ellen Anderson – lnand) and a Sugar Pine Hat (by Aimee Alexander – getknitty). Those are gifts, but I plan to make Fightin’ Words (by Annie Watts – wattsolak) for me! Sorry, I guess that’s not one, is it?
What’s your favorite aspect of this GAL?
I love bunch of Indie Designers has come together to create a fun, gift-knitting event. Indie stands for independent, but this has been a total team event.
Would you like to share with us any new project?
I am having a KAL (knitalong) in the Fingerless Gloves Fanantics group on Ravelry in January. I can’t reveal too much, but I’m really excited about using traveling stitches in this project.
You can find more about Karen's work at ravelry and at her blog, thanks for reading and remember to comment if you'd like to get a change of winning one of Karen's patterns!