my knit & crochet roots and design influences

To help you get to know me and my work better, I thought it might be good to give you a little back story on how I got into knitting and crocheting.

I first fell in love with crochet as a child when a neighbor taught me a couple basic stitches. Then I discovered a copy of Crochet by James Walters and Sylvia Cosh at the library, and I worked my way through everything in it. This was in the late 70s/80s, so yeah, lots of free form crochet, granny squares and hippie girl stuff. All of which I still adore. And these cute little mushrooms that I must have made, oh, about a million of in whatever scraps I could find. Walters and Cosh taught me to play and experiment with color, texture, fiber and stitch pattern with complete abandon - a great way for a future designer to begin.

mushrooms from Crochet by Walters & Cosh

I picked up knitting as an adult while dealing with the stress of divorce and again, learned so much from a book, this time The Knitting Goddess by Deborah Goodman. My first project was her Isis Stole, a garter stitch rectangle wrap worked on giant needles with several very different yarns held together. The very traditional knitting shop staff looked at me like I was a little strange when I bought the supplies and explained the project, but it worked up beautifully and I was pleased and wore it quite a bit. From Goodman I learned how to tell stories with yarn and how to create a quiet, sacred space within my hectic days as a single mom.

Isis shawl from The Knitting Goddess by Deborah Goodman

I love gorgeous hand dyed fibers and often work with them because it’s such a pleasure but I also love being a yarn renegade and using untraditional materials like wire, hardware store rope and twine, fabric scrap strips, and yeah, the dreaded cheap acrylic yarn. Hey, I started out with it - buying it with babysitting money as a kid - and I still love it and understand that many can’t afford or don’t have access to high end fibers. In my experience, the creative goddess doesn’t care where your materials come from, she just wants your attention and devotion. And she’ll give so much pleasure and fulfillment in return.

As a social worker for the last decade and counting, I understand that knit and crochet is so much more than what it appears. It’s an exquisite form of self-care, an art, a healing tool, a way to bring beauty into the world and adorn yourself, a meditation, a revolution. It can be a wonderful way to connect with others in many ways and feel like you belong.

I’m just getting started in this journey and I’m not sure who, really, my influences are in the fiber world yet other than the ones I mentioned above, but I can tell you that I’ve always loved the abstract expressionists of the fine art world and their use of color, shape and form is a strong influence. I’ve always loved wearing, creating and decorating with vibrant colors. They can express and evoke so much without any words at all.

I love simple shapes and luscious flowy silhouettes for the most part. That may just be because I find them very comfortable to live in. I prefer less complicated designs that are more of a relaxing make than frustrating and try to make my patterns as easy to work up as I can.