Wednesday 19 November 2014

Indie Design GAL 2014: Meet a Designer, Katie Degroff

Today we meet our second Indie Design GAL 2014 designer, Katie Degroff (Ravelry user name sheltipap). Katie’s beautiful, colourful sock and shawl designs can be found on her Ravelry designer page, and she can also be found on Pinterest. Here is my interview with Katie. 

1. How long have you been knitting? And who taught you to knit?
I've been knitting for almost 6 years now. A seriously awesome friend whom I used to work with, who also introduced me to my husband, taught me to knit. He now has his own sheep flock and is a wiz at everything crochet, knitting, spinning, etc.

2. When and why did you start designing?
I started designing at the beginning of 2013. I used to design lampwork and wire jewellery so I missed creating new patterns and designs. What drew me to designing knitting patterns was listening to what people were saying they did not like about certain designs or what they would like to see. I always enjoy putting a new spin on common ideas.

3. What was your first published design?
My first published design is a sock pattern called Roots of Love. It is a free pattern where I took a slightly different approach to a woven cable.
Roots of Love, image copyright Katie Degroff

4. Which of your designs are you proudest of?
Proudest design for me would have to be my Currents Socks or Topanga Scarf. I came up with a totally new heel design for Currents and a design that looks good in any colour variation of yarn. And for Topanga, I worked with Inner Yarn Zen for a custom pattern for a kit and truly love how it came out!
Currents, image copyright Katie Degroff
Topanga, image copyright Katie Degroff

5. If money was no object, what would be your dream crafting item?
I would say my dream crafting item would be a room full of silk/cashmere blend yarns for everything!

6. Can you crochet? If not, have you ever considered learning?
Crochet and I do not get along. LOL. I have tried, several people have tried teaching me, but it’s so foreign a feeling and I could never get the hang of it.

7. You have a daughter and a baby on the way, do you ever knit for them? And if so, what have you been knitting in preparation for the new arrival?
I am a horrible knitting momma and finished the baby blanket that was to be for my daughter when she was 3... However I have knit her several sweaters, toys, blankets, and she is now four and LOVES to try to knit. And for the new bundle on the way, I will begin knitting as soon as we find out what he/she is! I want to be a better knitting momma and have a lot more for this little one to come home too, LOL.

8. What inspires your designs?
I would say the biggest thing that inspires my designs is listening to what people are saying about other designs. Whether it’s as simple as to how things are written/charted, or having options, or loving a particular TV character/style and coming up with something to fit those needs.

9. I see you’ve designed lots of socks. What makes you like knitting socks so much, and do you ever suffer from second sock syndrome?
I always have to have some socks on the needles! Forever I could not knit with anything but fingering weight yarn. Last summer I took the plunge and learned to knit socks two at a time, and since then second sock syndrome is no more for me! However prior to that, I will admit I still have a few one sock wonders, LOL.

10. If you’re not knitting one of your own designs, do you have a favourite designer whose patterns you turn to?
A few favorite designers that come to mind are Vanessa Smith for her sweaters (amazingly written patterns, that seem to flatter all shapes and sizes), Jeannie Cartmel for her socks (they are SO intricate the designs boggle my mind how she comes up with them), and Melanie Berg for her shawls (she combines simple looking colour changes with little bits of flare that make them interesting).

11. What’s your favourite knitting technique?
My favourite knitting technique would have to be working sleeves, mitts, socks, anything, in the round, 2 at a time. It is a little bit of a pain to learn how to set it up, but it really saves SO much time!

12. Are there any techniques you’re keen to learn?
I want to sit down and learn double knitting and picot work. I have toyed with both, but I need to sit down and actually learn them.

13. Are there any techniques you have no interest in learning?
I can't really think of anything I wouldn't want to learn, however seaming sweaters makes me cringe LOL.

14. What are your design ambitions?
At the moment I really don't have any design ambitions, just to continue to create designs that appeal to may different people. Whenever I try to force a design it always fails, and I never want to become someone who pumps things out just to sell them.

15. What are you planning on knitting during the gift-a-long?
Honestly I haven't picked out patterns yet, but I plan to knit some fellow designers’ socks for gifts during the Gift-A-Long.

16. At Bake Day Wednesday we like a nice piece of cake, so what is your favourite type of cake?
CAKE! Evil word, LOL. I would have to say an awesome chocolate cake with chocolate mousse layered in between. You have my mouth watering!!!!!!

Chatting to Katie has been lovely, and it’s been fun finding out about her design ethic. Still not sure she can tempt me to knit a whole pair of socks, but I’m starting to warm to the idea, especially if I can knit them simultaneously – that would eliminate the distinct possibility of having one rather cold foot!

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