I know many of you are familiar with Carrie’s fun patterns. I have made several of her Summer Wind Cowls and have frequently linked to that pattern as a great one for solids or multi-colors. So I’m happy to have her in the Designer Spotlight today so that you can learn more about her!
Loopy: Hi Carrie! Thanks for being in the Spotlight today. How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?
Carrie: Hi Loopy! In 2003, my younger sister asked me if I wanted to take a knitting class at our local Michael’s store. We had taken cake decorating classes and cooking classes together so I said sure. Although I didn’t love my first class, I went to a local knitting store right after and discovered all those novelty scarves we were knitting back then and I was hooked! I took just about any class from my LYS that first year or two.
Loopy: I started with some novelty yarns and scarves, too. Now I’m not too interested in that kind of knitting any more because I’ve discovered I like regular wool and wool blends a little better. And there are so many choices out there! What is your favorite type of item to knit?
Carrie: For a long time it was socks, but now I’d expand that and say accessories and anything with sock yarn such as shawls or baby knits.
Loopy: What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Carrie: Two things come to mind. First, my February Lady sweater. It was just the third sweater that I had knit for myself, but this one fit! The second challenging knit was one of my designs, Bellingrath Shawlette. I had already designed the socks when the yarn company, Kollage Yarns, asked for me to design a matching shawlette. Here’s the thing….I had never knit a shawl, let alone designed one. At the time, my very good friend Erica worked for Kollage and she cheered me on saying she knew I could do it. The sock design was easy since it was knit in the round. But that meant the edging pattern for the shawl would have a pattern to follow on both the right side and wrong side. Let’s just say most of my future shawl designs include a “rest row” on the wrong side now!
Loopy: Your sweater is beautiful! I’m not surprised it’s a favorite. When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?
Carrie: I’ve been blogging for almost eight years, and initially my designs were fun ways to increase blog traffic. Plus it was so exciting to see people knitting my designs. But I really caught the designing bug when I designed my Cotty socks. At Blue Moon’s Sock Camp, I took a class from Cat Bordhi where we were making our personal footprint socks. To fancy my socks up a bit, I added a pattern at the top of the sock. I loved that pattern so much with the gorgeous variegated sock yarns, that I used it for my first sock design, Cotty.
Loopy: That is a fun one with variegated yarns. I’m sure it’s also cool with a semi-solid. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?
Carrie: I love so many of them, but Summer Wind is probably one of my favorites. I designed it right when infinity scarves were beginning their popularity, and my friends who weren’t knitters loved it and wanted one. It is one of my designs that I’ve knit many times.
Loopy: Well you know how much I like that pattern, too. I have knit up three and have a fourth in the works! What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?
Carrie: My favorite part of designing is that moment when my design comes together. I’ve swatched, I’ve done the math, now it is time to knit! My other favorite part is seeing other people knit my designs – it is amazing to see the personal expression that each knitter has with their different yarn choices and color combinations for a design. The not-so-favorite part is writing the pattern. I’m definitely a procrastinator when it comes to that. I want my patterns to be easy to follow and understandable and to do that I need to have the time to focus very specifically on ensuring that.
Loopy: Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?
Carrie: Yes. I’m a behavior analyst and have been working with young children with autism for over 20 years. I run a clinic that provides early intensive applied behavior analysis for children with autism in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Loopy: That’s an emotionally heavy job. Is it hard to do the design business on the side?
Carrie: Pattern-designing is something I fell into, but I love it. It offers a creative outlet to my daytime job, but it is definitely hard.
Loopy: Does anyone else in your family knit?
Carrie: My mom took knitting back up once my sister and I learned to knit. My sister knits once in awhile on vacation, but never quite learned the purl stitch.
Loopy: Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Carrie: I love to cook, bake, and read!
Loopy: So then what would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Carrie: If it was a fall Saturday, I would definitely start by going to my favorite farmers’ market in the morning. Then my family and I usually get together to watch Notre Dame football and hopefully the game won’t be too close so I can get some knitting in. The rest of the day would be spent relaxing, spending time with family or friends, and knitting!!
Loopy: Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂
Carrie: Definitely a night person! Tea (my electric tea kettle is probably one of my favorite kitchen appliances), but I do love a cafe au lait. Originally a continental knitter. But after taking Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Knitting for Speed and Efficiency class (twice!), I’m now a lever knitter. And oh, those variegated sock yarns were my first love, but I also love a saturated semi-solid.
Loopy: Sounds good! Anything else you’d like to add?
Carrie: Just a big thank you! I’m so grateful for our knitting community. So many of my friends I’ve met through knitting- through my local knit night, my knitting blog and other blogs like yours, ravelry, knitting retreats. And it is this knitting community that has also been so supportive of my designing career. So thank you!!
As a special for our blog readers, Carrie is offering 20% off of one of her $6.00 or under patterns on Ravelry between now and October 17th. Pop over and check out all of her patterns and pick one for yourself! Enter the code: theloopyewe when you check out through Rav.
Thank you so much for spotlighting Irish Girlie Knits! I love the summer wind pattern and I just ordered the Fiar pattern (with the loopy discount).
I love Irish Girlie Knits patterns! I, too, have knit several Summer Wind Cowls. I took advantage of the coupon code to purchase Cotty Fingerless gloves and I have lots of pretty Socks That Rock light weight from TLE to choose from! Thank you so much!
Thank you, Sherri, for highlighting designers. I have been working on designer recognition with my own knitting guild. Good patterns don’t just happen.
Great interview! Kudos to Irish Girlie for being in a field that would be very hard not to get attached to her clients!!! It takes caring people like her to help the kids!
Now, I am going to have to go check out this Summer Wind cowl that you all speak of!!!!!
I love her patterns! Thank you. I now have Summer Wind.