Today on the YarnThing Podcast with Marly Bird: Crochet Expert Karen Whooley (and knitter too)!
Karen learned to crochet when she was 7 years old. Her old Italian grandmother was their babysitter and felt that they were watching too much TV, so she got out yarn and crochet hooks and taught them to crochet. A couple of years later, her grandmother gave her a small steel hook and thread and she started doing Italian crochet lace. Since her grandmother couldn’t read English patterns, they worked from pictures, just figuring out what to do. As she grew older, Karen began teaching herself new techniques from books like Tunisian crochet. On the design side, a friend encouraged her to start submitting designs which she did in 1998 and has been going since. Various family members had tried to teach her to knit, but since she had been crocheting too long, holding the yarn in her right hand didn’t work. Finally in 2004, she found continental knitting and now she knits too!
Because she is obsessed with socks and shawls, Karen has many patterns for both, including books. She has two books of just crochet socks as well as several patterns with magazines. Now, a lot of people have the misconception that crochet socks are always really bulky and uncomfortable, but Karen shows you how to use finer gauge yarn and good stitches to use for the sole to make them more comfortable. Crochet socks sill aren’t for everyone (some people have really sensitive feet), but if you have wanted to try them, check out Karen’s book, you might be surprised!
Karen’s latest work involves Fair-Isle crochet. She had a stranded sweater that she absolutely loved when she was younger and one of the first things she learned when she learned to knit was how to do stranded knitting. Later, she took a class on doing a specific color illusion picture technique with crochet. Through experimentation, she took this technique and figured out how to do Fair-Isle crochet patterns that don’t lean and look good. Karen teaches this both with floats (like in stranded knitting) and tapestry style, where the carried yarns are enclosed in the stitches. In addition to her Leisure Arts book, Karen’s Craftsy class just recently went live! The class teaches you all about the techniques and process of doing Fair-Isle crochet!
Listen in below to hear everything Marly and Karen talked about today including how she stated crocheting and knitting, Fair-Isle crochet, how to still craft with arthritis and much more!
Important links from today’s show:
- Karen’s website, karenwhooley.com, see her independent pattern line and where she is teaching
- Karen’s Ravelry designer page, you can find all her designs and books here
- Karen’s new Craftsy class, Crochet Fair-Isle: Demystifying Colorwork
- Swan splints at Silverringsplint.com
And we can’t forget the Giveaway! Leave a comment below for your chance to win you own access to Karen’s Craftsy class!
Let’s give some love to our sponsors!
XRX Books, Knitter’s Magazine, STITCHES Expos
Indian Lake Artisans
Bijou Basin Ranch
Buffalo Wool Co.
Green Mountain Spinnery