Eclectic Closet Litblog, Book Reviews & Knitting Designs

A litblog dedicated to book reviews/recommendations, as well as literary and publishing news. Now enhanced with knitting designs.

Interview: Katy Carroll


Today’s first interview is with Katy H. Carroll of Katinka Designs.

Katy modeling Interwoven Mitts

Katy modeling Interwoven Mitts

Who taught you to knit/How did you learn to knit?
I taught myself, from “Knitting for Dummies”. (I really wish I had thought of looking for videos on the Internet, but I didn’t!) Several online friends from a book forum were knitters, and I was intrigued by the pictures they were posting of this mysterious stuff called “Malabrigo”…I believe references to the softness of baby kittens were made. My first project was a unintentionally holey rectangle in brightly variegated kitchen cotton.

I’ve always had fiber/textile hobbies, though – I crocheted as a youngster, and sewed and did counted cross-stitch for a few decades. Knitting’s overtaken them all, though! There is just so much you can do, and so much you can make.

How did you get started designing?
In the summer of 2014, I was developing classes for “adventurous beginners” that I would begin teaching at my LYS later that fall. I was already discovering that it was easier to write up my own instructions and simple designs, rather than find patterns from which to teach. I’d improvised some things for myself prior to that, too, but it had always seemed like too much work to put together an actual pattern. Then that August, my best friend and knitting buddy, Jill, passed away unexpectedly. It was a horrible reminder that life can change in an instant, and it pushed me to tackle my fears and actually ATTEMPT the things I had been putting off for ages out of laziness and/or caution. It’s mildly terrifying to put yourself “OUT THERE”, but I’m glad I’ve made myself to do it. It’s a hobby business for now, but I do try to treat it as professionally as possible.

What inspires your designs?
The interplay of texture and color and pattern! I do like lace, but it’s cables that have my knitter’s heart. My clothes are pretty boring – usually a black shirt and jeans – so I love to use vibrant colors in my knit accessories. In its most succinct form, I think my design aesthetic is, “Stuff I Want to Make and Wear Myself”. 😉 I’ve got four kids in age from preschool to 9th, and a husband with a busy job, so I’ve jokingly said that I design patterns that will keep me awake, but won’t break my brain.

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
It vacillates between the two! Sometimes I like the challenge of looking at a set amount of yarn and wondering, “What could you become?” Other times, as with my Leandra Scarf pattern, I have a set idea in mind (“big ol’ cabled scarf”) that I want to achieve.

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
I do always try to have some sort of special detail, whether it be in the shaping, or in a finishing technique, or in the way the patterns align just so. The trifecta I aim for is 1) fun to make, 2) pretty to look at, and 3) easy to wear. We all have those knits that look impressive, but rarely get worn because they’re too fussy or fiddly for one reason or another. I would hope that my designs could become “standbys” – those knits you always reach for as you’re racing out the door.

What is your favourite type of item to design?
I really do design the kinds of things that I like to make and wear myself – cowls, scarves, fingerless mitts, and I’m coming around to hats. (I love making sweaters, too, but I’m not quite ready for that challenge yet!) I like to aim for a design that could be an achievable challenge for an adventurous beginner, but still an engaging knit for someone more experienced.

Tell me about “The Virescent Collection”, what is the story behind this collection?
Before I ever saw the cable that started it all, I had been mulling over the state of my knits. After ten years of knitting, I had a great collection of accessories, but…most of it didn’t really go together. So I was starting to be drawn to the idea of making things that actually coordinated.

Then, I fell in love with the large cable motif that runs throughout the collection. I loved the large scale (17 stitches) and the organic, atypical look of it. I started to wonder how it would work when applied to all kinds of different pieces, and in different weights, even. Then people could pick and choose which ones they liked, and make their own “set”. They could even choose their favorite colorway from a preferred dyer and work within that dyer’s bases. (I must be terribly literal, because I could only imagine the collection in green!) The original concept was five to six designs, and then it somehow ended up as nine when I wasn’t looking. I still get ideas for additional pieces and I have to yell at myself, “No, nine is PLENTY!!”

I really didn’t think that ANYONE would buy the full collection, but I’m so grateful for the knitters who have. I’m grateful as well to the yarn folks who took a chance on a relative newbie – Marianated Yarns, The Plucky Knitter, Anzula, Malabrigo Yarns, and Intrepid Tulips. I’m also so, so happy with the photography we’ve done so far for the collection. My awesome sister is my photographer – I owe her huge thanks for that! She won’t let me pay her, so I try to slip fabric (her vice of choice) in her bag when she’s not looking. So far, six patterns have been released, the seventh is in testing, and I’m writing up the pattern for the eighth. The ninth should be out in January.

Do you have an aspirational knit – a complicated/challenging design that you want to knit “some day” when you feel ready?
I don’t know that I would design this myself, but someday I want to make a fingering weight, stranded colorwork sweater. Either that, or a fisherman’s sweater covered in a million complex cables.

What is coming next? What’s in your release queue?
Beyond the remaining Virescent Collection patterns, I’ve got a worsted weight cowl design (both short and loop verisons) in Marianated Yarns coming out in early December, and then several accessory patterns in yarns from The Plucky Knitter. I’ve also got some gorgeous Targhee/silk yarn from Blue Savannah (Etsy) staring at me. I’m really excited about some “summer vacation” projects that Marian (of Marianated Yarns) and I are dreaming up for next fall – a poncho design in a fingering weight wool/mohair (baby steps towards garment design!), and a Mystery Cowl KAL using one of her lovely gradient sets.

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
That is really, really hard, as my head is easily turned. I would probably say Madelinetosh Vintage.

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
That would probably be my Carver Scarf. The timing wasn’t ideal – it was a wool scarf released in June – but I was excited that my LYS had started carrying the yarn, and I also needed to build my portfolio. So, no regrets.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters?
Cast-on something that scares you a little, whether it’s your own design or someone else’s. Try to make peace with ripping back.

Any knitting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
To take time away from designing to make myself a few more sweaters. To learn more about shawl shaping. To get over my irrational fear of provisional cast-ons.

If you could have dinner with one knitting designer (living or dead) who would it be and why?
Bonne Marie Burns of ChicKnits, even though I’ve already had dinner with her! (I attended a retreat at Imperial Stock Ranch where she taught.) I love her aesthetic and design philosophy, I admire the way she manages her business and her brand, and I also think she’s a sweetheart. I would wear her sweaters ALL THE TIME.

View all of Katy’s patterns here. All photos copyright E. Cummings. All images used by permission.

You can find Katy on the following social media sites:

What is the Gift-A-Long? The GAL is a big knitting and crochet designer promotion with prizes and more than 5,000 people participating in a giant KAL/CAL. Come join the GAL group on Ravelry!

posted under interview, Knitting

Email will not be published

Website example

Your Comment:


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Preference *
Email Format

Visit my Ravelry Shop

My Knitting Patterns

Audrey II

Angular Path Scarf

Cartouche Stole

Fossetta Cowl

Fossetta Hat

Sargaço Shawl

Whitman Hat

Every Which Way Cowl

Every Which Way Hat

Every Which Way Fingerless Mitts

Gothic Forest Scarf

Valencia Scarf

Branching Path Cowl

Flower Bell Stole

Whitman Cowl

New Tech Cowl

Vieux Carré Stole

Stacks Socks

Anna Perenna Shawlette

Taming of the Fox

Don't Ask Y

Cantilevering Leaves

Amplification Stole

Combs Cowl

Mindfulness Cowl

Tipsy Scarf

Gridwork Scarf
Ravelry Free Download