Projects Officer, Faculty & Academic Life
What do you do off the clock?
I run, parent and play ball hockey, but my big passion is knitting.
How did you first become interested in this?
I tried to knit a few times as a child and teenager but never got the hang of it. When I was home during my last year of my undergrad, I bullied my mother into teaching me one more time and I was hooked. That was 20 years ago.
I really became serious about 12 years ago when I found there was a fun community of knitters in Toronto and on the internet.
Do you show or sell your work? What has been your biggest challenge?
Knitters have developed a huge online community. I’ve had a knitting blog since 2003 — And She Knits Too!, which documents my musings on knitting, spinning yarn and a bit of weaving, but also about my family, politics, our ongoing home renovations and whatever else I want to say.
There’s a social network called Ravelry and it’s a great place to show off knitting and see what other people are creating. I also occasionally design patterns for sale and have had patterns published in three books, on Knitty.com, and I now offer my patterns through Ravelry’s online market.
I don’t knit pieces on commission. That turns my leisure time into work.
My biggest challenge right now is having the energy and mental focus required to knit complicated things. I always make time for knitting and rarely have a day where I don’t get in a few rows of stitching, but when I’m tired or busy, I tend to choose easy and comfortable projects in a single colour. I love working with multiple colours or creating cables but they require more focus, and at 9:00 p.m. that’s not always there!
What (or who) inspires or influences your work?
Other knitters are my biggest inspiration. Knitting is not a stay at home, antisocial craft. I could attend a knit-night any night of the week in Toronto (my personal favourite is Wednesdays at Lettuce Knit in Kensington) and the online community is several million strong. There are lots of talented knitters creating beautiful things, dying their own yarns, developing new techniques and really pushing the artistry of the craft. Everyday someone makes something that makes me want to pick up the needles and knit.
Submitted by Katy Francis, senior strategic communications advisor, HR & Equity