All Hail the Felting Queen!
Paula King is a prolific designer of amazing felted objects. She recently completed our Independent Designer Program using Noro's À La Mode and Kureopatora to create the ruffle-licious Merengue Knot Bag. Her other published patterns include a wide variety of felted bags in all shapes and sizes, as well as some cute felted animals. Take a look at her Ravelry page and see if some of her fancy bag designs tickle your fancy! She's doing two promotions in December - 25% off the new Merengue Knot Bag through 15 December 2016, and 20% off all other patterns through 24 December 2016. How generous!
Sasha for Skein Shop (SS): Hi, Paula! I've really enjoyed getting to know you throughout this design process. Could you please introduce yourself to the rest of the Skein Shop community?
Paula King (PK): Hi, my name is Paula King. My design business is called KraziKnitz by Paula. I am married and live in central Florida with my husband, Vernon. My hobbies are crafting, cooking, reading, and working out with my nephew. I recently retired from a job with a nutrition program for women and children after more than thirty years to spend more time with my husband. As a side benefit, I am now able to devote more time to my design efforts.
SS: Congratulations on your retirement! We're certainly grateful that you chose to spend some of your time working on this great design for us. Your Ravelry patterns are knit - how long have you been knitting, and how did you learn?
PK: I have been knitting for twelve years. I learned to knit after a few failed attempts by finding the right teacher. I had tried to teach myself, but that was definitely the wrong way for me to go. I didn't have a great deal of patience with myself or the process. I had given up and gotten myself a knitting machine. A retired elementary school teacher was teaching beginning knitting at my local yarn shop, and I signed up. All of a sudden it made sense like never before, and I also discovered that knitting takes time to learn. I had to develop patience, which wasn't, and still isn't always, easy. I fell in love with wool as well as the art and science of felting my knitting.
SS: A good teacher can make all the difference! Do you do any other fiber arts besides knitting?
PK: Yes, I can crochet, sew, embroider, cross-stitch, and I even took a class in spinning once. I don't get a chance to crochet much because of carpal tunnel. I don't do much embroidery or cross-stitch either, except as it applies to a knitting project under construction. I still sew occasionally, but knitting is my primary fiber art at the moment.
SS: Well your work is beautiful, and knitting is a great medium. How did you get interesting in designing and writing patterns?
PK: I was designing for myself without realizing it. I started going to a local yarn shop, and I noticed she was carrying a new line of yarn - one of my favorites. I had some small, felted bags that I had made with that yarn, and I offered to loan them to the owner as a sample of how the yarn felted.
After a couple of weeks, she said that some of the store's patrons were asking for the pattern for the bags. I told her there was no pattern except for the one in my head. She encouraged, or rather pestered, me to write them down, but I had no idea where to start. I eventually relented, and with some help from a friend, I wrote my first pattern. After that first pattern, the ideas kept coming, and I became more confident. I designed occasionally, but working full-time meant that there was a real limit to how much time I could devote to it.
Since retiring from full-time work, I have more time to invest, and it's paying off. I recently submitted my first pattern to an online webzine, Knotions, and they published my pattern in their December 2016 issue. I am also participating in the Independent Designer Program here at Skein Shop. A lot has happened in the last few months.
SS: It seems like you have no lack of ideas. Are there any designers out there whose work you find particularly inspiring?
PK: There are so many talented designers that it's hard to pick just one. I admire Cat Bordhi, and I was fortunate enough to be able to take a workshop with her. Nicky Epstein also comes to mind - there's lots of felting in her repertoire!
SS: Those lades are both so amazing! I love Cat Bordhi's intuitive, experimental approach to knitting, and Nicky Epstein's aesthetic definitely fits your style well. On a completely unrelated note, do you focus on one idea at a time with your knitting, or do you like to have multiple things in the works?
PK: I usually have several projects on the needles at any one time. I do a lot of knitting for one of the groups on Ravelry that donates item to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. I like to have at least one very portable project, such as hats, that I can take with me for car rides or while waiting for appointments. It makes the time spent in those situations more productive.
I usually have more than one design project in the works as well. If I have to stop on one project for any reason, I have something else to work on. Sometimes items get too big to work on away from home, so I will start on another idea that may have cropped up in the back of my mind, or at least pick yarn and do a sketch.
SS: One of my favorite questions to ask is, do you have any words of wisdom for budding designers?
PK: Trust your instincts, and don't doubt yourself. If someone tells you that you have talent, listen to them, and seek advice from more experienced knitting or designers (if you are lucky enough to have one in your acquaintances). Write your patterns in clear language. Explain things as though everyone in your audience were a new knitter, because they might just be! If you are going to try it full-time, I have been told that you should think about a business plan.
SS: That's all excellent advice. Thanks for sharing your time and talents with us, Paula! Do you have a blog or website where people can follow your future work?
PK: I have a group on Ravelry that I would love to have more members in. You can also follow me on Instagram, my blog, or Facebook. Thanks for speaking with me and providing yarn support for this design!