Fun story: I used to teach English in Japan, with aspirations to become a college professor in International Relations. However, my American green card was in danger of being revoked so I flew back home to apply for American citizenship. I picked up the knitting needles for the first time in January 2014 as an creative outlet during that limbo period. It was an instant love. Four months later, I was designing my own patterns. When I moved back to Japan with my husband in August of that year, I shifted from designing as a hobby into a full-time endeavor.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Being part Maori, I draw a lot of inspiration from my cultural heritage. I pair it up with my values of keeping the knit engaging but can also allow a knitter to relax and, of course, the finished object being beautiful, eye-catching and bringing a huge smile to the wearer’s face!
Shawls for ever and ever.
What techniques do you particularly like to include in a pattern?
I am forever a lover of lace. I’m finding stranded knitting to be very addictive so you can expect to see more color-work based designs in the future.
Could you tell us a bit more about how you enrich, encourage, and empower other knitters and designers through your work?
I find this question to be quite funny because I’m currently going through a re-brand so my messaging is changing very slightly! I still have these values in the back of my mind but I’ve noticed that I’ve become a catalyst of sorts for giving creatives the confidence to fulfill their goals. I’ve had knitters in my community contact me to tell me that my work inspired them to pursue their dreams and I have people get in touch with me on a daily basis asking for advice.
I also write weekly blog posts that much of my audience finds useful and informational and I provide some free mini e-courses covering topics ranging from growing your Instagram following to using Stitch Mastery for the first time.
If I had to choose… the Taimana Cowl. It was so rewarding to use my Maori heritage in the design in such an intricate way and it came out so nicely.
What's another designer whose work you particularly admire?
Melanie Berg, Joji Locatelli, Lete’s Knits, ambah, Alicia Plummer, and so many more… but yeah I think that covers it.
Any upcoming projects you can give us a hint about?
I’ve always got a knit design on the needles, but I’m also working on my first e-course on pattern design, writing and self-publishing. There are many knitters wanting to venture into the grand world of designing but they don’t know where to start or the math frightens them. The aim of this course is to alleviate those fears and transform them into confident designers.