Karissa K

14 Nov

Name: Karissa

Location: Pittsburgh

Featured Skill(s): inspired knitting

Astrological Sign: Leo

Vice: ice cream

Virtue: honesty

Favorite Quote: Courage is grace under pressure. – Ernest Hemingway


How long have you been knitting?

I started knitting in 2005, so that puts me at seven years now.

How did you get into knitting?

I was playing a pickup game of basketball at college when I jumped up to block a shot. I blocked the shot and came down on my left ankle the wrong way. Hard. I broke my left foot. I’ll spare the boring details of the ER and such, but I missed the first few days of my junior year so that I could get situated with a cast and crutches.

While I was lounging at home with my busted foot propped up, I was really bored. A friend came over and decided that she was going to teach me how to knit to pass the time. She handed me a set of needles and a ball of blue yarn. I made my first scarf—it was full of holes, dropped stitches, knots, and other hideous malformations, but I made it. (I still have it.)

After that, I worked at it and got progressively better. I studied instructions for purling (opposite stitch of a knit stitch) and that was all she wrote. I was unstoppable. That Christmas I gave my two best friends handmade scarves. They were blown away. The next spring, I made a hat for my boyfriend. I studied patterns for different things—spheres, gloves, hats, cords—and while I’m still not very good at following actual patterns (I get lost or lose count of stitches because I’m in a trance) I can knit anything I put my mind to.

For the same boyfriend that I gave my first knitted hat, I made him an alligator creature (inside joke, even though he’s now my ex). Everyone I showed was floored. It was three-dimensional, like a stuffed animal.

I kept making scarves, I tried different types of yarn, I finally made a hat for myself (knitters tend to give away everything they make), and I made a flamingo for a friend. I used a clothespin as the one leg so that it can “stand” by being clipped to something. The wings look “feathered” because I used a cable stitch. And my sphere studies came in handy for that project too.

I also used spheres for the penguin I knitted for my current boyfriend. The penguin was a challenge because I needed to make it stand without weights. I put cardboard into the feet to make them stiff and adjusted the spheres of the body to ensure that the penguin would stand upright. It was a challenge, but it worked. The beak is a cone and, again, the wings are cable knit.

I’m convinced that if I put my mind to it, I can knit anything.

What is one thing YOU can’t do knitting without?

My little bag of tools. Knitting is mostly needles and yarn, but you need a few extra little things to do fancier stuff. I always have a small pair of scissors, a yarn needle, a cable needle, four small double-pointed needles, a few scraps of cardboard, post-it notes, and a pen.

What has been your most memorable experience from/while knitting?

Hmm. Knitters don’t tend to have a wild time. I mean, usually grandmothers are associated with knitting. I think my most memorable experience would have to be knitting the penguin for my boyfriend. I decided to do it merely days before Christmas and knitted furiously after I got home from work. My evenings were filled with the tension of wanting a perfect product to impress my new beau and my own perfectionistic tendencies keeping me from making much progress. At a certain point, I had to decide to let some mistakes be part of the final product. Naturally, I used the yarn needle to go around and close the holes to give it a more finished look, but I still knew the flaws were there. He never noticed them when, days later as my fingers still ached from being prodded with needles for hours on end, I presented him with his first Christmas gift. We’re still together, now four years later, and he still talks about that penguin. I don’t think about the mistakes anymore, so I think that was a moment of personal growth for me.

Do you have any female role models that you look up to in, or out of, the knitting industry/scene?

There are some pretty incredible knitters out there. Etsy is full of them, but yarn bombers absolutely kill me. I might like to get in on that someday. I think the public art and silent statement combination is excellent.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to females interested in knitting?

If you want to knit, you can. It doesn’t take much except a little perseverance past those first dropped stitches. I find knitting to be very cathartic, so for any ladies looking to de-stress and be productive at the same time, knitting might be for you. (I’m bad at being unproductive, so this really works for me.)


First thing you do when you wake up?

Pet my adorable dog and bid her good morning.

What’s on your feet?

Pointy flats

What’s on your face?

Urban Decay

What is your favorite accessory?

SCARVES! I have dozens—silk, cotton, synthetic; short, long, square, infinity… you name it, I’ve got it. And I love wearing them in different ways.

What are you listening to right now?

Florence + the Machine

What won’t you leave the house without?

Chapstick. Because nothing is worse than dry, chapped lips. Actually, I can easily think of a host of things that are a lot worse than chapped lips—genocide, hurricanes, tumors, male pattern baldness, slow Wi-Fi, really bad hangnails—but still… chapped lips are pretty annoying so I try to keep them at bay by staying armed against them at all times.

Where might we find you?

On a treadmill, pounding pavement, or traversing a trail. Running is my drug. I never did drugs, but I’m assuming that this is what it’s like to have an addiction.

Last thing you do before bed?

Dock my iPhone on my alarm clock and make sure I have an alarm set… because I’ve forgotten an alarm before and let’s just say that it hasn’t ended well.

List one question you wish we would have asked, then answer it : )

Can we give you an ungodly sum of money?

Yes. I accept.

But, seriously… What else do you do for fun?

Running, blogging, gardening, and taking care of my crazy dog take up most of my time. I love making food with friends and sharing a good bottle of wine, though, too.

One thing you think is “crazy good”:

Birthday cake flavored ice cream, but it has to taste like funfetti cake. (Come on. I have standards…)


Check out some of Karissa’s amazing creations here:  http://www.grammarissa.com/p/knitting.html

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