Many of you are already familiar with Gregg Cohoon, otherwise known as Knitting Daddy! I hope you enjoy reading a bit about him!
How did your personal fiber journey begin?
I love telling this story. I started knitting in 2012, when my daughter was born. We were expecting her in August, but she arrived in May — two-and-a-half months early! As you can imagine, a baby born that prematurely needs a bit of time to finish developing, and our daughter spent about five weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) before she was well enough to come home. She’s doing great now, but the first few weeks were really stressful for all of us. We spent a lot of time in the hospital with her, and a lot of that time really boiled down to watching her sleep in her isolette. One night, we were sitting in the NICU with her and one of the nurses came around, handing out hand-knitted and crocheted preemie hats to al the families. They were made by volunteers and donated to the hospital. As I looked at those hats, turning them around in my hand, I thought to myself that I could probably learn how to make something like that. My mother-in-law was visiting, and I knew she could knit. So I asked her to teach me. I found a simple preemie hat pattern online — it was knit flat, back and forth, then stitched up the side. My mother-in-law showed me the basic stitches, helped me do the decreases, and I finished the hat by the next day. I’ve been knitting almost nonstop ever since.
Do you design for knit, crochet or both and do you do any teaching?
I design for knit. I know enough crochet to do things like crochet edgings on hats, but I can’t even read a crochet pattern. Not yet, anyway. So all of my designing is around knitting. I don’t teach formally, but I’ve taught a few friends how to knit.
Where do you get inspiration?
I tend to get my inspiration from noticing patterns in things around me, or playing with geometric shapes. My first pattern was a preemie hat, and I designed it as a way to be able to give something tangible the non-profit organization that meant so much to my family when my daughter was a baby. I’ve designed a hat and a shawl where I play with patterns that can be created with single-stitch cables. My most recent design came about when I realized that diagonal seed stitch reminded me of smoke coming out of industrial smokestacks. Really, inspiration can be anywhere. I have a notebook full of sketches of geometric patterns that I’ve seen in elevators, on the sides of buildings, in bathroom tiles, and all sorts of other places. Having a smartphone with a camera also makes it easy to take quick snapshots of things I find when I’m out and about that inspire me.
Do you have certain fibers or special techniques do you prefer to use in your designs?
I love working with wool. I’ve worked with other animal-based and plant-based fiber, but I keep coming back to wool. As far as special techniques go, I’ve really become fascinated with single-stitch cables with a couple of my designs. But I’m currently working on a lace shawl design that is turning out to be a lot of fun. I think the key to keep me interested is mixing it up and getting some variety.
What is your favorite pattern you have designed so far?
I think my favorite pattern will always be the first pattern I designed — the Scrappy Sock Yarn Preemie Hat. That pattern will always remind me of my daughter, who is the reason I’m even a knitter. And I love that I’m able to give the proceeds from the pattern sales to Family Support Network of Central Carolina. That means a lot to me.
What fiber projects are you working on this moment for yourself?
Right now, I’ve got a lot of WIPs! I currently have 3 pairs of socks on the needles, a sweater for my daughter, and a hibernating toy project. I am always adding squares to my mitered square blanket and knitting hexipuffs for my Beekeeper’s Quilt, too. I’m also working on a new shawl design. And I’m really close to casting on a Baby Surprise Jacket for a friend of mine who is having a baby soon. It’s hard to keep up with everything I’ve got on the needles!
Do you have any special events or pattern releases in the upcoming months?
I’m not sure when my new shawl design is going to be finished, but I’m hoping to get it published by the end of the year.
Where can people find out more about you?
There’s a more detailed version of my knitting origin story on my blog at KnittingDaddy.com. You can find links to my Ravelry store there, too. I also co-host the Unraveling Podcast at UnravelingPodcast.com. Listening to that podcast is a great way to keep up with what I’m currently doing, and what things in the knitting world are catching my fancy. Another place to find me is on Instagram, where I’m @KnittingDaddy.
Bonus Question! Do you pick the pattern or the yarn first?
OK, I know that’s kind of a cheating answer, but it’s true! It really depends on what I’ll be knitting. Sometimes I find a pattern I want to knit and then I’ll keep my eyes open for the right yarn. Other times (a lot of times!), I’ll fall in love with a particular hank of yarn at the shop, buy it, and hope that eventually it tells me what pattern it wants to be. So far, that’s worked pretty well for me.