I recently joined Missouri Fiber Artists (MOFA) and was asked to answer some questions for a profile in their November newsletter. I wanted to share those questions and answers here. Enjoy!
Please provide a profile about yourself as it relates to your creative side. What connects you to your creativity?
I’m Kate Davey, originally from Liberty, MO, and currently of O’Fallon, MO. I started in fiber arts, as many of us do, when I was taught to crochet by my grandmother when I was around 7 years old. I made the world’s longest crochet chain, and had no idea how to do anything else. Later, in middle school, my dad’s second wife’s sister taught me how to knit and how to crochet more than just a chain stitch at their (dad and second wife’s) wedding, and sent me supplies for Christmas that year. This time the knitting and crocheting stuck (a lot longer than that marriage, by the by....) Thus followed a long string of really embarrassing projects, but eventually I found lots of online resources and forums that rocketed my fiber addiction into new heights. I got hooked on lace shawl knitting and sweater knitting, although colorwork continues to be my nemesis. I also discovered a love of crocheting doilies into gigantic shawls, and was sucked into the spinning and weaving crafts as well. My fiber work has taken over the loft space in my house, and my kids like to refer to it as the yarn shop. In 2011, I started using the moniker MissAnthropyKnits, and have posted on various social media and sold finished works by that name. I now have a website, where I write about and share photos of my projects (among other things!).
Describe the kind/s of artwork you create. While you are engaged in your art practice, what do you think about?
I am absolutely obsessed with lacework, specifically how one lace stitch pattern transitions into another. I am fascinated by shawl structures and how increasing in specific increments and at specific points in a row can create wildly different shapes. I also love the combination of lace and cable work in a pattern. While I venture out into knitting fitted garments or other crafts such as crochet, spinning, weaving or cross stitch, my heart has always been in lace shawls. I am a process knitter, so I don’t necessarily do anything with my finished shawls, but there is nothing like watching a pattern stack up and being able to read where the design is going as you knit. Before I was a parent of three small children, I loved to play around with designing shawls and putting different stitch patterns together, although I have less time for that now. Lately I have been steadily working through shawl patterns that I have accumulated through the years, not to mention the stash yarn to go with them!
Mom's Yarn Shop
What inspires and motivates your creative side? What brings out your creativity and makes it possible for you to make art?
I like the phrase, ‘If I’m sitting, I’m knitting.’ It doesn’t take anything to motivate me to work on my current WIP. I keep my current pattern on my phone, and I carry my project bag around with me everywhere! I can’t stand sitting idle; I constantly have to have something to occupy my hands. When it’s time to pick out a new project, I usually start with the yarn and then find the pattern I want to go with it. I have all my yarn stored in cubbies across one wall of the “yarn shop,” so every time I start a new project it’s like discovering something new. I love that feeling of excitement, anticipation and potential every time I venture into my stash that has been cultivated for over a decade, to find the exact right color, fiber and weight to suit my next project.
Tell us about making a specific piece of artwork (please provide a photo) that is particularly meaningful to you. What does this piece of artwork represent to you now that it is finished?
I suppose one of the most meaningful projects I ever worked on was the crafting I did for my wedding. I made my flowers, centerpieces, and shawls and socks for myself and my bridesmaids. I decided early on that I wanted something to represent myself and my craft in my wedding, but I may have gotten a little carried away. In the end, knitter friends of mine chipped in and helped me with the crocheted flowers for my and my bridesmaids’ bouquets, which made the process even more meaningful to me. Friends from around the world were able to contribute to my wedding, even if they weren’t able to attend in person!
How have you adapted or how did you adapt your creativity and/or marketing to your situation during the pandemic?
One of the benefits of the pandemic that benefited me was the ability to work from home. We actually moved from northern Virginia outside of Washington D.C. to the St. Louis area in February 2020, right before the world shut down. I had planned to work remotely in my job anyway at the time, which cut out a 75-minute commute each way! Since remote work became the norm, I’ve actually been able to take advantage of that in a new job as well. Not having to spend time driving to and from work definitely gives me more craft time, not to mention more family time. According to my tracking on KnitMeter, I knit 4.79 miles in 2020 and 13.1 miles in 2021. That’s quite the shift with less commute time!
What are your creativity goals during the next 12 months? What are three things you hope to accomplish?
I recently have gotten into making large circular shawls like those by Herbert Neibling and others, and I am looking forward to completing more of these larger projects. If I am feeling especially motivated I may finally get my finished objects listed for sale in my re-activated online shop. In the meantime, I’m working on staying on top of writing about my projects, as well as some of the books I read, on my website.