Today’s interview is with Mexican-American crafter, Karen Abarca. Karen own’s the Etsy shop, Knit by Pearl, where she sells knit and crocheted accessories from her own designs, as well as jewelry. In addition to Etsy, you can also find Karen through the Knit by Pearl blog.
All photos are used with permission and are (c) Karen Abarca/Knit by Pearl.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you learn to knit and crochet?
Karen: My mother taught me how to knit and crochet after I wanted a cardigan from Dolce & Gabbana that we couldn’t afford. From there I YouTubed how to read patterns and kept practicing.
UC: What inspired you to start selling your crafts on Etsy?
Karen: A friend recommended me to sell my items on Etsy. Once I looked at the website, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.
I love to knit! It is one of the best ways I spend my time. It is relaxing and gives me something to do when others would just sit around (like when watching a movie!). I want to keep my shop current and so I am always knitting something new.
UC: Do you design your own patterns for the items you sell, or do you adapt patterns from other designers?
Karen: I make up my own patterns. Since my knits are accessories it is easy to incorporate a stitch pattern into something I want to make. It’s more creative and fun if I do it on my own. Knitting is great because there are so many ways to make something.
Karen: I am studying fashion design at FIDM and hope to continue on into the Film and TV Costume Design program. School has given me a new found appreciation for knitting and handmade garments. I have time for both because I am quite good with timing. I am not a procrastinator and so I always find time for myself and to do the things I enjoy.
UC: Tell us about your cultural background. How important were the yarn crafts in your childhood?
Karen: I am a proud Mexican American. In Mexico, I was always around older women crocheting or hand embroidering. I never really saw many women knit, which is probably why I found it so fascinating when I first started. My favorite yarn shop is in Teocaltiche, Jalisco, Mexico. It has the most beautiful variety of yarns and colors. I could never find yarn so vivid and inspiring as I could in that shop.
UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?
Karen: I definitely think I have a strong tie to my cultural background. I am proud of my heritage and believe there is always evidence in my crafts. I will say also that there are many other cultures that influence me daily. All cultures are beautiful and have something to offer.
UC: Do you have any favorite Spanish or English language crochet, knitting, or craft blogs to share?
Karen: I am not that much of an internet buff. I prefer being off the computer to being on, and so I haven’t had the time to look up any craft blogs. But I would if you’d recommend any!
Thanks for stopping by Karen, and taking the time to share your work with us.
The next interview in the series will be posted on October 5 with Diana Rivera from Arte y Poemas.