Each month on SMP Craft, we feature a Q&A with one of the expert crafters whose books we publish. And this month, we’re pleased to introduce expert knitter & designer NURIYA KHEGAY!
Here are SMP Craft, we can’t get enough of the cute knitting projects (and cute kids!) in MONSTER KNITS FOR LITTLE MONSTERS. Click here to see a slideshow from the book or get your own copy at your favorite local bookseller or from any of the retailers below:
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Nuriya Khegay grew up in Kazakhstan, where her mother first instilled in her a love of handicrafts, but now resides in NYC with her husband and two young children. No stranger to cold winters, when Nuriya became a mom, she began experimenting with creating comfortable, practical winter hats for small children. Before long, the creativity and professionalism of her designs began attracting attention and now Nuriya designs hand-knitted items for world-renowned designers including Donna Karan and Calvin Klein. In addition to her design work, Nuriya sells her adorable hat and mitten sets online through Etsy. And be sure to check back on SMP Craft blog this Friday for a free project from the book!
INTERVIEW WITH NURIYA KHEGAY
Q: The projects in the book are simply amazing. Who first taught you to knit and how long have you been at it?
A: Thanks! Actually, I’ve been knitting over 20 years! My mom taught me when I was only in the third grade.
Q: Is knitting your only creative passion – or do you do dabble is other types of crafts as well?
A: Knitting is definitely not my only passion, it’s one of them! I also like to quilt, paint, and to sew both toys for my kids and items for around my home. I also like to recycle old possessions using embroidery or other crafty techniques – I love turning old stuff into something new and exciting!
Q: What’s your favorite aspect of knitting? And what do you like least?
A: My favorite part of working on a knitting project is when I first get started, especially when I’m working with a new yarn that I haven’t used before. The part I like least is when my yarn ends and I have to join together two ends of yarn – trying to avoid knots and make it invisible – before I can go on knitting.
Q: Do you have a favorite place to knit?
A: Yes! My favorite place to knit is the kids’ room. Often after they’ve fallen asleep, I take my iPad, plug in my earphones and knit or create new patterns while watching my favorite movie.
Q: The projects in MONSTER KNITS are just so darn cute! Where do you get your ideas?
A: I always ask myself first what designs my kids would recognize and enjoy wearing, for example cute animals like piglets or owls. I also draw a lot of my ideas from the yarn itself – sometimes the the color and the texture give me ideas for a new design and sometimes I already know what I want to create and seek out a specific yarn for that specific idea. Occasionally, I am even inspired by popular children’s book or cartoon characters!
Q: And it’s not only the projects in the book that are cute… Who are the kids wearing your knitting?
A: Two of them are my own kids: my daughter Valeria and my baby son Allen. In addition, there are two kids from friends of our photographer, Olivia and Samuel, and our best friend’s daughter Veronica.
Q: Do you often give hand-made gifts to your friends? And what do you like to give? (We’re always looking for more ideas…)
A: Absolutely. I pretty much always give hand-made gifts to my friends and family, especially to the kids. I’ve given everything from my signature coverall hats to embroidery projects, from rag dolls to knitted or sewed toys.
Q: We must know, do you have a fave MONSTER KNITS project?
A: Yes! My favorite project from MONSTER KNITS is the shark coverall hat. I created this design for my daughter when she was about 9 months old. It’s one of the most popular hats in my store online through Etsy. I can knit it with my eyes closed!