lk2g-077 Shannon Okey Interview

In this latest episode of our web video series, we chat with Knitgrrl Shannon Okey about designing, the knitting culture, her newest book and The Stitch Cooperative.

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41 Responses to “lk2g-077 Shannon Okey Interview”


  1. 1 Erica Reynoso Montalvo

    You never cease to amaze me at the variety of topics you present. I loved learning a lil’ more about the business side of knitting and designing. And, CONGRATS, CAT on finishing your Icarus shawl. Just the other day I was wondering about your rust colored autumn shawl – how’s that coming along? A UFO I’ve finished – I finished a pretty little bib for my newest nephew. I started the bib when he was in utero and then abandoned it for a little while. It’s a cute little Cookie-Monster-blue crocheted bib. The yarn was given to me by my 2009 Secret Santa, a Lily Sugar ‘n Cream cotton. This was my first crochet project, so I had to crochet, then put it down so I could read and watch videos on the different stitches. :)

  2. 2 Lisa Sanders

    I love your show…gotta say I really enjoy the outtakes at the end the most!!

  3. 3 Krystal Moore

    I am in love with the red shawl that’s shown in the beginning do you or anyone for that matter happen to know who designed it or the name of the pattern ? I have looked everywhere ha

  4. 4 Tracey Oliver

    As a extremely new knitter (4 months now) UFOs are a new concept to me. In order to prevent accumulating UFOs I’ve decided to only have 3 projects on the go at any one time. This is already proving problematic as I’m finding a boring scarf project is continually occupying a spot. So whilst it seemed like a good strategy it seems my poor neglected scarf is quickly becoming a UFO. Your icarus shawl has inspired me to finish my scarf.

  5. 5 CAT

    Krystal,
    All patterns from the Stitch Cooperative Booth can be found at http://patternmarket.com/

  6. 6 Beth

    I have a very special UFO to finish, it ism a blanket or afghan started by my mother who passed away 4 years ago. With the help of a friend we think we have the pattern figured out and hopefully when I will not cry doing it I will finish it in her memory as of yet it sits waiting for me.

  7. 7 tonya

    My most memorable ufo was a cardigan I knit for my youngest daughter. I had started knitting it about 2 years ago now. I had a bunch of worsted weight superwash merino in 5 colors, 2 shades of each color. I knitted her sweater from sleeve to sleeve. Since I had never done this method before there were a lot of stops and starts. When I started the sweater it was way too big for her, when I stopped it was just the right fit. One day this year, I saw this rainbow in my ufo pile and brought it out. It only needed the button band and the ends woven in. I was so excited I went ahead and finished it. Unfortunately by that time my daughter had out grown it. I think I’ll save it for the first grandchild!
    Thanks for letting me share!

  8. 8 Guru Nam Kaur

    Hi Cat, I’ve been enjoying these most recent interviews. Your Icarus shawl is lovely. You’ve inspired me to finish a beaded shawl I’ started over a year ago. The UFO in my pile that weighs most heavily on me is a cardigan I started for my mother in law two Christmas’ ago. I only have the last little bit of the sleeves to knit and then the seaming. I’m working on it now so that I can knit for me new grand baby on the way. Yay!!! Thanks.

  9. 9 Adrienne

    Your Icarus shawl is absolutely beautiful. Gratz on finishing it.
    My UFO project that stands in mind is the Highland Zip mens sweater. The pattern was originally in the Knitscene, Fall 2007 issue. I saw the pattern and wanted to make it for one of my sons for Christmas. That year money was tight and I bought some Bernat Chunky yarn on sale. I promised myself I would not use acrylic yarn for a sweater ever.. but you do what you have to do. The pattern is a fast knit and I completed the back and fronts in a few days. I was half way through the first sleeve and I was so excited and showed my younger son the pattern and sweater. He say there was something wrong with the sleeves. The upper portion of the sleeve seemed to have too much extra material and he commented that he hated sleeves like that. I lost all interest in the sweater,stuffed it in a box for almost 2 years. I was cleaning out and saw the sweater and it was close to my son’s birthday. What the heck.. I picked it up and finished it puffy sleeves and all. Mailed it out to my son.. them called and asked if he ever wore it. He said yeah. He used it with with layers of shirts and that it was an ok sweater. The end.

  10. 10 Dawn

    The Icarus is beautiful. I have one UFO that isn’t even on the needles. I spun my first fingering and have the bitterroot to start, but just cannot seem to cast on the lace!

    My most recent UFO was the Boyfriend socks for my husband. I started them August 2008 to give to him for Winter Holiday and finally just finished them in May! I spent the last few weeks before he returned from deployment working on nothing else. So nice to have them finished, finally.

  11. 11 chad

    so, i have a thing for stephen west’s patterns, they are age appropriate for everyone of any gender. my favourite was the Herbivore Shawl which i made in the rusty rasta colourway from Caprifool. but i soon got tired of messing up an frogging the thing so i left it in my ufo box and forgot about it. i finished it and because i wanted it to stand out from the other herbivore patterns, i named it the RASTAVORE!!!

  12. 12 Steven

    Cat,
    I have to say that I really enjoy the show. It is such a great refresher, and even better that your viewers can see the people you are talking to and the items you are talking about. Well, my UFO wasn’t stashed away for years, but I was working on the Mangold Vest from the Noro Family pattern book. I fell in love with the picture and bought the same yarn in the same colorway. I worked on it for a while and got the back done and then started worrying that I wasn’t going to like it so I put it away. After several months I pulled it out and completed it. Unfortunately, I was right about my feelings towards the vest. I didn’t feel the colors looked as good on me as they did on the model and the ribbing in the pattern made the vest too big for me. I wore it once and then ended up donating it to a friend for her charity for Relay for Life.

  13. 13 Deborah

    Does it have to be a knitting project? I consider my husband a UFO. It’s been a lifelong project but I think I’m almost finished with it.

  14. 14 Sydney

    Since I have not been knitting for many years I really have started trying to keep UFOs in check. I try to frog or finish, things in hibernation have a period of time there and then it is do or die, so to speak. My second project was a fair isle sweater for my first daughter, I got to a point where I stalled and it sat unfinished for about a year, and when done was my 30th FO despite being my second project ever.

  15. 15 Kimberly B.

    Hi there! I loved the Shannon Okey interview, and thought it was neat that she was inspired to design because she couldn’t find clothing she liked that fit in the stores. That’s what I love about knitting; I’m a bit of a shortie (5’3″), and it’s great to be able to knit clothing that is only as long as I need it to be!
    As far as UFO, I think mine was probably the Hemp for Knitting lacy little top. It used the smallest needles I’ve ever used, and to be honest, I probably wasn’t ready for lace knitting yet (or else I needed an easy pattern to start on). I think I started it, frogged it, started again, put it aside for a couple years, then picked it up again and finished!

  16. 16 Kate

    I go through phases of starting many projects then trying to finish them off – I now have a list of my WIPs and what projects I can start when I finish each one. This has helped me get going on some UFO’s – for example I made the leaves for a Coco Knits wreath and only got around to putting it all together with some pearls when I made a deal with myself that I had to finish it before I could knit anything else (I knit and crochet so was able to put it off for a couple more weeks, just crocheting but finally did it!) I love it and have no idea why I didn’t finish it when I started!

  17. 17 Joyce Gravino

    When my grandmother passed away, she had many UFO’s. Since I am the only one who crochets and knits, I inherited her stash. I have been putting her UFO’s together to make a blanket to cherish forever. I do keep picking it up in between my own projects.

  18. 18 Jennifer Lefaver

    U.F.O’s (unfinished objects or “Uber-Frustrating/monotonous Obstacles”) I have a sock monkey hat, a head scarf, a cotton wrap (supposedly for this summer) and a prayer shawl on the needles right now, but the UFO I am most relieved to be finished with was a vest for my Grandmother-in-law that was knit with this black, hairy, eyelash yarn that prevented you from seeing dropped stitches until 20 rows too late! I finally completed it with much tears and pulling out of the hair. I tucked it away almost long enough to block it from my conscious but it finally caught up with me. Glad it’s done and Grandma loved it!

  19. 19 Debbie

    I have many UFOs. This year I have been trying to keep them in check, and not only not create more, but finish some as well, or frog things that are no longer my taste, or not right for any other reasons. I used Ravolympics as an opportunity to finish many things. I finished a baby cardigan (the intended recipient is now 6 years old!), I also finished a tank top that was for my niece (she is now 8), I finished several 2nd socks. Next on my list is a clappy that was started in sock yarn, and completed about 5/6ths of the way, and then left for over a year!

  20. 20 Suzanne

    Oh man oh man oh man. First off, great episode, Cat! Shannon Okey was awesome. Thanks for bringing her work to us!

    This summer has been the “finally finish all the freaking UFOs” for me, and I finished a REALLY old UFO a few weeks ago! I’ve been knitting an Argosy (which is an easy pattern, really) since November of 2007. I got about halfway in, spilled beer all over my UFO, let it dry, then packed it away so I could study abroad. About 6 months into my 8 month stint in Europe, I realized that the scarf was packed with all my other yarn…and I hadn’t washed it out. I was terrified that a yeast monster would eat all of my yarn, and I would be completely screwed because of this one stupid scarf. The yeast monster didn’t happen, but I still didn’t touch the scarf.

    In between starting my Argosy and finishing it, I spent 8 months in Europe, got married, graduated from college, and moved across the country. Then I finished the scarf. Doesn’t it feel good to finish something, though? (Yep!)

    Ravelry link: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/curriedfruit/argosy

  21. 21 Kimberly

    HI Cat,
    As you I recently decided to raid my ufos and try to get some of them done too. The most recent one I finished was my seraphim shawl which I had started in 2008 and thoutght I would take her out and finally get her done. I love the finished product and like you, am sooo glad I decided to finish it. I also have my kitchen curtain which only sat around for a year but was sooo worth getting finished.

  22. 22 Heather N

    A UFO that has been lingering for years… has been turned into a new project that is still… lingering in a ufo as well.

    I had just started falling in love with knitting again (after taking a break in high school) and saw the 2007 Knitty, Roam Jacket pattern, by cosmicpluto, that I fell in loveeee with! Granted this was my first time wanting to make a jacket. So I went to Micheals and bought a yarn that I loved, Patons Grace yarn in black. I didn’t know a thing about gauge, since this was a first time I had followed a pattern. So when I had knit the back panel I realized I was off by several inches in length… so the yarn was too thin. So I decided to double strand the yarn. Seemed to work. I had completed the back panel, the front left and right panel and was starting the sleeves… and then realized…. mercenized cotten in a seed stitch probably wasn’t the right choice. So I gave up. (I had also done the back in one size, took a break, did the front panels in a different size a year or so later, so just a big mess).

    I decided to do a big granny square blanket with this yarn, especially for hot summers. The idea came from cosmicpluto’s site, from the purl bee, to use left over sock yarn to make a continuous granny square blanket. As time has gone by, I have been frogging over the years and slowly crocheting it. The blanket is getting quite large, which I am excited about and I have one more panel left to frog and wind.

    So a jacket that was meant to be knit in 2007, is now slowly turning into a great summer cotton blanket in 2010… maybe. One day I will make that jacket.

  23. 23 Louise

    Hi Cat,
    Funny, I just finished my Icarus that had been languishing for years too. The yarn was purchased on a trip to Estonia in 2005, and I started the shawl when it was first published in 2006. My friend Gayle admired the color, and since she was moving back to the States, I decided to ‘quickly’ finish it for her. I’m happy to say I got it done in time for her departure last week. What a relief to have it off the needles!

  24. 24 Rachel

    My most memorable UFO was a red, orange, and yellow lace shawl. It sat around for years until I decided to get rid of it. It was way too short, but I bound it off and gave it to my mother as a doily!

  25. 25 Margaret

    Hello! I don’t have too many UFOs sitting around the house. I’m finishing up one right now, though. It’s a fire engine red sweater for my nephew, who will be turning 7 next month. I started it two years ago at his request, but then I had to make Christmas presents, etc. You know how that happens!! A few months ago he said to me, “Aunt Marny, when are you ever going to finish my red sweater? It’s not going to fit me now anyways!” Then, I told him that I was really smart and that when I started it, I decided to make it two sizes too big because I knew it would take me a while and now that it’s almost done, it will fit perfectly!! I really hope he likes it!!!

  26. 26 J Wheeler

    I have only been knitting for a few years, and I am a mostly monogamous knitter, so there aren’t many UFO’s lying around. But my first project was a sweater for my baby girl. When I got to the sleeves, I was a bit overwhelmed, and put it aside. A few months later when I went back to it, it was too small for her, and my gauge was so tight that I couldn’t duplicate it. Instead of finishing it, I frogged and used that yarn for something else.

  27. 27 Sharon

    I’ve been in awe of the UFO’s you’ve completed. Thank you for showing us in a previous show how MANY you had tucked away! Now I don’t feel nearly as bad. I have a pullover sweater that I 90% finished four years ago. I just had the crochet edging to do and don’t crochet very much so kept putting it off. Now it’s too late, I’ve put on enough pounds in those 4 years that it is too snug and will have to be frogged. I can’t give it to someone else, ( my usual solution) because I’m 6 ft. tall and knit it to my proportions. I guess I need a tall good friend.

  28. 28 Naomi

    My only UFO is from elementary school – a cardigan from Vogue Knitting winter 1989 in a sport weight peach acrylic. I think I got second sleeve syndrome. Needless to say, it will never fit me and it is a testament to my earliest knitting days. I’d go the the neighbors on Sunday afternoons for knitting lessons. We’d do dish clothes, scarfs and socks. I should dig this out and frog it, or finish it and donate it. Thanks for the reminder to give it another look.

  29. 29 Pat

    Oh,where to begin with UFO’s. I have my dear husband’s cardigan and then there are the socks for my one daughter and I can’t leave out my eldest daughter’s sweater and my son’s pull over. I hope they have knitting in heaven.

  30. 30 Mrs. Tommie

    Way back in 1985 when I was fairly newly-wed living in Germany, I started a sweater for my husband. Foolish novice that I was, I didn’t have a clue that I was in over my head. The pattern was written for a knitting machine and I needed to hand knit it. I was a bit too slow and we moved back to the States before I was done. I was heartbroken when I realized I didn’t have enough yarn to finish the sweater, but I was too far along to give up. I’d get the carcass pieces out a couple of times a year, wonder what to do, and shove them back into the bag.

    In the late winter of 2006 a dear friend encouraged me and helped me find yarn to finish the sweater. It’s a classic first sweater in that it doesn’t really fit the intended wearer even though kindly wore it once in public anyway.

    Ravelry link to the sweater pic
    http://www.ravelry.com/projects/MrsTommie/the-20-year-sweater

  31. 31 lisa payne

    ufo’s are supposed to be finished? who knew…I have so many! I have one that’s at least 4 years old, when I started knitting, it’s a shrug, it only needs to be seamed….

  32. 32 Bevin Aguero

    If anything I’ve knit has looked more like a Unicorn’s barfed-up spaghetti than Actual Knitting™, it’s the bright lavender Flickering Flames Skirt pattern, from Elann.com in their Endless Summer Luna yarn. Think cotton/rayon blend with a sheen.

    Needless to say the pile in the basket with 600sts to a row wasn’t particularly appealing near the end. (Completing both a movie and a row at the same time can be a solemn affair after all).

    How did it turn out? Beautiful. Yet another lesson learned: Unicorn barf, while offensive at first, won’t be so bad once you muck around with it a bit and force it to take a bath.

    Time spent alone on the swing because none of the other kids would play with it: 2 years.

  33. 33 Sammy McGaha

    I finally finished my first adv beginner project, a shell. I used Lion Brand Incredible ribbon yarn (Copper Penny). I must say, it took me a while but, I finished it!! I wore it and everyone LOVED it! It was quite a challenge from just knitting a scarf or purse!! LOVE THE SHOW!!

  34. 34 Liz

    Hi Cat,
    Let me first start off by saying I loved the interview, Your shawl is simply gorgeous!! The ufo I completed was a blanket for my daughter, it had been hibernating it seems like forever! Now it is finished and my daughter can enjoy her blanket!!

  35. 35 lisa smith

    My UFO I had many challenges with was the Wicked Easy Vest. For some reason it was Wicked to me! after several restarts and much frustration I took it apart for the final time. May it R.I.P.

    Thanks for your podcast. I look forward to the next one. I love the goof clips you play at the end!

  36. 36 Megan

    I have a scarf that has been sitting around waiting for me. Its a really basic scarf, but I’ve been waiting for the time to dye and spin the perfect color of yarn for it.

  37. 37 Angela

    I have not been knitting myself long enough to have ufos that have been ongoing for years, however I am currently finishing a blanket that was started by my grandmother who passed away over 10 years ago, I will be finishing a ufo that is older than me.
    love your podcast <3

  38. 38 Nina

    Hi Cat, I’ve been knitting for almost 1 1/2 years. The first thing that got me into knitting was socks! Always loved them! But when I started, I realize, I was just a beginner, socks seemed a little more difficult than I would have liked to admit! So I started with scarves and beanies, and shrugs! A little nik-naks here and there! So my UFO’s just piled up! Then it happened! I gained enough confidence to try! And I was successful I completed my first pair of socks! But then I never saw them again! My mom saw that I completed them, finally, and she took them! So hopefully until next time I will probably have completed my next pair! HOPEFULLY!

  39. 39 CAT

    Our winner of the Cherry Tree Hill Suri laceweight alpaca yarn is Mrs. Tommie!

  40. 40 Helena

    hi. i love your Icarus shawl. i just started watching your video cast and i am actually knitting my won icarus as well. i am up to the pattern edging finally. i am glad i have a lot of your shows to get through to keep me occupied. i like to watch and listen through all of the back episodes of all podcasts and video cast i follow. so i’ll be here a while. i think i will switch back to the earlier episodes again soon.

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