Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Interview with The Pretty Knotty Sweatshoppe entrepreneur, Jennie Fernandez

When my gentleman friend called one night to say he had a present for me, my mind filled with images of diamonds, kittens, and designer shoes. The surprise wasn’t any of those things, but it was just as pretty, cuddly and much better for my lower back... handmade crocheted slippers from local crafter, Jennie Fernandez, the genius behind The Pretty Knotty Sweatshoppe.
I was so impressed with my fancy footwear I decided to get the inside scoop on the art of crocheting from the designer herself.
Ok, isn’t crocheting only for old women in rocking chairs? Of course not! I think crocheting is perfect for anyone interested in creating cozy pieces from their imagination for either themselves or others to enjoy. I’ve also managed to coerce some friends into a bit of a “stitch and bitch”. It’s amazing how much motivation good food and good wine provides. However, I do plan on growing old in a rocking chair making slippers for all my circulatory challenged friends.
What inspired you to start crocheting? It all started with my hunt for the perfect red scarf. After exhausting all my options, I gave up my hunt and challenged myself to learn how to make my own. I have to admit it’s pretty handy to be able to visualize what I want in any style or colour combination, even if on a budget.
What’s your favourite creation so far? I’m always freezing cold, so I made myself a huge wrap using a crazy soft mohair blend with big wooden buttons. I practically live in it during the winter because it’s so snuggly. Sharing the leader board is my extra chunky cowl. It engulfs my whole face and neck and makes walks in the cold surprisingly enjoyable.
Why are your crocheted creations some of the best in Edmonton? Oh boy, I feel I’m only starting to establish myself as only one of many Edmontonian arts and crafters. It’s a great social network in which there are many opportunities to either draw ideas, trade pieces or, my favourite, collaborate with others. There’s nothing better than sharing an idea with someone and seeing it actually turn out. Personally though, the majority of my work is custom. Sometimes it is extremely difficult to find simple pieces in stores, like that perfect red scarf. I try my best to provide exactly what someone is looking for by being open to their suggestions and ideas. I guess that’s what makes my shop unique.

How long does it take to make one pair of slippers? Thankfully not as long at it took me when I first started. Like anything, it’s a struggle to learn a pattern in the beginning, but with practice comes ease and quickness. After a while you don’t even think about it. But generally, the size and pattern of a piece determines the time it takes to make.
Any cool, special projects you’re working on currently? It’s blanket mania at my house right now. A few of my friends are having babies, so I’m trying to construct a couple of mini blankets. I am also working on two queen-sized blankets, one that has individual daisies incorporated onto random squares. I’m only half done the daisy blanket and I’ve been working on it for a year.
Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for wannabe crafters just starting out? You just have to keep at it and start off slow and small. I’ve had to rip out hours of work many times after finding one little mistake. It becomes so gratifying once you complete your first project. Once you get the hang of it, crocheting becomes relaxing but repetitive, which forces you to tap into some creativity you thought you never had. It’s such a satisfying challenge.

How can I order from The Pretty Knotty Sweatshoppe? I have put some pictures up of my work on Facebook. Orders and questions can be sent out by e-mail at Also, if you see me around I love chatting about custom orders in person!

No comments

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment! xo