Introducing Mary Claire Phillips, KnitFreedom’s New Knitting Expert

Hello lovely knitters!

Marie Claire PhillipsI'm so excited to introduce to you the newest member of our family, Mary Claire Phillips. Texan expat and resident of Washington, D.C., Mary Claire is joining the KnitFreedom team as our new Knitting Expert.

Mary Claire will be answering your knitting questions and blog comments and acting as my right-hand helper in all things knitting-question related.

To get to know her a little better, I've put together this short interview asking some fun questions.

You may ask her your own questions in the comments!

Interview with Mary Claire Phillips

How did you get into knitting? At what age?

  I first learned to crochet when visiting my grandma around age 6 or 7, and then learned knitting a few years later with my other grandmother.

My passion for knitting developed as I got older and was fueled by a love of listening to audiobooks and time spent with my mom at knitting group, yarn shops, and fiber festivals growing up in North Texas.

What are your favorite projects to knit?

Boop Oop Le PoufI'm a big fan of knitting sweaters, especially if there's colorwork involved. In my free time I like to doodle color charts, and have even considered drafting patterns. My favorite small project has to be socks, which I often end up gifting to loved ones.

What other hobbies do you enjoy, crafting and otherwise?

In terms of crafting, I dabble in a lot of different textile arts. I enjoy weaving, spinning, and embroidery. My latest project has been learning to sew, and I've been making custom masks and dresses.

When I'm not crafting (and the world is not in quarantine), I really love backpacking and visiting museums! I try to visit a yarn store in every country I go to, or at least learn something about the local textiles.

Even at home in Washington DC, my favorite weekend activity is puttering about all the wonderful (and free!) museums appreciating its art and percolating about how history is presented.

Looped Yarn Works

Tell us about the yarn store where you work. Is it the only one in D.C.? What do you do in your capacity there?

I am lucky enough to work at Looped Yarn Works in downtown DC. I help customers with their knitting questions, teach classes, knit samples, and assist with the store's social media.

The knitting community in DC is absolutely wonderful, and I love getting to see everyone's yarn choices and projects. Currently Looped Yarn Works is the only yarn shop in the District of Columbia.

I understand you have another career as a historian. What does that mean and what do you do?

WAC unit photoWhen I'm not working in the world of yarn, I am a historian with a focus on LGBT History. I went to the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in History & Government with Honors. My undergraduate thesis was on the LGBT Servicewomen in WWII, which I have since shared in other forms such as a blog post with the Library of Congress Folklife Center.

Since then I've dabbled in public history, archives processing, and even curating an exhibit at the Goethe-Institut DC. I love reading through old documents in archives, listening to past voices, and shining light on stories that history books have long ignored.

Sleeveless Jackets Pattern 1917Recently, I combined my two passions and joined the Center for Knit and Crochet as a Board Member. CKC is an online open-source archive created to preserve and promote art and scholarship of knitting and crochet. I lend a hand reaching out to different designers and scholars, and see where we can highlight people's work and expand the archive.

In fact, anyone can add their knitting to the crowd sourced archive! All they have to do is fill out this form. It's super simple, and helps preserve the important history of our craft!

You've got a great presence on Ravelry and Instagram. What are your favorite things to photograph?

Rivers Winding Roads Sample TestAww thank you, I appreciate it! I'm actually not much of a photographer, the credit for most of my FO pictures goes to my awesome partner. However, test knits are my favorite thing to get photographed because I love lending a hand to someone's design dream. (For those who do not know, many designers will host a test knit before releasing an official pattern to the public.)

I really love posting on Ravelry & Instagram for the community it fosters and all the amazing knitspiration. Whereas I only knew knitters from my local groups before getting on Knitstagram, now I have knitting pals all over the world!

You've just recently joined us as KnitFreedom's Knitting Expert. What are you most excited about to do at KnitFreedom? Anything you're looking forward to learning?

I am so excited to jump into this community and see all the cool knits people are working on. My goal is to provide the right encouraging words to help someone have that "ah ha!" moment and end up with a knit they're going to love!

I'm also excited to learn more skills to round out my knitting repetoire. KnitFreedom has such an extensive library of tutorials that I'm bound to add a few more knitting tricks up my sleeve!

Our readers are used to one-on-one help from me. How can you reassure them that you'll be just as capable as me at answering their questions?

Self Care SlippersI've been knitting for over 15 years and have seen my fair share of projects and techniques. I like to joke with my students that I make all the mistakes so they don't have to.

Working in an LYS has shown me how to teach knitting skills and adapt to people's various learning styles.

I hope that when I answer your questions, that it'll feel like you've headed to your local yarn shop without having to leave the comfort of your home.

What else would you like our readers to know about you?

That I'd also love to know more about y'all! Why not put a quick introduction  in the comments letting me know who you are, where you're writing in from, something you'd like to know about me, and what's on your needles? I'm so excited to get to know the KnitFreedom family.

Leave a Comment

Excited to welcome Mary Claire on board? Have a question for her? Please post in the comments and let us know.

By Liat Gat - Founder
Liat Gat is the founder and video knitting expert at KnitFreedom.com. She gets great joy out of supporting and encouraging students through instructive videos and blog posts.

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16 thoughts on “Introducing Mary Claire Phillips, KnitFreedom’s New Knitting Expert”

  1. Welcome, Mary Claire. I’ve been enjoying videos from Liat for ages and look forward to your input. I have a request: I need more instruction on brioche knitting. Patterns for two-color and advanced techniques would be much appreciated!

    1. Mary Claire Phillips - KnitFreedom Knitting Expert

      Hi Mary! So nice to meet you :) I also just learned to brioche, and am hoping to do a brioche sweater soon. My first brioche project was a hat, which was a perfect way to learn the steps and quickly get a cozy new accessory.

      Have you checked out the Surfer’s Delight Easy Basic Brioche Hat? It’s a great learning pattern. Here’s the link: https://www.knitfreedom.com/free-pattern/surfers-delight-easy-basic-brioche-hat/

      If you find yourself needing more guidance, check out our Brioche Knitting course which covers all the basics of both flat and in-the-round brioche: https://www.knitfreedom.com/my-classes/brioche-knitting/

  2. Welcome Mary Claire, I have been working my way thru knit freedom classes and make ALOT of mistakes and I’m am slowing learning how to get myself out of trouble. I was sending Liat messages frequently. You’ll be hearing from me :) So interesting you enjoy history, my favorite genre to read is historical fiction. Any era. I enjoy it all. I hope you find your time here fulfilling!

  3. Welcome Mary Claire! Liat has been instrumental in advancing my skills and I’m excited you have joined her. Janie (one of the Looped owners) taught me how to knit! I wanted to learn but didn’t have time until after I retired. Then a friend saw a Groupon for lessons and the rest, as they say, is history. Fab you are working there; it’s the best LYS ever. I don’t live in DC and don’t get there often anymore but, when the virus is better controlled I’ll come back. I’m slow and deliberate so I don’t get a lot of projects done but, I love the process and am usually happy with the results. Right now I’m knitting the 10rowsaday Sideways Sweater. When it comes to sweaters, the fewer the seams the better ;-)) I’m not on Facebook so I hope I will get any tips you blog about through the KnitFreedom site! Thanks!

    1. Mary Claire Phillips - KnitFreedom Knitting Expert

      Hey Marla!

      That is so fabulous you know Looped and the original owners! I actually just met Janie for the first time a few weeks back – she was so lovely. It’s always fascinating to hear how the shop and knitting trends has changed over the course of a decade. Next time you’re in town (pandemic permitting), please stop by and say hello! :)

      Hugs,
      Mary Claire

  4. Love Looped. I visit there if I can while I am in town for meetings. Picture of me wearing my Looped Tshirt during our local yarn crawl.

    IMG 1683

    1. Mary Claire Phillips - KnitFreedom Knitting Expert

      Lee, this is so fabulous! Hopefully we’ll get to meet when you stop by one day :)

  5. Welcome! I’m really excited for you! I’m sure you’ll be able to HELP all of us big time! I know I’ll need some hand holding soon— knitting a Hugo Sweater for my hubs and have NEVER seamed up a sweater before. That’s coming soon. I’m blocking as I knit so I can be ready to seam .
    Anyway….. So happy you’re on board and am looking forward to virtually meeting you!

  6. Welcome! I love your energy and seriously cool outfits.

    Will you be answering people’s knitting questions on the Facebook page? I’ve seen a few there (and maybe answered some).

    1. Mary Claire Phillips - KnitFreedom Knitting Expert

      Thanks so much Nico :) I’ll be helping Liat answer questions everywhere, including the Facebook page. So excited to see what everyone’s working on!

  7. Would love to know the name of the pattern you are pictured in holding the long brown wrap or stole. It is beautiful..is it on Ravelry?

    Thanks!

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