KGO: Full disclosure. you designed this pattern years ago, and we’re delighted to be able to publish it now that we finally have a yarn that does it justice. This is also not the first pair of socks you designed for us – the McIntosh Boot Socks are still a favorite of mine. What do you like about knitting and designing socks and what makes a great sock pattern?
JB: (Ah, the McIntosh socks! I love Felted Tweed to this day.) Socks are great canvases for design because you get to design for knitting in the round and a little bit of flat knitting. You can take them top down or toe-up (I usually stick to the former), and some designers have made clever ways to join if you don’t like to knit in the round.
I like that there are different sections to a traditionally knit top down sock. Each component (cuff, leg, heel, gusset, foot, toe) can feature something different and I like figuring out how to transition between those sections. I treat each sock pattern like a puzzle, figuring out what I want to be in each piece and then how to put them all together. A good sock pattern has a good flow to it; it shouldn’t feel like the knitting is disjointed and choppy.
KGO: What’s next for Jennifer Burke and Burke House Crafts?
JB: What is next is definitely more designing. I was pretty sporadic and even at a standstill a few years ago. I was also a new mom, so math and dot grid paper was the last thing on my mind! I like being back in the groove of knitting & crochet as it means more representation (#Blackgirlsknittoo). Shirley Paden and Grace Anna Farrow were the only Black women I saw in the knitting world, so I’m glad that there are more of us that are visible. We’ve always been here, but now we’re seen and I hope that visibility only increases from here.
I’ve also been proud to help raise awareness of lupus. Working part-time at The Lupus Foundation of America, Philadelphia Tri-State Chapter is one thing that I know has direct impact through research, advocacy, support, and education. I also plan to virtually fundraise for our biggest event, the Lupus Loop, and I’ve got a few pattern releases planned for Lupus Awareness Month in May. I can’t instantly affect all large-scale policies, but I can help this specific community!
Thanks, Jen! <3