a chat with C.C. Almon

Late last month I sat down over virtual coffee with C.C. Almon, a knit designer, podcast host, and retreat coordinator currently living in Edinburgh. So without further ado, let’s jump right in:

little acorn:
You are always busy, it seems like you need all that coffee. What lead you to start knitting and how did that cascade to the podcast, the retreat, and your book?
CCAlmon - at Edinburgh Yarn Festival where my book launched with my new life motto - But First CoffeeI’ve always been crafty having grown up with a great-grandmother who did needlework, a grandmother who painted and sewed, and a momma who did lots of crafts including cross stitch. I dabbled in lots of crafts over the years, but had always wanted to learn to knit. Why? I’m not sure. I didn’t know anyone who knit. It was just always calling to me.

So I finally answered the call in 2005 when I purchase a Learn to Knit kit from a big box store. I was instantly in love! The first few years, I knit mostly blankets and hats.

Things exploded in 2012 when I took a sock knitting class. In 2013, I released my first big pattern (Rescue Me, Chin Boy, & Show Me the Stars – Doctor Who Inspired Socks) after I was gifted a gorgeous skein of yarn that I knew needed to be a certain pattern, but I couldn’t locate one, so I made it up.

Since then, I’ve designed 33 patterns (mainly socks which are usually geeky themed, but also shawls, cowls, and a few misc. things).

The podcast came about in 2012 when the owner of an LYS we frequented introduced me to knitting podcasts. She kept saying that she thought Dami (my then 12 year old daughter) and I would be great podcast co-hosts. We recorded the first Geeky Girls Knit video and then another and now it’s been almost 4 years and almost 200 weekly episodes (I think in the 4 years, we’ve missed recording maybe twice because of illness).
the Geeky Puffin Knit Palooza co-hosts - Sam Boggia, C.C. Almon, and Dami Almon

The retreat came about after we moved from Texas to Edinburgh, Scotland (the Hubs is studying for his PhD in Theology at the University of Edinburgh). We took a holiday to London and stayed with another podcaster for almost a week. During our time together, Sam of the KnitRunDig podcast (and the maker of gorgeous project bags as well) & I discussed that we’d love to see a knitting retreat here in the UK. By the end of our time together, we had started planning and the first Geeky Puffin Knit Palooza retreat was held here in Edinburgh, Scotland, in October, 2015. This year we’re going to be down in Farnham, England, which is near to where Sam lives, in November for the 2nd annual retreat.

CCAlmon - the 1st copy of my book
And then there’s the book! As I mention in my book, I wasn’t raised in a family that drank coffee. When I got to college, I quickly became addicted. I’m so addicted that I bring my coffeemaker with me when visiting family because I can’t go without my morning cuppa. My coffee likes tend to run toward the sweeter coffee drinks, especially pumpkin spice. I designed the I Love You More Than Pumpkin Spice Socks and the Strawberries and Cream Frappe Socks as single patterns and they did really well. When I was accepted to vend at Edinburgh Yarn Festival for the 2nd time, I knew I wanted to have a book to sell. I took the 2 patterns I had and then spent the next 4.5 months completely immersed in coffee and knitting to design 5 more patterns which culminated in my Coffee With C.C. ~ A 7 Pattern Caffeine Inspired Knitting Collection book. It has sold so well that I just had to order a 3rd print run last week. I’ve already got ideas for a 2nd book, so keep your eyes out for that hopefully in Spring 2017.

little acorn:
I’m on record with loving the first book, I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!
What would you like people to know about you that isn’t on your about pages?
On the podcast and at events I attend/vend/host, I appear to be extremely extroverted. However, I’m actually much more of an introvert and a homebody. I do like going out for coffee or to our LYS, but being home with the Hubs and Dami is my favourite!

the family - Russ, C.C., and Dami Almon

little acorn:
When not knitting (or drinking coffee), you can be found…
Devouring books! I am a speed reader and I go through a lot of books every year. Thank goodness for Kindle! You may think I’m kidding about devouring books, but I just checked my Goodreads and I’ve already read over 140 books in the first 3.5 months of 2016. LOL! Although a lot of times you’ll find me knitting, drinking coffee, AND reading at the same time!

Other than that, the family and I watch a lot of telly! We especially love geeky shows like Doctor Who, British shows like Sherlock, and we also keep up with a lot of our favourite US shows like Elementary, Grimm, Supergirl, NCIS, and lots more.

little acorn:
Wow, I thought I was a voracious reader. Reading ebooks from my tablet has made it much easier to knit, drink coffee (or tea), and read at the same time!
As you are all parts to the business, How do you decide what to do and use that to inform and direct your process of making? Where do you go to find inspiration? What part of the process provides the greatest pleasure? What part do you struggle with?
My bullet journal keeps me going. I have so many lists and I love marking things as done! Honestly, I adore lists (and spreadsheets), so…. As I’ve gone through the design process more and more, I’ve come up with a routine that works for most patterns. I have a checklist that keeps me on track. It’s rare to find me without my bullet journal as you just never know when inspiration will strike.

Inspiration? Well, it’s geeky things for the most part. I now have 13 Doctor Who inspired patterns (12 socks & 1 cowl), 1 Outlander inspired sock pattern (with a new cowl coming in May), & 1 Firefly inspired sock pattern with some old and new fandom inspired patterns coming out this year. Then I have the coffee inspired patterns, 7 sock patterns & 1 shawl pattern. The other 10 patterns range from being inspired by Edinburgh to silly things such as a walking cane cosy called My Cane Didn’t Want to Be Naked Anymore. And who knows what’s next!
the Doctor Who Inspired patterns as found on Ravelry
I find the greatest pleasure in doing the photoshoot and putting the final pattern together. Seeing all the hard work come together so I can share it make me so happy!

I have been struggling with finding enough time to knit all the designs that I come up with. So to remedy that, I hired a sample knitter (my 16 year old daughter Dami, she’s an amazing knitter in her own right & she wanted a way to earn money so this has worked out perfectly). I’m beginning to consider that I might need to hire another sample knitter just to keep up with everything. It’s hard letting this part of the process go, but I had to find a way to make things easier and this has been the solution.

little acorn:
Kitten or puppy snuggles?
Definitely kitties! We can’t have pets where we’re living now, but one of these days, I plan to have a kitty of my very own. In the mean time, I live vicariously through friends who share pics and kitty snuggles.
little acorn:
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me!

CC can be found at www.JavaPurlDesigns.com. From there you’ll find links to all her different projects.

Coffee with C.C.Coffee with C.C.
by C.C. Almon / JavaPurl Designs
ISBN: 978-0-9935586-0-3
Available digitally at ravelry and JavaPurl Designs.
Please check physical book availability.
Patterns are also available for individual purchase and digital download at ravelry.

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