The Design Path Less Traveled: Corrina Ferguson

Meet knitting prodigy Corrina Ferguson, who began designing shortly after she learned to knit. Originally published in knitscene Spring 2014. (Shown above is the Ferguson-designed Shelby Creek Shrug, in Baah! Yarns La Jolla.]

Knitting, for many of us, is one of those talents born out of the hands of our elders. As children, we were transfixed by the hypnotic tune of needles sliding rhythmically across one another, watching as they delicately wrapped the yarn and eagerly dreamed up their garment one row at a time. It was a fascination that drew us in. It started with an impenetrable stare and ended with us begging to learn. There in your grandmother’s, your aunt’s, or your mother’s family room, a knitter was born. Maybe it stuck, maybe it came back later in life, but this knitting path—this generational transference— is a journey many of us share. Many, but not Corrina Ferguson.

corinna ferguson

Sugar Grove Shawl, in Yarn Love Charlotte Bronte Worsted.

Corrina was born and raised in Milford, Ohio, a chilly Cincinnati suburb she remembers fondly for its ice cream socials. As a child, she spent her days as a Girl Scout, camping in the rain, and aspiring to be a lonely poet when she grew up. Her teenage years graduated her to acting and participating in student government, but certainly not knitting. For thirty years she spent her time between Ohio and Nebraska, forging a career with a local newspaper and throwing her vision of rhyming couplets to the side for a more profitable technical approach to writing. A speckle of crochet found itself tangled between technical-manual compositions, but there was still no knitting. Through the career and transient years came a family, a dynamic change that ultimately brought her two boys and a new husband—a far cry from her childhood vision of solitude.

Together, the four of them enjoyed their Midwest existence, but the fateful day came when Corrina’s husband was offered a job in Jacksonville, Florida—a job and move that would allow Corrina to become a stay-at-home mom to her now elementary-aged sons. But with the location shift, career change, and permanent carpool tag came a yearning for something creative, something that would challenge her mind. Noticing her creative itch, Corrina’s husband bought her a Learn to Knit kit, citing that she had always wanted to learn. She tried with great zeal to teach herself, but upon failure, she sought a little outside help to get hands-on instruction, and it was there, among the palm trees, the unfaltering sun, and the assistance of a local knitting class, that a knitter was born.

With that, she was off. She wanted to push the edges of her mind and hands to see what she could produce. Each project had to be bigger, better, and harder. Cables: check. Intarsia: check. I-cord: check. Her projects picked up steam as she continually checked off her mental list, and her fervor for the craft grew and grew. In two years, Corrina’s dedication and innate understanding allowed her to accomplish what can take many knitters a lifetime. Looking back, she thinks her progression may have been too fast, but truthfully, Corrina has never been into conventionality.

corinna ferguson

Clayton Mills Cardigan, in MountainTop Canyon, distributed by Classic Elite Yarns.

Her firm knitting grasp pushed her to teach others, so she took to her local yarn shop to set up classes, only to realize that she was going to need patterns to do so. Without a second thought, she sat down and whipped up her first pattern, the Snappy Hat (which has now been made more than 1,000 times, according to Ravelry). Pattern-writing suddenly gave Corrina the freedom to knit along the road less taken. She realized she didn’t have to take the traditional approach to shawl shaping or hat decreasing. If she rewrote the rules, she could create patterns that sat better, eased softer, and felt naturally feminine. And so she worked and reworked each design, ripping out days of knitting to ensure that the harsh lines were minimized and the piece felt truly organic. And there, a personal knitting brand was born.

Corrina used her organic, no-holds-barred approach with the four pieces she designed for this issue. The I-cord edging and cable waist shaping in the Clayton Mill Cardigan give it a soft, yet tailored feel, making this cardigan perfect for pairing with jeans or an Easter sundress. The Shelby Creek Shrug has a simple “business up front, counterpane party in the back” approach that is sure to embellish any ordinary outfit. The reversibility of the Sugar Grove Shawl makes styling easy, while the two-needle cast-on creates a dramatic, unconventional edge that would complement a strapless dress or flowy top. Finally, the basic lace columns in the Mallory Hills Shawlette create a lightweight shawl that could look great draped over a fitted blouse or even the back of your chair.

corinna ferguson

Mallory Hills Shawlette, in Manos del Uruguay Fino, distributed by Fairmount Fibers.

Eight years after she picked up the needles, Corrina has created more than 137 designs. As an addictive knitter, she can be found knitting and designing everywhere. She sketches the back of a woman’s sweater in meetings, she carries her knitting to the beach, and she knits as she stands in line at amusement parks. The weather may be unforgiving when it comes to heavy wool projects, and the sand inevitably etches into the sides of her delicate lace projects, but Corrina carries on, forging a path as a different knitter, one who doesn’t believe in rules.

Robin Shroyer is a social media coordinator, crafter, and writer in Raleigh, North Carolina.

See more of Corrina’s artistry!



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