Simone Kereit of OwlCat Designs Shares Her Background and Design Inspiration

Cats always land on their feet, they say, and knitwear designer Simone Kereit of OwlCat Designs has done just that. As we chatted in a local café, connecting over muffins and fiber, I marveled at the ingenuity expressed in each of her pieces. Through her numerous patterns, she has explored and mastered knitting techniques like texture stitches, lace, and colorwork.

Simone’s educational background in art and languages is evident in Markanda, a mosaic slip-stitch shawl that reflects the beauty of the ancient bazaars along the Silk Road, a network of ancient trade routes that connected East Asia and Southeast Asia with East Africa, West Asia, and Southern Europe.

Simone’s educational background in art and languages is evident in Markanda, a mosaic slip-stitch shawl that reflects the beauty of the ancient bazaars along the Silk Road, a network of ancient trade routes that connected East Asia and Southeast Asia with East Africa, West Asia, and Southern Europe. | Credit: OwlCat Designs

Knitting and designing patterns has always been a steadying force in Simone’s life. Born in Switzerland, she learned to knit from her mother almost as soon as she could manipulate the needles. She fondly recalls knitting in elementary school, describing the craft as an integral part of the curriculum. Simone moved to the United States in the 1990s and after her fellow knitters encouraged her to share her designs.

Some of her patterns are quick knits like Billow, a brioche and stripe basket weave cowl worked on US #15 (10mm) needles, creating a wonderfully squishy fabric perfect for staving off winter’s chill.

Some of her patterns are quick knits like Billow, a brioche and stripe basket weave cowl worked on US #15 (10mm) needles, creating a wonderfully squishy fabric perfect for staving off winter’s chill. | Credit: OwlCat Designs

Her Silk Road collection, full of inspired patterns, includes the intricate lace crescent-shaped Samarkand Night Market shawl, evoking exotic images of arched doorways and filigree window screens. Another shawl, Khyber Pass, designed with simple lace and garter stitches, suggests snow-capped mountains of a faraway land.

The top-down worked round yoke sweater/-coat, Björt (which means “bright” in Icelandic), is a versatile design that can be knit in either an aran- or bulky-weight yarn, resulting in two very different garments.

The top-down worked round yoke sweater/-coat, Björt (which means “bright” in Icelandic), is a versatile design that can be knit in either an aran- or bulky-weight yarn, resulting in two very different garments. | Credit: OwlCat Designs

Silk Road
Magnificent stands palace bold
madrasas and bazaars of old.
We’ve heard many a story told,
but nothing does prepare the eye,
to see so colorful and bright
from far and wide in rich sunlight,
The blue and turquoise colored tiles.
Not just façade but archways, roofs,
ceilings, domes and windows too,
covered with tessellated tiles .
In awe we stare, forget our trials
of weary paths we’ve trod,
in countries strange and odd,
nor language we barely comprehend
true artists see and understand
things crafted by a master’s hand.
—Simone Kereit

Simone Kereit’s diverse collection of knitwear is awe-inspiring. Life’s many twists and turns are reflected in the thousands of knits and purls of her clever designs. Focusing on wise choices and resilience, Simone of OwlCat Designs provides the knitting community with talented artistry in the form of her knitting patterns.

Simone is also a featured designer in our special reprint edition of knitscene Accessories 2014—available in stores now!

And a special treat for Interweave readers: enjoy 20% off Simone’s Procrasti Nation 2 Collection with the code, “ColdHands2”! Procrasti Nation 2 is a collection of six quick knitting patterns, prefect for gifts or any last-minute crafting needs.

Besides her Ravelry presence Simone also has an Etsy shop featuring her hand-painted sheep pendants and a Youtube channel for her podcast and knitting tutorials.

(All photos courtesy of OwlCat Designs.)


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