Katharina, better known as katandleni on her carefully edited Instagram profile, is a full time mother with a deep addiction to crafting activities, especially knitting. While sewing, crocheting and designing new patterns, she dedicates herself to her lovely kids, by teaching them the importance of handmade clothes and the pleasure of spending their time together. Her lovely motto is, “If I am sitting, I’m knitting”.
Could you present yourself by telling us the last travel you did?
The last place I went to was India, not the best destination to go at 8 months pregnant and with a 3 year old but still a very interesting and eye opening trip! It made me realise how fortunate we are to live in a country where we have a welfare system and where everyone, regardless if income, has access to healthcare. At the moment my life is very busy, looking after my two daughters and renovating our house. I can’t wait until we finish all the building work to start choosing new furniture and decorating. What I like best about my life right now are sticky kisses and cuddles from my big little girl and squeezing and nibbling my baby’s chunky legs!!
Coffee or tea?
Tell us something about you and your relation with crocheting and knitting.
I started knitting after my eldest daughter was born. Before that I used to sew a lot but she always wanted to be held and would only sleep on my lap or in my arms so I used to get very frustrated that I couldn’t sew. I needed a hobby that I could do with a baby on my lap. My auntie had taught me how to knit when I was a teenager so I knew the very basics but I had never knit anything more complicated than a scarf. I decided that I wanted to learn how to knit clothes and learn how to read patterns and that’s how my passion was born!
Do you remember your first knitting project?
My first proper knitting project was a jumper from a knitting kit. I love how kits make knitting so accessible for beginners, enabling you to make a wearable garment even if it’s your first project. That’s why I am so pleased to be involved in creating kits myself now. Hopefully they will also inspire beginners to take up knitting like I did.
Is knitting a hobby or a job for you?
At the moment a hobby. My “real” job is looking after my two girls. I hope to turn knitting and sewing into my full time job once they are older.
Could you tell us your typical day?
My typical day normally begins around 8 with a big coffee. I get my girls up and dressed and we normally rush through breakfast because we are ALWAYS running late. I grab whatever knitting project I’m working on and put it in my bag so if I ever have any spare time during the day I have it on me. Then it’s usually one child’s activity after another- ballet, musical theatre, cheerleading and so on. When we’re not at an activity, we’re normally at some park or at the supermarket. When we get back home in the afternoons it’s the usual chaos of cleaning the house, doing laundry, making dinner all whilst trying to entertain my eldest and hold my youngest. I usually can’t wait until 9pm when they are normally both sleeping and I get to work on my knitting, or edit any photos I’ve taken for IG. I normally go to bed pretty late (between 12 and 1) because I really need some time doing things I enjoy to stay sane. I think often mums forget to make time to pursue their own interests and passions so I never feel guilty about having a late night.
Aside from knitting what are 3 things you are passionate about?
I love sewing and have also started fabric printing, I love most crafts! Once upon a time I used to love dancing – especially salsa and bachata but I don’t get to go out much anymore, maybe I can take it up again in a few years.
How does the place where you usually knit look like?
Anywhere and everywhere. Any spare time I have I spend knitting, in the car (if I’m not driving!), in bed, on the sofa, and lately, whilst I’m cooking. Have you heard the expression “if I’m sitting, I’m knitting”? well, that’s me!
Where does your name and logo come from?
The name of my Blog and IG handle “Kat and Leni” is because I am Kat and I nicknamed my first sewing machine “Leni”. I also realised later that “Leni” is an amalgamation of the first syllables of my boyfriends name “Leandro” and my daughter’s nickname “Nina” Le-ni. Now I feel guilty that my second daughter is not somehow included in the name 🙁
What’s the philosophy below your art?
As I said earlier I think its important to have something you do for yourself just because you enjoy it. I also love being able to make things. Having a task and then having something tangible to show for it is very important to me especially as often all the “work” I do at home seems to be never ending. As soon as I finish laundry for example, my basket is full again so it seems never ending and that can be very frustrating. Having projects that I can finish makes me feel relaxed and productive. I really think knitting is very beneficial to my emotional well being!
Which is your favourite yarn to work with?
I couldn’t possibly choose just one! I love switching between really thick yarn using 8-10mm needles and then going down to 3mm needles and making something very delicate. I’m also desperate to try arm knitting as I would love to work with really really thick squishy yarn!
What are you looking for while choosing the yarns and colours to work?
I love working with soft, calming colours that work well together. As I want to be able to wear or use the things I make I try to stick to one colour palette so that I can combine items easily. I find that since I have applied this rule to my making and also my shopping, I get much more use out of my clothes and my girls’ clothes. The other thing that’s very important to me especially when knitting for children is that the yarn isn’t itchy – otherwise there’s no way that the finished garment will get worn!
When you aren’t making and creating, where would we find you?
Playing, cleaning, doing laundry, driving around like a mad woman! 😂
Your favourite U/KNIT yarn?
Where do you take your inspiration from?
I have been known to spend hours and hours on Instagram!
A knitter you love?
I instantly felt very smug when I learnt that Marilyn Monroe was also a knitter!
What are you working at?
Your next project?
There’s not enough time or space to go into that here. It would be easier to ask what’s NOT on my to knit list!!!
Where can we find you?
Where do you see Katandleni being in 5 years?
Hopefully I will be making a living designing knitting patterns and having an online yarn shop where I can curate a selection of all my favourite yarns from around the world.