Margaret Kavanagh
[mashshare]

Let’s Meet Courtney, Operations Manager and Creative Editor

courtney knorr crochet editor

Happily Hooked is more than just a magazine to us. It’s the place where we come, just about every day, to share what we know with you, with our coworkers, with our friends.

We’ve become a family and we work on sharing a daily dose of happiness with one another behind the scenes so that we can continue to create a happy place for all crocheters.

With that in mind, I wanted to let you get to know each of us better. First up, Courtney Knorr, Operations Manager & Creative Editor. You know her as the face of Happily Hooked Magazine (along with Shawna), the moderator in our Facebook members’ communities, and the author of those awesome Friday newsletters. You can check out her bio here.

On to the good stuff …

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Hey, Courtney! I want to give readers a behind-the-scenes peek at your job. Let’s say a new issue was just released. What is it like that week for you?

Release WEEKS are actually pretty crazy!

The days leading up to an issue release are full of proofing and editing … then proofing some more. And some more. And then some more. It’s a never-ending job, and things still slip past us.

On Release Day, as soon as my feet hit the floor, I check to make sure there aren’t any problems with downloading the issue. If something feels off to me, I get Shawna and our tech dudes on it right away so we can make sure that our readers have as few problems as possible. (Yes, we know the website is slow on Release Day!)

It’s a lot of troubleshooting, and at the end of the day, I am exhausted! The entire team is involved with Release Day — so just in case you’re having trouble with your download or logging in — make sure you’re kind and patient. We’re a small team — we’re human.

(Or ARE they? This is how I picture them. ~MAK)

via GIPHY

The Rest of The Week

(And pretty much every week) is spent making sure people know how to access their new issue, how to log in to the website, how to download, all that good stuff. I spend a LOT of time buried in my email accounts. I’m answering questions from subscribers, designers, yarn dyers, hook makers … so many emails. But I love it!

I also spend a bunch of time in meetings. I wasn’t prepared for that when I took over as Creative Editor! I knew there would be a meeting here and there, but last week I spent 7 hours in one day in back-to-back meetings. It was insane!! I’m a talker. I like to talk to everyone about everything. But after that day, my whole face was tired! I think I only grunted at my husband and kids when they spoke to me that evening. 😉

If you’re a member of our cozy crochet community, then you know that I’m all over the place there! I spend each day (weekends included) doing what I can to show my appreciation to the gorgeous humans there. The amount of love, support, creativity, inspiration, and awesomeness in that group is incredible, and it’s probably my favorite thing about being part of Happily Hooked. (By the way, Courtney has been a subscriber since 2015! ~MAK)

I also try to squeeze in some crochet time! I have a to-crochet list a mile long!! I’m so inspired by the projects the lovelies in the community share — even things that I never wanted to make become things that I have to make immediately.

Speaking of crochet, how did you start? What is your FAVORITE thing you ever made? Do you have a favorite stitch? What don’t you like to make? What is the worst project you’ve ever made?

I like to think that crochet is part of my DNA.

I have crocheted pieces that my great-great-great-grandmother made. I’ve literally been surrounded by yarn and crochet goodness for my entire life.

I’m a December baby (the 14th, to be precise), and my first Christmas present was a gingerbread man designed and crocheted by my mom. It’s one of my favorite things. Janna actually has it now; she sleeps with it.

crochet pattern courtney first christmas

My mom didn’t do much crocheting when I was little — my brothers and I kept her pretty busy!! But I would watch my Gramma crochet for hours. I was fascinated!! She made a lot of granny squares, and I used to steal them. They were just so perfect for my Barbies and Glamour Gals. (Am I the only person who remembers Glamour Gals?!)

She made me a perfectly pink, granny square blanket when I was about eight, and it went everywhere with me. (I think she did it so that I would stop stealing her WIPs!!) Eventually, she got tired of sewing together countless squares, so she moved to entrelac projects. I always thought she was knitting because her Tunisian hook was so long. While I kind of always wanted to learn, I never actually asked her to teach me. I was content just to watch.

Fast-forward a lot of years to 2006. I was a SAHM to 2 beautiful babies (Gabriel was 2, Elliott was 8 months) … and I was frustrated. I needed something to do, so my mom decided that “something” should be to learn to crochet.

crochet pattern scarf courtneyShe came up to visit (we lived in Upstate NY, she was in PA), and she brought my Gramma’s hooks and a pile of yarn. She spent one whole day teaching me how to make a slipknot and how to make a chain. There was a considerable amount of swearing involved (from both of us). But I got it!!

The next day we hit the clearance yarn section of JOANN Fabric pretty hard. She told me to pick out anything that struck my fancy. I chose two skeins of Red Heart Super Saver — one in Blueberry, the other Orchid. I have no idea why I chose those colors. I hate purple!! I always have! But she taught me to double crochet with them, and I made my first scarf! Woooohooooooo!

When my mom died, I was worried that I’d never pick up my hooks again.

Crochet was “our” thing. She taught me. She was my biggest champion. She was, and always will be, my person. And I was absolutely terrified way down deep in my soul that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it in the same way. The first few weeks after her death were hard. Crocheting was … difficult. All I wanted to do was crawl under a rock. But I knew I couldn’t.

crochet pattern mom courtney entrelac

So, I forced myself to pick up hooks and yarn, and I started small. And I frogged a lot. And I threw a lot of projects away. And I cried a lot. But my yarn and hooks were there for me. They grounded me. I was able to feel close to my mom by making things with yarn she would have loved, and by making projects she would have adored. I made sure to get in a few rows of something every day, especially on the days when I was at my lowest. I even tackled my own entrelac project in honor of both my mom and my Gramma! Crochet was my lifesaver, and I am grateful every day that my mom found the patience to teach me this craft.

crochet pattern entrelac courtney

Favorite project

Hmmmmm. There are just so many!! I can’t choose. But I can tell you that the projects I’m most proud of are my HHM Temperature Blankets. I made one for each kid this year. It boggles my mind that I used over 18,000 yards of yarn for these pretties!!

I don’t think I have a favorite stitch …

… Although I do love me some hdc in the 3rd loop. Slip stitching makes me crazy, though. I don’t mind joining with a slip stitch, but actually crocheting with slip stitches for a project makes me twitchy. Like slip stitch hat bands? Hard no from me.

Know what else gets a hard no? C2C! Nope, nope, nope. I’ve tried it. I even have a blanket over half done, and I hate it. It brings me no joy. That blanket lives in a box in the garage. It’s been banned from the house.

Worst project

I honestly don’t know if I have any embarrassingly bad projects. Have I made things I wish I didn’t? Yes (see above … and picture me shaking my fist at C2C). Have I made things that probably never needed to be crocheted and are inappropriate? Also, yes. But I can’t think of anything that turned out terribly. Unless you count knitting projects — I am trash at knitting.

What do you like most about working at Happily Hooked? I’m going to leave this one wide open.

crochet advice courtneyTHE PEOPLE!! Seriously!

I mean, have you been in our community?! I am not kidding when I say that our community is the best place in the whole world. Every day I am brought to tears by the amazing posts and comments in there. I can breeze in for 5 minutes, and my face hurts from smiling so much. It’s incredible!

I also love the people I work with. I would never have met these people on my own, and I can’t imagine my life without them. Each one of my coworkers brings something different to the table, and they’re all so wonderful. They make me a better person, and it’s a privilege to call them my friends.

(Ok, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the patterns!! I get a sneak peek into issues that no one else will see for months!! And that’s so cool! Plus, I get to fangirl over designers. And trust me, I do a silly little dance every time one of my crochet heroes emails me. It’s just so cool!)

When you aren’t working, what do you do? What’s it like at home? What do you do for fun, and what do you do to relax?

I spend the majority of my free time with my family.

Quarantine has been amazing. Maybe that sounds a little weird, but it really has been. Sure, I’m a little stir crazy and cabin fever set in months ago, but the family time has been so great.

Jon and I get up every day at 5:30 and take a walk together.

It’s like a date … only not really. 😉 (Our actual dates include face masks, hand sanitizer, and trips to the grocery store. Super romantic!) His office has gone remote until at least the beginning of 2021, so we get to spend a ton of time together, and I love it.

We make lunch together, brainstorm work issues, clean the house, whatever. We’ve been married for almost 20 years. Aside from our kiddos, he’s my most favorite person in the entire world. Being able to see him all day, every day, is awesome.

crochet courtney family

I also spend a lot of time with my kidlets.

They’re all teenagers (Gabriel is 16, Elliott is almost 15, Janna is 13), but they still like me! So far, the teenage stage is my favorite! I don’t know if it’s just that my kids are so cool (yeah, I know, humble mom brag), but I find that teenagers are so much easier to deal with than preschoolers and tweens. We play games, talk, make fun of the dog, argue, watch movies, craft … we even crochet together! Ok, maybe just Elliott and I are crocheting together, but it counts!!

Even though I’m a bit tired of these same walls, home is my favorite place to be. It’s loud, furry (our female doodle dog is a hair machine!), and rather eclectic. It has personality! I know clutter isn’t for everyone, but I love it! I inherited my mom’s love of antiques, so there’s weird old stuff everywhere, and every room (except for Gabe’s bathroom) has crochet in it.

If you ever come visit, you’ll notice that a lot of my clutter is Christmasy.

Christmas is my jam!!  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! I leave my favorite festive pieces out all year round, and I have a very special place in my heart for Santa. Is that weird? I just love the magic associated with him — his happy face makes me smile. One of my very favorite pieces of home decor is a crocheted Santa tree topper that my Grandmother made in the 1970s. She lost the pattern, so my mom ripped the thing apart stitch by stitch, wrote down all the counts and techniques, then remade it … plus a bunch of others.  I have 3 of them, and I treasure them!

crochet santa topper courtney

If I had to describe a perfect Courtney day …

It would start with wandering through antique stores for hours on end. Then, we’d all watch a few episodes of whatever we’re currently bingeing. (Right now it’s Bones for the 5th time — I’m hopelessly addicted to Booth and Brennan, as are the kids.) Throw in some crochet or some cross-stitch, maybe a lovely glass of scotch, a bowl of ice cream, and a few chapters of whatever book I’m reading. I like simple things.

Now is the time where you must divulge random personal facts. Go:

I LOATHE mayonnaise!!

Random, but something everyone should know!! I tell people I’m allergic to it. Just the thought of it makes me gag. (Yep, sitting here right now gagging and shuddering.) Ick.

I’m terrified of snakes. I’m pretty sure they’re all over the floor now, so I won’t be able to get out of my chair for a while until I can be sure they’re not there. It’s irrational, I know. I just can’t handle it.

I hated my curly hair for the longest time. (It’s beautiful. I can attest. ~MAK)

I’ve been best friends with my bestie for almost 40 years. I love that I can say that!!

I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue!!

I have well over 200 crochet hooks. I’m obsessed.

I have a degree in Sociology that I never used … ‘til now.

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Ok, so I don’t know what she means by that last part (or DO I?), but Courtney is super fun to work with and she wrote me a really sweet personal note that I’m not sharing with you because it was just for me.

In any case, I feel really lucky to have her as a coworker and I’m thrilled with this interview. I can’t wait to bring you all the next one!

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If you aren’t already a subscriber, you might want to check out what you’re missing. I LITERALLY loved it so much I applied to work here.

It turns out that the people here are lovely. The magazine is wickedly cool, the patterns are amazing like Courtney said. And, if you want to have access to all the previous issues, too, check out the Lifetime Membership, because crochet know-how NEVER goes out of style. Until next time …

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Margaret Kavanagh

www.happilyhooked.com

I've been crocheting since my mother taught me as a little girl. I'm lucky to be working with Happily Hooked and I can't wait to share everything yarny and hooky with you! Yarn over, peeps! Yarn over!

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