Katherine Eng Biography

For many years of my youth, I lived next door to my grandmother.  She wasn't much of a housekeeper or cook, but she was never idle. You could rarely have a meal at her kitchen table because on it would be a big basket of wool strips and a large frame stretched tightly with burlap. That's where she worked on hooked rugs.  She designed them herself in floral patterns with bright dazzling colors. When she wasn't working on one of her rugs, she was either hanging wallpaper, tending to her large flower garden, or sitting in her rocker crocheting.  I was in awe of her. She taught me, at the age of nine, how to make granny squares and potholders. I then taught my best friend, Susan, how to make them, and we would sit for hours on rainy winter days crocheting to our hearts' content. I became absolutely obsessed with the art and never ceased to be amazed that you could take a piece of string, whip it around with a little hook and create something solid or lacy.  

Also at nine, I started ballet lessons and fell in love with dance.  Then during my teens, I participated in a children's ballet company for six years, and so between school and rehearsals, crocheting had to be put aside for a time.  It wasn't until my early twenties, while working as a dancer at the Desert Inn Hotel in Las Vegas, that I started crocheting again. Sitting next to me in the dressing room was a girl from Hungary who was part of an acrobatic couple called "Forest and Marika". She was a knitter, and every week, working away between shows and even between numbers, she would knit furiously in the European way, which is very fast.  Every week she would make a complete sweater. I was so impressed with her, I thought to myself, "I should be productive like she is...". So, I started crocheting again and never stopped.  
During the mid to late sixties while living in San Francisco, and working in shows at Bimbo's 365 Club and also a dance group called The Ann Marie Garvin Dancers, I made dozens of crocheted mini dresses and bikinis for two San Francisco boutiques, as well as seven costumes for the dance troupe.  

In the early eighties, I won second prize in a Woman's Day magazine afghan contest for a fan quilt I designed.  That was a turning point and launched my career as a crochet designer.  For the past 27 years, I have worked steadily for yarn companies Coats and Clark and Lion Brand, and periodically for all of the Annie's magazines and books, as well as for Tahki Stacy Charles, Inc., Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest publications and Crochet Today. My specialty is creating crocheted versions of quilt designs.  

Apart from crocheting, my husband and I are official assistants for our daughter, Chelsea, (a professional teacher and performer of Argentine tango), at all of her classes at City College of San Francisco.  Dancing tango is another passion for all of us.