Meet Your Neighbor - Pretty Sneaky

Who are you?
My name is Katie, my shop is PrettySneaky, and I sell customized, hand knit Chuck Taylor sneakers.

Tell us a little about your family.
I live with my husband, Sam, and our dog, Arthur.  Sam is a big part of PrettySneaky as he's always coming up with great ideas for new designs.  He has his own self-designed pair of PrettySneakies and is always willing to talk up my shop (naturally, since he works in development for a non-profit organization).  Sam is also my primary photographer with creative ideas about locations and props to use for each pair of shoes.  Arthur is our very sweet 8-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer; we adopted him from a shelter about one year ago.  He loves keeping an eye on the squirrels, groundhogs, and birds that frequent our yard.  My parents and brother also live locally and I love having everyone so close by.
Sam & Arthur

Where are you in Maine and what’s it like?
We live in a 1920s bungalow in a great neighborhood in Portland.  We've been in the house for about 1.5 years and I just love it, though the yard often gets out of hand (I'm not the most dedicated gardener).  We have easy access to Portland's trail network, farmers' markets, restaurants, and music and arts scene, so it's a great mix of local amenities.

Are you a native Mainer? If so, what’s kept you? If not, what brought you here?
Robot Knit Chucks
My husband and I are both native Mainers (I'm originally from Brunswick, he's from Buxton).  We both spent time away from Maine after college:  Sam worked in Boston for a couple years and I lived in Scotland for several years while I was in graduate school.  We both feel lucky that we've been able to find jobs, buy a house, and stay in Maine, surrounded by family and friends in a place that just feels like home.  

How long have you been making your craft and what got you into it?
My grandmother taught me how to knit while I was growing up.  She kept a basketful of yarn, knitting needles, and crochet hooks for my cousins and me to use when we stayed over at her house.  I started knitting more seriously in high school and haven't really stopped since!  I enjoy making all kinds of projects, from sweaters to felted animals to socks.  The knitted sneakers came about a few years ago, after I had seen a knitted pair in a craft magazine.  I made significant changes to their model, experimented on a few pairs of Chucks, and developed the techniques that I now use for PrettySneaky.  I love the endless possibilities in design...I'm always finding new ideas for patterns.
Custom Wedding Package

Do you feel your craft is related to where you live?

Yes.  Portland is a really cool city with a great arts scene and Chuck Taylors are everywhere!  It's the perfect place to work on creative footwear and experiment with new designs.  I also enjoy invoking the local area in my designs, especially in terms of color and natural motifs, and using Maine's landscape as the perfect backdrop for my shop photography.  More recently, I've brought pop culture references into my designs and I think those find an easy home in Portland's creative scene.
Butternut Knit Chucks
I also think Maine is the kind of place where many people pursue a variety of jobs to make a living.  PrettySneaky is part of my professional life that also includes teaching art history at several local colleges and universities and volunteering at a nearby museum.  It all keeps my busy, but I love the mixture!  

How has being a part of the Etsy Maine Team helped you?

It's great to have a network of people who are all working in a creative field and selling on Etsy.  When I first opened my shop, I was glad to have fellow Etsy shopkeepers to consult and look to for reassurance.  Everyone is so friendly online and in's an instant community.

What are some of your favorite shops on Etsy?
Wow, there are so many!  I love my scarf and tea towels from Madder Root.  The yarn from Northern Bay Handspun and OnTheRound makes me drool!  I really appreciate the message and ideas behind Mothwritten.  And Atelier Frost always has such beautiful and creative accessories.  Among non-Mainers, I love the bags at WoolyBison and the hats at Bonniesknitting.

Me with Flourescent Fair Isle Knit Chucks
Where do you see yourself and your Etsy shop in the future?
More of the same would be just fine with me!

Where can we find you online and locally?
I'm not in any shops, but I am on Twitter @1_2_KnitMyShoe and on Facebook:

Thanks Katie for sharing a little about yourself and how the wonderful state you live in helps you create!  
Be sure to check out all the other awesome Maine artisans on Etsy, by searching "maineteam."