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Where We Began and What We Aspire to

Paulina Ramirez, Co Designer of Crow and Finch
Paulina Ramirez

I started knitting when I was about 8 years old. A friend of my family taught me. She was older than my parents and she was like a grandmother to us. I will always be indebted to her for initiating my love of crafting. I stopped knitting for a while; but when I had my first back surgery, I could no longer work a conventional job. I started knitting clothing for my daughters’ American girl dolls. Friends and family started asking me to make items for them as well. I saw a business in knitting: a way to help provide for my family. From there, I started making neck warmers for kids, as they weren’t allowed to wear scarves at the local daycares.

A brown haired and dark eyed American Girl doll wearing a knit pink and white dress made by Paulina

I loved that I was making money doing something I loved.

When I was able to go back to work, I kept knitting as a side business. I learnt to crochet and started making shark and mermaid tail blankets as a part of my side hustle. I became known as “the Mermaid Tail Lady” at some point; because it was my most popular seller and it seemed like they were all that I was making. Subsequently, I discovered crochet dolls and amigurumi. For a while I was making dolls that looked like the person who ordered them. My side business was doing great, but my health was decreasing.

When I was diagnosed with Addison’s disease, Fibromyalgia, and Degenerative Disc disease; I saw knitting and crochet as my salvation. My way of doing something, anything, instead of wasting away in a bed. I started making garments and testing patterns, while continuing to take commissions. A few designers who I had tested for saw something in me that I did not see in myself at the time. They encouraged me to publish my own designs and I took the leap in 2018 starting YNIK Designs.

Crochet Doll of Frida Kalho made by Paulina

A Crochet Doll that Paulina made to match an outfit with Rolling Stones mouth with tounge sticking out shirt, blue jean skirt and black and grey stripped leggings.

I started designing because I felt there was a gap in the knitting and crochet pattern market in making plus sizes feel sexy. I’ll never forget entering a store at my heaviest weight and being told that they had nothing that would fit me. I swore that one day I would make clothes that worked for my body and others like me. Now I use different design and construction elements that benefit all shapes and sizes, focusing on plus size bodies.

A purple yarn ball unraveling.

Neko richardson Co Designer of Crow and FInch
Neko Richardson

From a very young age I was never really very far from a box of crayons or some other crafty doodad. I basically started to collect crafts and artistic skills instead of beanie babies and pogs. In my early 20’s I developed seizures and that made holding down a job difficult. Shortly after getting married, my husband got stationed in Italy. My husband’s frequent deployments often meant I was left to my own devises for weeks to months at a time. I couldn’t speak the language and exploring the country by myself was a not possible due to the seizures. My husband encouraged me to do anything I could to alleviate my boredom and anxiety. I took college courses, read constantly, and tired to keep busy. Nothing seemed to help. It got so bad that I had frequent panic attacks and developed anxiety triggered Dermatophagia, something that I still struggle with to this day.

A crochet bunny with an embrodiered flowers and a purple K on the body waiting to be assembled.
Emma Bunny, pattern by Kerry Lord

One day, my husband dragged me to the Arts and Crafts Center on the local Base. It was small and only had a few bits and bobs covering various hobbies (think everything from quilting to scrap booking). Their biggest section by far was yarn. I grabbed a hook, some cheap bamboo straight needles, and a BRIGHT green skein of cheap acrylic yarn. We then bought a how to crochet book from the Base Exchange and off I went... and FAILED miserably. I just couldn’t wrap my mind on how to get the stitches to work so decided to try knitting.

This was 2010 and how to videos for crochet and Knitting hadn’t really inundated Youtube yet. But did exist. With it I figured out the basics and my needle flew. With the rhythmic click of my needles my anxiety was eased. Knitting became my coping mechanism. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my first child that I was finally able to figure out crochet.

An intricate beaded lace shawl on a brick wall with a little girl standing in front for scale.
The Raven pattern by Wnedy McDonnell

I began challenging myself by picking the hardest rated patterns on a popular knitting site. Soon I realized that very few patterns available came in my size and those that did were often poor fitting. I started test knitting and tested for Paulina in early 2021. She saw potential in my technical skill and knowledge and convinced me to join her in a partnership.

Crow and Finch Logo, a Black Crow and a grey finch sitting on a branch

Crow and Finch- Our aim is to create versatile patterns with a span both classic and alternative styles, focusing on plus size bodies. What we want is to be known for making pieces that make people feel like what they are and what they deserve. Human, worthy and beautiful. Being plus size doesn’t mean one needs to hide their being by wearing oversized garments. It is a niche that needs to be filled and we are here to fill it.

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