Interview with Noriko Ho, Knitwear and Crochet Designer

By Rachel Leggett | Published November 08, 2020

I was so excited to get to virtually sit down with today’s interviewee. Noriko is one of the only designers I know who regularly publishes both knitting and crochet patterns and has found success in both. Because of that, I think she brings a unique perspective to the table.

Noriko Ho is an Asian American knitwear and crochet designer. She has been professionally designing since 2014, and self publishes under the name Norichan Knits. Her designs have been published in magazines such as Knitscene, Knit.Wear, and By Hand Serial; and featured in collections with Quince and Co, Berroco, and Knit Picks.

Noriko’s passion for color can be seen in her designs; she often combines vibrant colors to create fun and fashionable items. Her designs vary in skill level, but typically offer a good balance of easy enough for a beginner, yet interesting enough for an experienced crafter.

As a knitwear-only designer, I definitely learned some interesting tidbits from this interview! I hope you will enjoy reading about her perspective.

Let’s meet Noriko!

Noriko modeling her colorful Steggie shawl over a white dress in front of a graffiti wall.

In This Interview

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview! Please start by introducing yourself.

Hi! My name is Noriko Ho, and I’m an Asian-American knitwear and crochet designer. I love working with color, as can be seen with many of my designs.

I suppose you could say I learned how to knit when I was 8 years old, but honestly, I didn’t seriously knit or crochet until I was 21. After that, though, I fell in love with the fiber crafts!

In 2014, I decided to start designing knitwear and crochet, and it became my passion. My focus leans more towards knitting, but definitely am working to expand my crochet portfolio as well.

Why did you choose to design for both knitting and crochet?

Knitting came naturally, as I found myself not only altering patterns as I worked them up for myself, but also creating new things almost immediately after learning to knit. When my friends started asking if I could help them understand a pattern, and I was “rewriting” patterns for them, I realized that I had the ability to write up my own creations. I decided to go for it, and have never regretted it!

Crochet came a bit later, but I’ve been enjoying working up my crochet designs, as well! I love working in both crafts, and find that I will end up in a knitting slump every now and then. In those times, I will turn to either crochet or spinning, and one day I decided to work up a design in crochet.

Do you do anything differently when marketing a crochet design versus a knit one?

Not really. Truthfully, my marketing strategy is quite simple, in that I focus on Instagram. In the past year or so, I’ve also given my Patreon supporters a day to a few days heads up when a design launches, as well. They’ll get the in-depth story/behind the scenes/inspiration about the pattern before everyone else. I’ve been loving this, as it helps me decide what I’d like to talk about in my Instagram posts the next day (or few days). :o)

(Added by Rachel: for tips on social media marketing, check out Start Designing Today’s social media marketing resources section.)

Do you notice a difference in your audience? Does one craft tend to do better (e.g. on social media, in sales, etc)? Does one craft tend to drive more traffic?

Oddly, the knitting patterns appear to get more of a boost when marketing a launch of a pattern, when compared to a crochet pattern. This may be because the majority of my designs are knitwear, so it’s likely my followers lean more knitting than crochet.

But I will say, it does still seem that anytime I repost later for a crochet pattern (a #tbt or the such), it does get a temporary boost in sales again, though.

It is interesting, though… I have found that a lot of crocheters who have worked my designs had not worked in fingering weight yarn before, nor blocked their projects before, either! I’m not sure the reason for this, but it always makes me happy when I hear that a pattern of mine allowed someone to expand their repertoire (in either crochet or knitting)! <3

What differences are there between knit and crochet pattern style that someone who only works with one might not be aware of?

Hmmm, good question! It surprises me how different they may be. It almost feels like there is more to explain in crochet, often. Since crochet can be a bit more free-form, it can sometimes be difficult to explain where the next stitch should go… due to this, I’ve seen a number of different variations to say similar things. I would guess this is why there are a lot of photo tutorials built right into crochet patterns, but references offered in knitting. The photo tutorial patterns assure that the difficult steps are performed exactly as the designer intended.

The other thing that I found interesting is that there are options given for knit charting programs, but there are almost no crochet charting programs, and the ones I’ve tried are not as easy to use as the knitting ones. The best charts are ones that have been done by a graphics designer. In addition, it has been easier to find tech editors for knit patterns than crochet patterns.

(Added by Rachel: click here for our links to charting programs and click here for our resources on tech editors.)

Is your overall process the same between knit and crochet design?

Most definitely. For me, it’s easier to start with a basic idea, work up sketches to get an idea of how I’d like to construct this item, then the yarn and swatches before the calculations. This is true for both knit and crochet.

I would definitely encourage working up miniature versions of your final object (maybe not in full, but at least work your construction idea to be sure it does what you’d like before jumping in) as your swatch. Also, in the end, you have the cutest swatch ever! Haha!

(Added by Rachel: click here for resources around getting started with an idea, including how to swatch.)

What are your personal favorite resources for either craft?

I have been using Ysolda Teague’s sizing chart to grade my garments. I appreciate that it offers measurements every 2” instead of letter sizing and ranges. While not all my garments are graded at every 2”, more often every 4”, I find that sometimes I want the fit for my sample sweater at 38” and sometimes at 40”. I also use croquis to see how I want the fit to be, what kind of drape I’d like to end with, etc. Having croquis in various shapes and sizes is essential, as you want to experiment with differing ease for each design.

Where can people follow you to keep up with your work?

My complete design portfolio can be viewed on Ravelry. I also have most of my self published work on Payhip.

I am currently working on adding my own webshop to norichanknits.com, which is currently my blog. Once the webshop functionality is complete, this will be the landing page for both my own webshop and my blog (which I am very excited about)! :o)

You can also find me on Patreon, where I share sneak peeks and previews of upcoming designs, share exclusive videos, and more. And on Ko-Fi as norichanknits.


Did you like this interview? Let Noriko know on Instagram!