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Annie Watts knits up nifty new ideas with Wattsolak Designs

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Knitting projects don't have to be ugly sweaters or grandma scarves. Annie Watts, creator of Wattsolak Designs, brings new ideas to this ancient craft with knitting patterns that include mythological figures, mythical creatures and robots. She designs hats, mittens, scarves, soft toys and more, and shares the patterns with knitting aficionados so they can create their own.

See also: Knit wit: Local crafter Daddy Lion Legs makes made to-order hats and scarves

Watts, a Colorado native, is currently based in Lafayette. A life-long crafter, she began knitting twelve years ago. "I found myself in a craft store one day and picked up a pair of needles and a real basic, simple 'how to knit' book and taught myself just kind of on a whim," Watts says. "It seemed like something I should just know how to do, something I should learn."

Knitting went from a hobby to an outlet for creative experimentation, and Watts's friends soon urged her to write down the patterns for her designs so that they could knit similar creations. In 2010 she began her blog, where most of her individual designs can now be purchased for $5. "It just kind of snowballed from there and became a full-time business," she explains.

A fan of science fiction, Watts has plenty of inspiration for her designs. "A lot of it comes from the fantasy side and the real creative, imaginary stuff that has a lot of fodder for cool ideas," she says.

She's created a set of mythology-themed products, including Medusa mittens and Pandora and Sisyphus mitts. And in May she released a book of designs titled Cryptozoology, which includes Big Foot slippers, Chupacabra mittens and a Sea Serpent soft toy.

Aside from the themed sets, Watts creates stand-alone designs based on childhood memories, pop culture and her husband's drawings. "Those singular ones just kind of pop into my head fully formed and need to be put out right then and there," she says.

While thinking of new ideas, knitting samples and writing down the patterns, Watts doesn't have time to create products to sell -- but she promises to keep the designs coming. In fact, although she's keeping the theme under wraps, Watts will be releasing a new set of patterns this winter.

In the meantime, you can check out her designs, purchase patterns and stay up-to-date on her new creations at Wattsolak Designs online, on Facebook or on the knitting community website Ravelry.

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