In the midst of the books and technology found at Troy University’s Dothan Campus library is someone with a unique talent that has brought her international acclaim.
Technical services librarian Olga Casey, a native of Ukraine, spends her free time pursuing her lifelong hobby of knitting. And she’s good – her designs have landed on the covers and interiors of magazines across the U.S. and the United Kingdom.
“I don’t think I’m an expert,” said Casey, who also teaches the TROY 1101 orientation course. “I started knitting when I was 8 years old. Nobody in the family knitted, but if they had, I probably would have started even earlier, because I have always wanted to do it.”
Casey moved to the U.S. in 2000 with a full scholarship to study librarian information science at Louisiana State University.
Upon graduation, she moved to the Wiregrass in 2004, where she met the owners of the Oak-Leigh Peacock and Alpacas Farm. The connection supplied Casey with locally grown alpaca fiber and allowed her to pursue her passion with even greater fervor, knitting sweaters from patterns she found in magazines as well as her own designs.
“I just love to do this, and when I came here to the United States and saw all these knitting journals and magazines, I decided to submit my designs, because I have a lot of ideas,” Casey said.
In 2013, Interweave Knits magazine put one of Casey’s designs on the cover, and that design, called “Regatta Tee,” is now being knitted around the world.
Since then, her designs have appeared in the British periodical Knit Now Magazine and American magazines Creative Knitting and KnitNStyle, among others.
“I can see people using my designs,” Casey said. “It’s very interesting. It’s like writing a song and everybody sings it in their own way. It feels great.”
One design stands out in Casey’s mind — a white Western vest.
“I treated it as a vest made of leather,” she said. “I wanted it to be as close as possible to a Western vest design, and it’s one of my favorites. I made it about six years ago.”
Casey recently taught three knitting workshops at the Dothan Campus, and she remains excited to spread her love and knowledge of knitting to anyone in the area who is interested.
“In the beginning you have to work on it, but if you remember when you first learn to write, in English there are 26 letters to learn, and in knitting only two stitches to learn,” she said. “It is easier to master than writing. I always have materials with me in case I have some free time.”
Some of Casey’s designs and products are on display on the second floor of Everett Hall until Oct. 31.
Included is the Western vest Casey described along with several other items, along with magazines from around the world with her designs in them.
Casey’s office is nearby, and she said she’s always willing to answer any questions visitors have about knitting.
“I truly love doing this, and anyone can learn it,” she said.
Some of her designs, along with some step-by-step guides, can be found on her blog, www.olgacasey.blogspot.com.