Photo of Betsy McCarthy

I’ve loved fiber and yarn since learning to knit at age five. But until a decade ago, I spent most of my time and energy in a 9-to-much-later-than-5-life that was more stressful than it was fun.  A decade ago and far from earned retirement, I left a healthcare career and reinvented myself as a full time, serious knitter much to the shock and wonderment of some of my colleagues and other bystanders.

Although no one exactly said this directly to me, it was clear what they were thinking: mid-life, menopausal and madness, all m-words, no doubt were at the bottom of this.  When I occasionally bumped into people I’d worked with, condolence-like greetings were the norm; the exceptions to this were knitters and other creative types who harbored similar yearnings to follow their passion.

I now am a knit designer and instructor who has taught at national, regional and local knitting events, including Stitches, the Black Sheep Gathering and Sock Summit 2009.  My book, “Knit Socks! 15 Cool Patterns for Toasty Feet,” was published in 2004 by Storey Publishing.  After six printings this book will be re-issues in September 2010 in a revised version (more patterns, new explanatory material, and updated yarns).  The new book is entitled, “Knit Socks! 17 Classic Patterns for Cozy Feet.”

My husband Terry and I live in a condo in Vancouver, WA, with our two border terriers, Mac and Ella.  The dogs, now 15 and nearly 14, quickly adjusted to napping in patches of sun, going on walks preceded by elevator rides and having the oldest park in the Northwest as their backyard. It isn’t pastoral and we have no garden, but we’ve come to appreciate the beauty that is here and the benefits of being urban pioneers.

My son Matt and his family (wife Renee and two sons) live not far away. My daughter Rebecca lives in Memphis, TN (closer than NYC). She is currently touring to promote her nonfiction book, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” which was published in February 2010.

Here are links to stories on the AARP website that accompanied the “Your Life Calling” video with Jane Pauley.

The Joy of Socks (also includes video of Your Life Calling)

A Close Knit Family

Reality Check: Knitting

8 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Betsy,

    I’m still at work, poking around at your new website (most impressive!) and showing off your interview with Jane to my coworkers. Congratulations – on all of it!


  2. Hi Betsy…..I just decided to send Rebecca a note about her great book that I have only recently read and while on her website found this connection to you….as I had mentioned to her that I have lost touch with you…..but you are so close yet! I had not heard you had left health care and about your great new venture in your passion. Michael and I moved to our beach house on the Long Beach Peninsula 10 years ago to open our “Depot Restaurant” and are still working it…..please come see us….and we are in Vancouver from time to time to see friends….would be very fun to catch up! Haven’t totally left health care yet as I am serving on the board of our local rural hospital…..and get to see a Providence person from time to time

  3. Hi Betsy…I am starting to learn how to knit. I was told to go on McCarthy website and search for a interchangeable knitting needle set. I was wondering if you could direct me to that site or could you provide me a site to go to purchase this set?

    • Rhonda,
      I hope you are by now well on the knitting path. It brings so many gifts and such joy! I don’t believe I have any information on my website about interchangeable knitting needles. I would recommend that you check out Knitters’ Pride interchangeable needles on the web. I have so many needles, but their interchangeable sets are my favorite!

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