Raised in a family of Seattle jazz musicians, and encouraged to develop her own creative style, knitwear designer Kristeen Griffin-Grimes learned one word early on - improvisation. Coming of age in the 1970's, after university graduation and teaching in Mexico, she became a bona-fide "back-to-the-lander", complete with a herd of goats and five acres. Knitting and crochet were not only an artistic diversion, they were a necessity - every piece of clothing the author and her family wore (even her husband's jeans) was handcrafted.
Putting aside her needlework, Kristeen spent fourteen years as a professional musician and teacher in rural Wisconsin. It was her return to Washington State and subsequent retracing of ancestral roots in France that inspired her to begin her own design company, French Girl, which features knit and crochet patterns known for their inventive construction techniques, unique details and feminine styling.
Enthralled by the beauty of France, where the everyday is elevated to art, in 2006 Kristeen and her husband Philip founded French Girl Tours, leading small group excursions focused on knitting, cuisine and history in the Languedoc region. The tours have expanded to include a week-long immersion in the French countryside with visits to organic farmers and vintners, cooking classes, and a special Winemaker's Dinner on-site at a working wine domaine.