When I was getting ready to go to Rhinebeck, I realized that I had nothing to wear. I’d designed a bunch of sweaters in 2013 and 2014 but I didn’t have any of them! Some knitters may not know that when you design for a publication you don’t always get your samples back and, when you do, you often don’t see them for a long time. (It’s kind of a funny surprise to get a sweater you made a year ago in the mail.)
I found out that I might be able to get Ilsa back in time to wear for the big event so I was pretty excited to show her off. But I got an email that basically said, “Vickie Howell would like to wear your cardigan for an episode of Knitting Daily TV that’s shooting just before Rhinebeck. Sorry that we can’t give it back!” And I was like, “If Vickie Howell would like to wear my design on TV, I will find a hat to wear to Rhinebeck.” This is not something that happens to a girl every day!
And she really did! The Ilsa Cardigan is featured in Episode 1402 “Thick of It” and Vickie looks great in it! It was styled so well. I love the way the bunched sleeves make it look over-sized and casual. It’s a really fun piece and I’m honored to be part of her show! Check out the trailer:
I haven’t seen the episode yet. Vickie Howell’s show for Interweave airs on your local PBS station! If you don’t get that channel or you’re too cool or cable, you can get a DVD of the complete season here. I’m going to get one for my mom so she can be proud of me forever.
Have you seen this episode of Knitting Daily TV? Were you like, “I wonder where I can find the pattern for that gorgeous cardigan”?
This week is all about skill building and I’ve got a new way for you to do it!
I’ve taught so many people to knit over the past eleven years, I’ve lost count. Sometimes an old high school friend will tell me about a wonky scarf or their first hat that I helped them make and I can’t quite remember doing it. It really makes me happy, though, that those memories are so vivid for them. Teaching someone else to knit is a joy. (I don’t get gooey that often so you better believe I mean it!) And I don’t know any knitter that has not jumped at the chance to teach someone else.
So in that spirit, I want to share Yarndevu with you! Yarndevu is a new site that’s launching very soon in the New York area that’s all about skill-sharing in person. You can use it to learn or teach someone how to knit or crochet and the whole idea behind it is getting together, face-to-face. I love the online craft community (I mean, duh) but it’s really magical when we get together in person and, let’s face it, there’s no better way to learn. It’s hands-on and you can get immediate answers.
Yarndevu is great for anyone that’s googling “How to Knit” (Did you know “How to Crochet” and “How to Knit” were both in Google’s top 5 “How To” searches for 2014?) but it’s also fantastic for people that are looking to graduate to the next step in their craft education. I love the idea of pairing someone very experienced with a newbie! If you’re like me and you want to master a new aspect of the craft (I want to learn brioche this year), or you’re stuck where you are, it’s a great resource as well! Maybe you’re confused about how to turn a heel or you need help reading a colorwork chart. Or you’re a certain knitter that is interested in granny squares but maybe doesn’t know where to start. You can use Yarndevu to find someone that will help to guide you over a coffee.
I’m pretty excited about the launch! I’m really excited to see what I can learn and also teach using this new tool. But most importantly, I am looking forward to using Yarndevu to meet other crafters. You can sign up today and you’ll snag an invite to the launch party later this month. So, what do you want to learn?
ps. Don’t forget to vote for what I should learn next!
Tags: crochet lessons nyc, how to crochet, how to knit, knitting, knitting circle, knitting lessons nyc, learn to crochet, learn to knit, learn to knit nyc, meet up, nyc, skill sharing, teach knitting, Yarndevu
I recently wrote about upcoming print-only Knit Wit Magazine and how I’m dying to get my hands on the first issue. The Kickstarter is quickly coming to a close but I was recently able catch up with Zinzi Edmundson, Knit Wit’s Editor. Zinzi (and art director Gigi Jack) come from a magazine background. She was nice enough to do a little interview with me and I’m very excited to share!
What drew you to the magazine world?
It’s unclear. I wanted to work in magazines from such an early age that it’s a little hard to pin point (around middle school, I wrote a letter to Anna Wintour. Unreturned, naturally). As a kid pre-blog, I would take all my favorite parts of other magazine (mostly photos + some headlines) and create my own Zinzi-themed magazines in sketchbooks. I’d even write stories around the images.
You come from a magazine background so what is it about textiles that you find interesting?
I’ve been a knitter since I was 8, but I have to admit that the current mega-surge in textile interest is really what hooked my attention. I love the limitless ability for expression and the cultural specificity that gets woven, stitched, knit, printed or dyes into fabrics. It’s really romantic and it’s so, so interesting. But, because we’re still in discovery mode (and this is our personalities anyway), the magazine will never be written from the point of view of an authority or some austere perspective from on high. It’s an honest curiosity and readers can come along for the ride (and chime in via social, too!).
Most (if not all) knitting magazines provide patterns but Knit Wit has none. What made you turn away from that format?
I think including patterns makes it a different kind of magazine and I wanted to introduce Knit Wit as an alternative to what’s already out there. That’s not to say that we’ll never include projects, but it’s just not exactly the idea. I have these grand visions of people who aren’t crafters or who never picked up knitting needles to be swept away by the stories and the incredible people so much so that they decide to dig deeper and start making stuff themselves. And that hardcore knitters or weavers or what have you (if they aren’t totally pissed that there aren’t patterns!) will discover something new or hear a story about something they already knew about, but from a different perspective. So for our purposes, it’s always been more about the people, places and objects than it is about DIY aspect. Call it a jumping off point or something.
What do you make of the contemporary knitting/textile scene?
This is a tough one. It’s so enormous—there are so many different people, all of whom relate to it in a completely different way. I was thinking recently about how fiber and textiles is considered a niche, which it definitely is, but it’s so weird given that there are millions of people participating in these activities, whether they’re just fucking around or upholding a grand tradition. So yeah, I guess I have to say that I think its vast and dynamic and just so chock full of stories. I think what’s interesting about Knit Wit is that it can be technically about something so specific, but it’s secretly very, very broad. We’ll never run out of material.
What do you see for the next issue and the future of Knit Wit?
OMG, good question. Now that we’re funded and most people signed up for a subscription, we’ve got to make good on that! Ha! In the future, I hope to continue to put as much care and love into future issues as there is in this one. And on a more literal note, Gigi and I are looking to expand into hosted workshops with fun lunches and awesome guest instructors. Coming soon…
I’m so pumped that Knit Wit was fully funded long before their deadline but tomorrow is the last day to back Knit Wit Magazine on Kickstarter! I hope you are all looking forward to the first issue as much as I am. Thanks for sharing with us, Zinzi!
Have you backed Knit Wit yet?
There are a few things I won’t do. I won’t dye and I won’t spin. I don’t quilt. And, as of right now, I don’t crochet. It’s not that I’m against other crafts, I love even the ones I can’t understand. I just can’t allow myself to have other hobbies. My yarn stash is out of control and, since I started sewing at the beginning of the year, I’m having trouble finding places to store the new yardage I’ve been collecting. One day, when I am a grown up, I will have a house with a craft room and there will be a closet full of yarn and a cabinet of fabric and a sewing machine, serger, floor loom, spinning wheel, and maybe even a knitting machine. But right now, in my one-bedroom, I am bursting at the seams (craft pun) with bobbins, tapestry needles, cross stitch canvasses, etc.
But if I could have a new hobby, if I did allow myself to learn something new, to take time away from that mile-long queue of sweaters and hats and socks, if it were possible to store a little frame under my bed between the sewing patterns and bags of yarn, that hobby would be weaving.
To be honest, I know how to weave. I have a small table top loom that I received as a gift years ago and I made lots of little patterned ribbons with linen thread. When I saw these woven wall hangings coming back into style (they’re really 70’s, huh?) I tried to ignore it. But now it’s too late. The pastel, textured beauties have caught me and I want one of my own.
I’ve considered taking a class (maybe one at the Textile Arts Center or this one at Makeshift Society Brooklyn) but I am the most stubborn kind of DIY-er. I like to think that I can figure out how to do anything on my own. Pickling? Sewing buttonholes? Weaving? I’m sure I can make it work. Besides, I have the internet to help me. Some resources I’ve found for DIY weaving frame, the anatomy of a loom, and a tapestry tutorial. So I might go for it. I mean, it would be a good way to use up my stash, right?
Do you limit your hobbies? Have you caught the weaving craze? How are you learning?
I’ll be very up front with you, I don’t really go out for Kickstarter fundraisers. It is very rare that something catches me enough to back and even more that I would share and encourage others to contribute. (What can I say? I am a grumpy cat.) But when I saw the Kickstarter for Knit Wit Magazine, I was like, “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!”
Knit Wit Magazine is an upcoming print-only lifestyle mag about fiber arts. It looks absolutely gorgeous and will feature some great stories including an exploration of weaving in Oaxaca and behind the scenes at Wool and the Gang. It seems like it will really speak to the modern aesthetic that I so love.
I’m very excited to get my hands on the first issue. I appreciate that it is going to be a real-live magazine. While I love digital publications (I haven’t bought a book in two years), there is something about a thoughtful, well-exectued print that really brings out the design nerd in me. Besides, launching a print-only fiber art publication is a pretty bold move. Heck yes.
You can back Knit Wit Magazine through their Kickstarter through September 10th. Aside from pre-ordering the magazine, there are also other great pledge gifts including scarves, totes, and classes. They have already reached over $11k! Will you be backing?
all images via Knit Wit Magazine Kickstarter
It’s Me Made May which means everybody is busting out their handmade outfits. I’ve always wanted to participate in MMM but I don’t feel like I have enough to wear. I know, right? I can’t believe it either. It’s tough to wear hand knits when the weather is turning warm and I’m dying to bust out my summer wardrobe.
While I’m here making excuses and dreaming of sewing some lovely summer tops, there are plenty of other makers offering daily doses of their handmade outfits on Instagram. Here are just a few!
Mainly, Me Made May makes me want to get on my sewing machine. I am in awe of all of these talented ladies! And there are so many more of them. All of the #mmmay14 outfits are inspiring me. Aren’t they great?
Who’s Me Made May outfits are you coveting? Are you participating? Post a link in the comments! I’d love to see your outfits!
There are a lot of great menswear collections popping up this month. I’m heavily inspired by menswear. I definitely have tomboy style. I love the colors and textures and simple silhouettes. Men can look so handsome in just a simple crew neck sweater, I want to borrow from that minimalism when it comes to my own design.
Anyway, I was browsing the Valentino Fall 2014 Collection (which you can view in full here) and one piece really caught my eye. Of course, there were a ton of great knits under big wool jackets, most of which were very basic: heather grey sweaters, some with stripes and buttons, and a couple with Icelandic yokes. Like I said, boys look stylish in anything. But this piece was certainly my favorite.
So this sweater has really awesome colors but look closely. It’s a reverse fair isle. As in, take your favorite colorwork sweater and turn it inside out. My first thought is that I’m crazy about this concept because I love seeing the “behind the scenes” of knitwear, the knitty gritty seams and button bands and whatnot. Something about the thought process. But I also really love how bold the color work becomes. Instead of delicate dots and careful zig zags and whatnot, there are big, bright shapes.
Immediately when I saw this sweater, my brain travelled right to this cardigan, the Reverse Fair Isle Coat by Cheryl Murray which was featured in Vogue Knitting Fall 2012. (My mind palace is filled with back issues of knitting magazines, I swear!) I loved the coat when I picked up the magazine back then and for the same reasons I love this sweater.
Now, obviously reverse fair isle isn’t something unique to this year’s fashion. I actually saw an adorable chunky cardigan at The Gap last winter that was pink and white reverse fair isle that I was a little obsessed with. But I’m really excited about this technique as a new way to look at knitting. If you do want to emulate the runway, though, deconstruction is big right now. While I can’t see myself distressing things that I made by hand, this is a really fun way to be on trend.
What do you think? Would you knit colorwork just to show the wrong side? Are you intrigued?
Last week I shared one of my favorite gifts to make, the hot chocolate mug. I take gift giving very seriously but I have a limited budget so DIY food gifts are my go-to. When it comes to giving food, you can’t lose and if you’re willing to put in a little bit of time, you’ll save a few dollars.
I’m sure there are still a few of us scrambling for last-minute gifts (as we decide those sweaters will be given Christmas 2014) so here are a few options for DIY food gifts.
A good rule of thumb is that anything in a mason jar makes a good gift.
What mason jar gifts do you give?
Check it out! This week Holla Knits is promoting my sweater pattern, The Crash. That means that you can pick up a copy for $3! That’s 50% off! As we are showing The Crash a little love, keep your eye on the Holla Knits blog for inspiration, styling suggestions, and more! Allyson will be sharing her outfits with The Crash later this week.
Monday, I kicked off the sale with this post about dressing The Crash up and down. This piece is a little intimidating but, deep down, it’s really fun to play around with. Since it’s very fashion forward, it can make everyday jeans and boots look pretty fierce. Here’s a peek at my favorite outfit.
How will you dress your FO of The Crash?
Holiday gifts are such a challenge for crafters. It seems like a no-brainer to make a gift but in the end it’s an expensive, time-consuming, soul-crushing experience. Sobs between sips of heavily-spiked eggnog, fingers crooked and bleeding after hours and hours of work. It’s not worth it. Sorry, family and friends. You’re all lovely people and you deserve great gifts but it’s just not possible.
My mom’s family is diverse and pretty large. I can’t afford to buy the kind of presents that they deserve for each and every one of them and I like to think that, since they are all grown adults, they buy themselves the things that they really want. I try to give everyone the same gift (so it’s equal) which presents another challenge. It’s really difficult to find something that they would all like and use or put in their homes. I refuse to give weird pieces of crap also known as “decorations” or “tchotchkies” because I don’t think I’d like to receive any. We don’t have the same taste and that’s ok, let’s just not pretend that we do.
So I like to gift them with food. Everybody likes to eat and generally everyone cooks or bakes at least enough to get by. Buying food gifts can get expensive (gift baskets, fancy chocolates, liquor) so I try to keep everything DIY. I’ll be the first person to tell you that DIY gifts do not mean free or cheap but when it comes to food, you can keep it relatively inexpensive while staying fun and thoughtful. Besides, DIY gifts are like a present for the gifter as much as they are the giftee. Making gifts is fun and rewarding even when it’s exhausting and all of your hair has fallen out.
Last year I put together these hot chocolate mugs. They were really fun and adorable and probably cost less than $5 for each mug. If you cut the marshmallows as I suggest below (using a biscuit cutter that’s just slightly smaller than the opening of the mug), you’ll be able to sip the cocoa through the marshmallow the way you would with whipped cream. It’ll be like a cloud keeping it hot and yummy. This is my favorite part.
While packaging everything up in this “I thought of you and hope you enjoy a cozy evening courtesy of me!” kind of way is lovely and gifty, the key to this present is the marshmallows. People that have never made marshmallows before think that they are witchcraft. They’ve never given any thought to where marshmallows come from (marshmallow trees?). They will be very impressed with you.
Here’s how to do it!
1. Make your marshmallows. While they’re setting up, put together the hot chocolate mix.
2. Line the mug with one of the little gift bags. Pour in hot chocolate mix to fill about 3/4 of the mug.
3. Now that the marshmallows have set, use the biscuit cutter to cut them into circles. Dust them lightly in confectioners sugar and place two or three over the hot chocolate mix. Close the bag and secure with ribbon.
4. Add a gift tag with instructions for the cocoa mix and maybe even include a recipe in case they want more.
Ta da! Merry Christmas!
Next week, I’ll be sharing a few more quick and inexpensive DIY gifts so stay tuned!
What’s your favorite DIY gift to give? How do you gift food?
* The mugs are the most expensive part of the gift. You can pick up adorable Christmas themed mugs at the dollar store or you can go all out and buy a hand-thrown piece on Etsy. Let your budget be your guide. (I used these CB2 mugs because I loved that they came with a little spoon. I believe they’ve been discontinued but here they are on ebay. $3 per mug! ) But this mug will become your relative’s new hot chocolate mug and when you see them next Christmas they will say, “Every time I drink hot chocolate in that mug I think of you!” Awww! Choose wisely.