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Arts and Crafts…and a GIVEAWAY!…

Today is an exciting day for me! As you’ll read in KnitBits #307, Booklet #290 Vintage™: Arts and Crafts is my very first complete collection. When we planned the fall collection, we talked about the need for a book of designs for young, preteens and yes, “tweens,” a cutesy word for a really underserved demographic in the knitting world.

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Since I was the closest thing to a tween on staff, the task fell up on me to design for this age group. Knowing that some tweens grow faster than others, we decided to include sizes that go all the way up to a ladies’ large. The lovely model wearing Miroux is my size (5’8″, around 34B):

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I confess, I was a bit nervous designing for tweens. I spent hours looking around websites, trying to get a feel for what that age group wants to wear. I remember being insanely particular which probably drove my mother crazy. As long as I was WARM, it didn’t matter what color or brand or whatever I was wearing…I, of course, felt differently!

One lucky day, Mary, one of our sample knitters, stopped by with her beautiful daughters and their friends in tow. I seized the opportunity for a little market research and asked them to draw some sketches of the sort of things they would like to wear. I was delighted when they brought in their sketches–they were TOTALLY in line with what I’d been working on! Simple, earthy colors with touches of bright, stripes, blouse-y shapes, comfortable details like pockets, hoods and handwarmers, all tween approved =)

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I had so much fun styling this photoshoot. I sourced some awesome jewelry made from recycled materials (the tweens also noted that they were way into being green, which thrilled me). The model above is wearing some necklaces made from recycled magazines and the models below are wearing pins made from soda cans!

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ETA: OK, so it wasn’t as hard as I thought! Glad so many of you know the film (rent it if you don’t, it’s very crafty!!) I’ll pick a winner from ALL the comments. But enough about the patterns, it’s PRIZE TIME! Tell me in the comments what inspired the names for these patterns. Next week I’ll pick 1 lucky winner from the correct entries who will win these accessories , a copy of Booklet #290 Vintage: Arts and Crafts and Vintage yarn to knit Diorama!

Okay, over and out everyone, have a great weekend!!

CR

Maternity Sweaters!

Last week a KnitBits subscriber wrote in asking if we’d ever think of designing a maternity sweater. To be quite honest, we don’t have any in the works but we had fun coming up with a list of sweaters that we think would work for ladies who are in the family way. Though we’re flying blind here, so please feel free to chime in with your comments!

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Left to right, top to bottom: Nuss, Anhinga, Haight, Paron, Peace, Moska, Pucker, Bitok, Cosima, Bantam, Remember, Montparnasse, Juliana, Pike, Hibito.

Any others?

CR

Sock Summit INDEED.

“Just as the bird’s wing evolved to fly, the human hand evolved to manipulate. An idle hand is not a happy hand. We really need to use our hands; they’re not happy if they’re not doing something.” [Barbara G. Walker]

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The quote above captures my impression of Sock Summit 2009 pretty accurately! I’m very familiar with trade shows like Stitches, NENA, TKGA, TNNA, etc. and I have been lucky enough to attend many of them in the past few years. This year marked the first Sock Summit, a sort of knitter’s retreat on steroids! It had a fantastic marketplace full of amazing artisans, an impressive array of super fun events (like breaking the Guiness World Record for most knitters knitting in one place) and a truly astounding roster of knitting luminaries.

Berroco was there displaying a range of our sock yarns: Berroco Sox, Berroco Sox Metallic, Comfort Sock and Ultra Alpaca Fine, as well as a few of our more popular sock yarn patterns (not socks, incidentally): Celestine and Celestine Crochet, Saige and Johnny Boy are some of my favorites. I was also encouraging people to enter our Sock Star competition. There are still more than 2 weeks left to whip something up, give it a go!

I’ve put together a video of some highlights here and some of my snapshots in a Flickr set–I apologize for their quality; I’m not the best photographer in the world, I’m afraid. To be honest, things happened so quickly that it was a challenge to even get the cameras out and on! I was Tweeting constantly though and you can catch up with those Tweets here.

One of the highlights of the show for me was meeting Meg Swansen (I’ll admit it–I was too nervous to say hello to Barbara Walker!). Meg is true knitting royalty and SO beautiful! She was hilarious and kind, to boot. Norah says we have the same eyes! As you can see, I could barely contain my joy at meeting such a legend:

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One thing that came up during the luminary panel over and over was the value of her mother Elizabeth Zimmerman’s book the Knitter’s Almanac. When I worked on the retail side of things I would constantly tell people to skip two lattes and buy a copy of the Knitter’s Almanac instead. It is my desert island book, it contains so much more than knitting advice. It gives you a glimpse into Elizabeth’s life and her amazing curiosity, bravery and wit.

Yesterday I proposed a year-long project to Norah involving the Almanac and Ultra Alpaca. So many of the projects seem well-suited to the Ultra Alpaca family and we know that the folks at Schoolhouse Press are fans. In fact, Cully Swansen, the handsome model/son/grandson in many of the Schoolhouse Press publications, has a hat pattern in the most recent Wool Gathering that calls for Ultra Alpaca! We’re still batting around ideas, but we’ll keep you posted.

I’m still catching up on my rest but I will say that my imagination has been running on overdrive thanks to the Summit. I’m sure you’ll feel it’s effects in the months to come ;)

Cheers,

CR

berroco is at the sock summit!

Foreseeing that something BIG was happening, Cirilia brought Berroco to the Sock Summit. She’s not selling anything (we leave that to the shops). She IS promoting our sock yarns (Berroco Sox™, Berroco Sox™ Metallic, Comfort® Sock and Ultra™ Alpaca Fine, showing our audio slide shows, telling folks about the sock star contest and holding daily raffles.  If you’re at the summit, stop by and enter to win a Saige poncho kit!

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