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About Wendell

After one of our designs is photographed, we are faced with the difficult task of choosing which photo to use for the pattern. Our fantastic photographer will usually give us a number of good shots and it’s up to us to decide which image showcases Read more

New England Knits!

Read on to hear some behind the scenes scoop from the authors of New England Knits, Cecily Glowik MacDonald and Melissa LaBarre.

CR: Hey ladies! Why don’t we start by explaining how you know each other?

We first met many years ago through mutual friends, but because we lived in different places, we lost touch. When Ravelry came into the picture we found each other again and discovered that we had both become a bit knitting-obsessed. The rest is history because we’ve been hanging out ever since!

CR: I know firsthand how much a garment can change from sketch to final piece. Were there any garments in New England Knits that morphed or surprised you?

Melissa: The Montague vest actually started as a belted sweater, but when I was about to sew in the sleeves I realized that I really loved it without them. After trying it on, it was officially a vest!
Cecily: We actually had included a couple designs for men’s sweaters in the original proposal, but then decided it was more cohesive as a collection of women’s garments only. The Augusta Cardigan is a revised version of one of the men’s designs.
CR: Time to play favorites! Which garment in the book is at the top of your daydream queue?

Melissa: Oh boy, this changes almost daily for me. I think I need to knit myself a Hampton Cardigan. I love the construction, and I keep trying it on and dreaming about not giving it back to C.
Cecily: I agree, I keep finding a new favorite! From the sweaters though, I always seem to come back to the Salem Hooded Jacket, a hood, ribbon detail, and pockets!
CR: Melissa, you just used Peruvia Quick and Vintage for your Acorns hat. Any other Berroco favorites?

Melissa: Peruvia Quick is my absolute favorite right now. I’ve been daydreaming about a starting a new design in it. I am wool girl to the core.
CR: Cecily, I just knit myself a Goodale because I needed a break from constant designing! Do either of you have any “cheat” knits that you sneak in between designing? If you weren’t a professional designer, what would you be working on right now?

Cecily: Can I put a big disclaimer on this? I am not saying this to be nice, it is absolutely true- I bought the pattern for Kiloran [Ed: Kiloran is a dress I designed for Twist Collective in Ultra Alpaca], just so I can just have it at the ready for when my workload slows down. I have been dreaming about it since the new issue of Twist came out!
CR: Summer in New England is coming to an end. What is your favorite part of New England summers? What are you looking forward to in autumn?

Melissa: I really enjoy knitting on the beach, and just being near the ocean, but I can’t wait for SWEATER WEATHER!
Cecily: Definitely being able to spend time by the ocean is my favorite part of New England summers. However, after this particularly hot summer, I am really looking forward to the cool, crisp fall air.

From left: Gudrun/Shetland Trader, Melissa/Knitting School Dropout and Cirilia/Skrilla Knits

CR: What’s next for Cecily and Melissa?

We plan on working together again. That’s all we’re saying! :)


Norah Knitting in 1977

Norah Knitting in 1977

In the past year or so Norah and I have been interviewed in many, many places…magazines (Norah in the February 2009 issue of Knit N’ Style, and the Winter 2008 issue of Interweave, Cirilia in the Fall 2008 issue of Knitscene) online (Norah at Knitch and on Lolly’s blog, and both of us on the Knitting Contessa’s Knitting Contrissmas–Day 1 and Day 25). There have been interviews for Berroco (Norah in KnitBits #137 and during the Recession Collection) and for our favorite podcasts (Norah on Cast On, Stash and Burn #50 and Ready, Set, Knit #97 and Cirilia on Stash and Burn #46)…

Cirilia talking in 2008

Cirilia talking in 2008

NOW, I can’t imagine that there is anything else you’d want to know about either of us, but if there is I’d like to propose an experiment! We’ve recently started Twittering–if you’re already on Twitter you can follow us @berrocodesign. I’m opening up the Twitter floor (the nest?) to your questions. For the most part I’m the one Tweeting but if you have a Norah specific question just say so (in 140 characters or less, of course) and I’ll nudge her.

Speaking of technology, we posted another behind the scenes video in today’s KnitBits. I also stumbled across a Berroco related video that Kathy Elkins posted to YouTube, its’ from a trunk show event we did last fall.

Formative years

So, I was thinking, what better way to start a design studio knitting blog than by explaining a bit about this designer’s early crafting history? During a recent fit of organization my mom dug up some enlightening black and white photos of me as a child.
Do I think I am Kandinsky? As you can see, I took art and making things, very seriously, even at an early age.Here is some early foreshadowing of my love of hexagons. I’m cutting snowflakes out of folded white paper. Note the huge “pink and orange” flowers Mom painted on the deep window well of our spooky old stone house. She built that little table too.
In my room
40 years later….
in Pure Merino and Aune in Ultra Alpaca


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