Our Spring/Summer 2012 photo shoot is looming, and we’re starting to feel the pressure around the office. As a relaxing temporary escape, I finally started experimenting with Pixelmator, a photo editing program for Mac I bought a while ago. Read more
Posts from the ‘daily work’ Category
CR: What’s next for Cecily and Melissa?
We plan on working together again. That’s all we’re saying!
June has been exactly like a summer storm. A bit scary, very unpredictable, fast-moving, and at times refreshing and beautiful. It has been an exhausting but inspiring month…
Norah and I spent the first half of the month consumed by TNNA! If you weren’t following our updates on Twitter you can see a wonderful recap thanks to the Hello TNNA wonder team (aka Team Rav!). This was a really cool addition to the show, and an excellent way for knitters at home to get a sense of what will be hot in the upcoming year. This was definitely the most busy, exciting TNNA I’ve attended, and I think it is thanks to all the NEW! We were of course very happy to unveil our Fall/Winter 2010 collection but it was also really fun to participate in new programs like the TIPS [Trends, Ideas and Products] info sessions and to see some first time exhibitors, especially Ysolda who set up a booth that made it feel like you had fallen into her Flickr stream! So fun! Norah and I visited often (see if you can find us…).
The minute we got back we had a photo shoot to think about! It was pure madness for a couple of days there. Deliriously tired, we knit the last few items frantically. This is me, on “vacation” (NOTE SUN PRECAUTIONS! WEAR SPF, EVERYBODY!!):
Even after several crippling beach knitting marathons, I still didn’t manage to finish before the day of the shoot! You can read the whole story here, I participated in the 2 Week Sweater Challenge that Kate at Twist Collective, who was also on deadline, dreamt up. For all the crazy stress, we ending up having a fantastic and easy photo shoot at one of our favorite Providence boutiques, Heir Antiques, which shares a space with Calico. We simply love owner/curator/raconteur Tyler’s aesthetic and he couldn’t be sweeter, which helps to make it a fun day rather than a draining one. Here is a sneak peek at Aidez, the sweater that was nearly in peril!
Have you made it this far?! This long post should give you some sense of how insane this month has been, and if you’re still reading, it is probably safe to say you’re genuinely curious about the goings-on of a design team! If SO, I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of Shannon Okey’s amazing new book The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design. It includes all the stuff I have learned along the way, a lot of new things I want to work on. Honestly, just reading it reminded me how very complex this (admittedly super fun) job can be! Inspiring in so many ways.
Okay! Over and out, see you in July!
Pretty much the best vest pun I could come up with…sorry, my mind is totally flooded these days! We’re deep into the design process and it doesn’t leave much time for wordplay. My desk is the messiest it has ever been but I’m feeling better about my sketching skills (practice makes perfect…) and the yarns for fall are totally speaking to me!
Besides the swatching and sketching fun, I’m pretty excited about Vest-uary! It’s a February knit-along started by Prairie Poppins from Canada. She picked a Berroco pattern, and a great one at that! Ticuna is free from the pattern archive and calls for my favorite favorite, Ultra Alpaca. So many colors to choose from!!
Jenny and Nicole from the Stash and Burn podcast mentioned cap-sleeved Kaino in their vest-themed episode (Ampersandgirl rocks Kaino here on Ravelry). I am SO glad they’re back from their break–where else would I get friendly reminders like this gem: chose a neutral-ish, versatile color when knitting vests so it can be layered over many things in your wardrobe! I recommend deep heather-y shades found in ranges like Pure Merino Heathers, Peruvia and of course Ultra Alpaca. I love that vests can be so professorial and yet so sexy. Extreme v-neck knit in a tweedy yarn, anyone?
A vest can be so many things–a simple warming layer or a chance to show off your skills or a beautiful yarn. Hope you’re all as inspired as I am for a weekend full of knitting!
Norah, Warren and I headed West to attend The National Needlearts Association trade show in San Diego, CA. I’m used to trade shows being in sort of isolated areas but the location here was fabulous. It was breezy and sunny the whole time we were there and we enjoyed some distinctly California moments. Here are some highlights:
It was so much fun to catch up with everyone, especially our fellow East Coasters (Mary-Heather is an honorary East Coast girl) the Ravelry gang! Casey was a little shaky as he took this picture and when Jess banned him from any more coffee I just about lost it. Speaking of caffeine, how cool is this new mug?! The whole design team is coffee powered so we just love this mug.
Speaking of design, I have to get to work…on Fall 2009!! Can you believe??
UPDATE: Just noticed a free pattern for Green Squirrel, gorgeous cabled hat (Ravelry link) designed by Katy Wight, a Western Massachusetts based designer who loves Ultra Alpaca. Looks like an excellent man hat, and it only takes one skein of Ultra Alpaca!
Working in the world of knitwear design means that your calendar is more than a little screwy. Deadlines and lead times require you to be mentally “out of season” pretty much all the time. I’ve modeled heavy alpaca sweaters in July, knit angora in August and sketched summery tanks in September. Perhaps the craziest part is photographing catalogs and pattern booklets for spring in the middle of New England autumn which is COLD! You’ve got to think warm thoughts!
This was pretty easy for the first photoshoot of our spring collection. For Booklet #282 Latitude, we set up shop at a seaside hotel in Galilee, Rhode Island. Brisk October air was indeed whipping around us, but a steady diet of fried clam cakes and great nautical scenery made it feel like we were enjoying a particularly late summer vacation. Have a look:
Be sure to subscribe to KnitBits for plenty more inside info about the Spring/Summer 2009 collection. We’ll be posting pictures, pattern information, audio slideshows and as always, free patterns galore. I have a few more behind the scenes videos to share here as well so stay tuned!
Pretty much the moment I started at Berroco we’ve been talking about GIFTS. It started way back in September with tiny holiday sweaters and gift sets you could make on a budget. There was a bit of a debate over the propriety of verbing a noun (I maintain that it is okay in the case of ‘gifting’ and Dictionary.com agrees). This week we’ve decided to give our KnitBits subscribers a gift–a chance to win one of four baskets specially selected by members of the Berroco design team. No worries if you’re not already a subscriber, you can enter until 12 p.m. PST on December 15th (your entry will also sign you up for the KnitBits newsletter).
Our baskets are totally idiosyncratic, though mine was a little conservative to begin with. It contained the yarn to knit Crotona in a watery blue shade of Cuzco since that is what I have been knitting for myself in between holiday gift knitting. After I saw the masterpiece Donna had whipped up, I knew I had to step up my game.
I finally settled on a basket stuffed to the gills with two skeins of every color of Ultra Alpaca Fine. I threw in lots of Clover bamboo DPNs and Booklet #275 which is full of basic sock patterns. The idea was that you could knit socks for yourself or your friends all year long but I immediately came up with a billion other uses for the yarn. I think it would be perfect for crewel, the wool embroidery that is making a comeback. It would also totally rock on the rigid heddle loom–the high yardage (I just typed ‘yarnage’ by mistake, tee hee) and the nylon content are perfect for weaving with.
If you can believe it, Elin, a Swedish blogger living in Melbourne is knitting a STRIPED CARDIGAN with it. This makes her a high priestess of patience IMHO and check it out, she’s not cutting any corners. My new year’s knitting resolution is to take a page from Elin’s book (blog) and knit simply but well.
And since this is a blog entry about gifts and the holidays I may as well share my stance on it–it’s the knitter’s way, no? I have done exactly one Christmas where everyone got a handknit gift and it was a very harried December. This year I took the Buy Handmade pledge and have had a fabulous time visiting Etsy and places like Craftland. Now that the crafting pressure is off I’m more motivated than ever to knit for friends and family! I’m loving Closely Knit by Hannah Fettig and Knit One, Embellish Too by Cosette Cornelius-Bates.
Good luck to all us gift knitters! Remember to rest!
That’s what Margery said when she saw me winding a skein of Ultra Alpaca from a little nook at my desk.
I’ve certainly settled in, populating every corner with knitting essentials: stitch dictionaries, shade cards and a bulletin board that holds inspiring images and a detailed calendar. I’m getting used to forgetting what day/month/season it is! It’s a little disorienting to plan summery photo shoots, arrange a palette of autumnal colors and squish skeins of wintry wool blends all in the span of a day.
In spite of that, it’s a very happy perch…
Yesterday Norah and I returned to Western Mass for an interactive trunk show at Webs. Norah introduced the sweaters from NG vol. 3 and Andra (the Northeast Berroco sales representative) and I walked the runway showing two sizes of many of the most popular sweaters. Andra was a natural and Kathy took quite a bit of video footage (I’ll link to it when she posts it). Usually people are pretty shy about trying on sample garments but this was pure sweater madness–it looked like Filene’s Basement!
As usual, unconventional shapes were surprisingly flattering on a wide range of bodies, and using the tried and true upside-down trick, options were multiplied. One attendee tried on Linear but didn’t feel comfortable with the flyaway shape. We turned it upside down and voila–no exposed belly and a lush shawl collar gave it a wholly different ‘grandpa chic’ look. Eastlake was a crowd favorite, but I was impressed by Cosmia–everyone on Ravelry says it’s super fast which sounds ideal as the mercury is plummeting here faster than I can knit!
A while back, a curious reader left this comment:
I am loving this peek into your design process! And at the same time as I look at your sheets feeling ever do disorganized!
As I also watched your latest video slideshow for booklet 279 (keep doing these slide shows they are great) one question kept coming to mind. I was wondering how far ahead do you prepare these designs for the booklets? The way you both spoke of the designs in the slideshow they sounded like, well, old friends!
First, I have to say, that while we have to stay organized in order to produce so many new patterns each season, the rest of my office does not look so very organized. Here is the truth. My desk, right now:
My boss kinda understands that we designers need to be a bit messy, but I am forced to clean up periodically to clear my mind (or prep for an impending visitor). Right now we are finishing up the last minute designing for Spring ’09. Our sales reps are on the road with the photos in a few months, we show all at the TNNA trade show in January and all the info goes up on the web in January. Spring hits the stores, well, when ever they want it, starting in January or February. So really, we are not all that far ahead, 6 months, give or take. We are BUYING yarns for Fall 09 now though. As soon as this season is all wrapped up will be off and running with that one.
The sweaters DO feel like old friends by the time the books are in the yarn stores. We know all of their names (as odd as they may be). We’ve talked about them and written about them ad nauseam and yet we still love them.