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Posts from the ‘daily work’ Category

Around the Office

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

New and Improved

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you may have noticed that we’ve got a new look! In fact, our blog makeover is part of long line of great updates:

First, the office itself – Berroco moved last year into a new building, 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! :)

Whirlwind June…

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!

Cirilia

Vested Interest

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! 

 

Friday Desk

 

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? 

Browse through our website for many vest options (both free and for sale). Here is a curated list of my favorites:  

Ellis from NG v. 2:  

 

 

Badia, a freebie knit in Bonsai:

 

 

And of course Urbano, an uber-modern felted vest (see Carson’s beautiful black Urbano on Ravelry): 

 

 

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! 

CR

Berroco Design Team at Large, part deux

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??

Cheers, 

CR

UPDATE: Just noticed a free pattern for Green Squirrelgorgeous 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!

Berroco Behind the Scenes

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! 

CR

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