Spud says (the blog)

Posts Tagged ‘Interview’

November 16, 2012

Little Pink Riding Hood

This past month, while hanging out at VKLive Chicago, I bumped into Vickie Howell. She reminded me her new book Step It Up Knits has just been published and includes an adorable design in Spud & Chloë Outer.

Photo © Vickie Howell

What was your inspiration for the sweet Cape Dear?

I wanted to include a project that was quick enough to make that any busy mom could make it, while still including some design features (simple lace and mitered shoulders) that kept the pattern interesting. Plus, that little twirly girl in the photo is my daughter, Clover–and even though she’s lately treated knitted garments as if they were made out of brimstone and lava, I’m still constantly inspired by her to design more kid-centric items!

Cape Dear is available in a twelve month size, 2T, and 4T. Knit in Spud & Chloë Outer (shown in Rockett #7211) on size 11 (8mm) needles, this is a quick knit for busy moms.

How did you get from simply learning to knit to hosting a TV show, writing books, and having a your own yarn line?

The getting-the-show thing was a fluke: the producer Googled “young, hip, knitter” and came up with my logo for the Stitch n’ Bitch groups I started in L.A. & Austin. (This was a decade ago when reclaiming the craft from the older generation was big.) She asked if I knew anyone who’d be interested in hosting a knitting show, I pitched myself (I had a background in television production, so I knew how to do that), and showed her what was coincidentally my first ever published knitting design: a guitar strap for Knitty.com. I apparently had the kind of look they were going for, so I went to L.A. and auditioned. Once I landed the show, I felt (still feel) like I owed it to the opportunity to make as much out of it as I could. I immediately pitched a book. Since then, I’ve never stopped pitching!

Photo © Vickie Howell. Our group, in front of my favorite Austin LYS: Hill Country Weavers.

Where is your favorite place to knit?

Hands down, my favorite place to knit is wherever my online knitting group meets up. We recently had our 10th anniversary retreat at my house–most of the group flew to Austin from all over the U.S. to spend the weekend knitting, drinking wine, and just hanging out. Throughout the year, a few members of the group here and there, try to see each other at various events. Being around them always serves as a reminder about what one of my favorite things about knitting is: the community around it.

What are you curious about?

You mean in life, or in knitting? In life, I’m wondering what will top the invention of the internet and is world peace a possibility in a human-based society? In knitting, I’m wondering if I’ll ever have enough time and quiet to work on something really complicated and lacy. ;-)

Vickie, what was your favorite part of writing Step It Up Knits?

I loved the challenge of coming up with designs that were a combination of quick-to-knit and on-trend items that also employed at least one “step it up” skill.

Photo © Vickie Howell

Cape Dear can be found in Vickie Howell’s new book: Step It Up Knits: Take Your Skills to the Next Level with 25 Quick and Stylish Projects

Available at your favorite LYS, book store, or online.

What is your favorite color?

Turquoise is probably my favorite color, but I love chartreuse, magenta, olive, teal, and orange, too!

What is your favorite Spud & Chloë or Blue Sky Alpacas Yarn?

I especially love working with Techno because of the loft, softness, and saturation of color. I noticed you have a new yarn, Metalico, though, that looks right up my alley! I’m definitely going to have to check that one out.

Photo © Vickie Howell

(For all the details on Vickie’s Blue Sky Alpacas Techno design, Hood Winked, also available in Step It Up Knits, click here.)

Be sure to check out Vickie’s blog, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

See more of Vickie’s inspiration from her Pinterest boards.

Thanks to Vickie for a fun interview. I cannot wait to cast on for a few Step It Up Knits myself. Quick projects for holiday knitting with many techniques to learn!

July 5, 2012

Auntie Anna

Spud & Chloë Upcycled Project Bags

Have you seen Spud & Chloë’s Upcycled Project Bags at your LYS?

These one-of-a-kind bags are made by Chloë’s spiffy Aunt Anna.

Each bag is unique and perfectly suited to toting around your favorite projects.

The quaint linens are sourced from Aunt Anna’s very own collection of vintage fabric. She sews them up, adds a drawstring, and violà!

Tote your project about in your very own Upcycled Project Bag

Let’s get to know Aunt Anna:

Cousin Katie: What is a creative goal you have for this year?

Aunt Anna: I love sharing information and ideas with my customers and blog readers. When people see that I am willing to give these [tutorials and ideas] away, just for the sake of making their lives more full and creative, it instills a trust between us, which is not easy since we are separated by the whole internet. One goal I have for this year is to increase the number of tutorials and free patterns on my blog. I’d like to do one to two per month.

Cousin Katie: Do you have a collection?

Aunt Anna: I have two different collections that I sell through Etsy. The first is a collection of handmade gift items made from cotton, linen, wool, or vintage materials. I don’t like too much repetition to cloud my creativity, so each of the items is different from the others, either in color, shape, or materials. I almost never make the same thing twice.

My other shop is full of vintage fabric. I started picking up vintage bed sheets any time I saw them, because their patterns and colors are unique to the era, and very fun to work with. Pretty soon I had way more than I could ever use, so I became the first on Etsy to sell the sheets in manageable pieces as fabric.

Cousin Katie: What is your most prized possession?

Aunt Anna: My husband makes me things – for birthdays, Christmas, etc. Once he made me a carved, wooden ‘A’ with a secret compartment for hiding a ring or something else tiny. That is probably my most prized possession. He says he isn’t creative, but that is just not true.

Upcycled Tag, made in America by our very own Aunt Anna

Cousin Katie: What is your favorite color?

Aunt Anna: My favorite color is orange. Or grey. Or turquoise. Anything but purple.

Cousin Katie: What is your favorite store and why?

Aunt Anna: I am smitten with Anthropology. I can’t go in without buying something small to take home and hoard, but even if I don’t, I love to just walk around and be inspired. It does have it’s limits, though. I noticed that if I stay in Anthro too long, I start to feel bad about my life, and wish we had more money to spend on pretty things. So I try to get out of there before it gets ugly. The limit is forty-five minutes. I timed it.

Cousin Katie: What tool in your arsenal do you use the most?

Aunt Anna: My most-used tool is my self-healing cutting board. I got a big pretty one a couple years ago, and I almost never put it away. Besides cutting on it, I use it under my sewing machine to keep it from slipping, I measure everything with it, it’s a backdrop for tutorial photos, and if I need to hide a mess in a hurry, I load it up with supplies and carry the whole thing to the garage.

The one, the only, Aunt Anna!

Thanks Aunt Anna for a fun interview and insight into where this original collaboration started. (And for the great advice…must get my hands on a self-healing mat. I’ll just carry all the knitting projects off to the closet!).

Check out the Upcycled Project Bags at your favorite yarn shop and grab the one you love, while you can!

Take care Pals!

March 1, 2012

Knitting School Dropout: Melissa

As promised, more Melissa fun. We have an interview with this swell designer.

The Swell Cowl is a free pattern, available on the Spud & Chloë Blog

You can find the Swell Cowl here.

Cousin Katie: Melissa, please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Melissa: I’m a life-long New Englander living in lovely western Massachusetts. I live with my partner Brendan, two cats, and we’re expecting our first child, a daughter in early May. I learned to knit in the mid-nineties, when I was in my early twenties and working in a nursing home. At first I thought it would be a way to bond with a resident who didn’t particularly like me, but it stuck and I ended up running a little knitting group during my time there. I kind of dropped it for a few years and picked it up again maybe eight years ago. I haven’t put the needles down since!

A sweet, feminine design from Melissa.

The Folk Story Cardi can be downloaded or purchased at your local Spud & Chloë stockist.

Cousin Katie: Congratulations! That is very exciting. With all of life’s goings on, what inspires you? In particular, what inspired the Swell Cowl or Folk Story Cardi?

Melissa: I’m most often inspired simply by what I’d like to wear at the moment. I’m kind of obsessed with reversible cowls at the moment, so this design follows that theme. I wear lots of cardigans, so I end up designing many too. I also love knitting lace, so this (the Folk Story Cardi), was just a way to combine two of my favorite things. I love to knit myself sweaters (can’t wait to get back to those when I’m not pregnant anymore), cowls and hats. I’ve been knitting mostly accessories these days.

Melissa, our brilliant designer.

Cousin Katie: What is your knitting space like?

Melissa: I do have a dedicated knitting room in my house, and it has a comfy chair and shelves filled with books and yarn. But these days I tend to knit a lot in my living room while I watch movies. It give me the option of taking a quick nap when I need one (which is pretty often these days).

Cousin Katie: What’s your favorite color? What color do you gravitate to knitting with?

Melissa: My favorite color changes, but lately it seems like teal-y blues are my favorite.

A Melissa design for Blue Sky Alpacas

The Men’s Striped Vest from Blue Sky Alpacas is a wearable men’s design.

Cousin Katie: Is there a special technique that you would like to share with the Spud & Chloë Pals?

Melissa: I use magic loop to knit anything with a small circumference in the round. It’s my favorite trick that I’ve learned over the years. I try to teach it to every knitter I know.

Cousin Katie: Is there something you don’t like about knitting?

Melissa: It takes an awfully long time! I’ll never get all those design ideas out!

A one hank, TECHNO wonder!

This Blue Sky Alpacas design, the Cafe Beret is another great accessory by Melissa.

Isn’t that the truth. There are never enough hours in the day to do all the knitting I would like.

Thanks to Melissa, for a great interview. I love getting to know the people behind all my favorite designs.

Stay tuned, I have one more Melissa surprise in store Spud & Chloë Pals.