Posts tagged ‘Handmade’

Craftseller magazine
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Watkins & George is getting famous! Part of an interview I gave to the lovely Amy Hunt has been published in the November 2014 issue of Craftseller magazine.

Craftseller is the UK’s fastest growing multi-craft magazine and the only monthly title for craft sellers. Launched in 2011, it’s packed with handmade, on-trend projects, real life success stories and tips on maximising profit.

Thank you so much to Amy for giving me this great opportunity! The whole interview is below.

* * *
Q: What are your most popular products?
A: My “Hug me Hugh” up-cycled cable-knit cushions are especially popular around Christmas. I make them re-working vintage Aran fisherman jumpers into huggable cushions and soft toys. I have always admired the craftsmanship behind intricate cable-knit patterns and I love working on knits started by someone I don’t know. Quite literally, it’s like picking up the threads of someone else’s life!

Q: Why do you think handmade items are gaining more popularity?
A: Handmade items are absolutely unique, one of a kind. They establish a personal connection between the maker and the person who enjoys them. It is comforting to know that someone took the time to make something unique especially for us. As a costumer, I want to know where a product comes from, who made it and how. Handmade objects have a history that mass-produced high street items do not. They are 100% ethical as well.

Q: How do you sell your items – online/ markets?
A: I sell my items mostly online, in my Etsy shop. It’s a great way to reach a very wide audience and can be easily fit around work and family commitments. However, nothing beats direct contact with people who can touch and feel my knits. Christmas is the perfect time for markets and fairs, especially for those, like me, who make seasonal items. For the first time this season, I will be at the Truman Brewery Market in London’s Brick Lane in the run up to Christmas.

Q: What will be really popular in your range this Christmas?
A: My “Size Matters!” extra-chunky, oversize scarves and cowls are stylish and playful and I expect them to be a hit this Christmas, especially in bright, vivid colours. I source extra-bulky luxury yarn from a small family-run Finnish company and use 25mm knitting needles. I keep the designs very simple to make the material stand out. My extra-chunky scarves have an amazing texture: people cannot stop touching them!

Q: Do you take commissions? If so, what are customers asking for?
A: Yes I do take commissions. All my items are one of a kind and I am happy to personalize them to make them extra-special. In some cases customers ask for small tweaks to a product they like, such as different buttons. In other cases they ask for something they cannot find in the shop and it is fun to design something new together.

Q: How long do you take to make items roughly, and what do you charge roughly?
A: Finding the right balance between high-quality, unique products and affordable prices is the greatest challenge when developing new designs. Personally, I believe that handmade is about quality and I am fierce about the quality of the materials I use. Of course, insisting on high-quality materials means higher costs. Keeping my designs simple is also a way to keep reasonable prices.

20141023 Craftseller magazine issue 43 web


 

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Hug Me Hug! No.5
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A huggable, lovable pillow / cushion in the traditional Aran fisherman cable knit style.
Pure new wool. Dimensions: 50 x 40 cm, that is 19.5 x 15.5 inches. Fastened with two wooden toggles.

This is an original design, one of a kind, hand-knitted and up-cycled from a vintage, original fisherman Aran jumper.

I carefully select the softest, cuddliest vintage Aran jumpers and create equally soft, cuddly, beautiful items. I love working on knits started by someone I don’t know. Quite literally, it’s like picking up the threads of someone else’s life!

The pillow / cushion comes with a super soft hollow fibre filling. Please contact me if you would rather receive the cover only, I’ll send you an invoice for a reduced postage price.

If you are worried about buying online, have a look at my friendly policies.

For any other questions or for a chat, get in touch!

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SM! Oatmeal feature left

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Super chunky knit cowl or infinity scarf in a lovely natural oatmeal colour. Original design, hand-knit in London.

Extra-bulky 100% extra fine Russian merino wool, very soft and luxurious.

Measures: 7.5 inches / 18 cm high, 42 inches / 107 cm circumference.

Also available in: royal blue, chocolate brown, heather grey, mint green and natural white.

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P1080277 web

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Super chunky knit cowl or infinity scarf in a lovely vibrant royal blue.

Extra-bulky 100% extra fine merino wool, very soft and luxurious.

Measures: 8 inches / 20 cm high, 40.5 inches / 106 cm circumference.

Original design, hand-knit in London.

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Chocolate brown web feature
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Super chunky knit cowl or infinity scarf in a rich chocolate brown.

Extra bulky 100% fine pure new wool from Finland, very soft and warm.

Measures: 8 inches / 20 cm high, 44 inches / 112 cm circumference.

Original design, hand-knit in London.

Hand wash in cold water and mild soap only.

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Size Matters grey
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Super chunky knit cowl or infinity scarf in a lovely marl / heather grey color.

Extra-bulky 100% extra fine pure new wool from Finland, very soft and luxurious.

Measures: 8 inches / 20 cm high, 42 inches / 108 cm circumference.

Original design, hand-knit in London.

Hand wash in cold water and mild soap only.

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Size Matters mint 1

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Super chunky knit cowl or infinity scarf in a lovely mint green color.

Extra-bulky 100% extra fine merino wool, very soft and luxurious.

Measures: 8 inches / 20 cm high, 38 inches / 98 cm circumference.

Original design, hand-knit in London.

 

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Loopy Mango Big Loop cowl

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I had been eagerly waiting to start knitting my gigantic skein of Loopy Mango’s Big Loop Yarn Merino in dirty pink since my visit to their Manhattan shop last October. I wanted to make the most of it: savoring every stitch, taking a break every now and then for a kiss with my beautiful man. An exercise in delayed gratification, if you wish.

Then my mum came to visit. She is an extremely experienced knitter, but she had never worked with anything as chunky as the Big Loop… I couldn’t say no (none could say no to my mum). An evening of woolen adventure later, she had produced the coolest, warmest infinity scarf!

If you want to give it a try, you will need:

  • one skein of Loopy Mango’s Big Loop Yarn Merino, which is about 400 grams, and
  • a pair of US 50 / 25 mm circular needles. Circular needles are recommended because they are lighter and considerably easier to use than normal ones of the same size. However, this scarf is not knit in the round. Simply turn the work at the end of each row, as you would with normal needles.

Loopy Mango’s Eternity Cowl pattern suggests to cast four stitches, but you can pump up the volume and cast five.
Knit all, turning your needles at the end of each row, until you have about 80 cm of yarn left.
Cast off. You should have a rectangle of approximately 220 x 15 cm.
Fold the rectangle in half and join the shorter sides to make a loop.
Enjoy!

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Copyright Knit with Attitude

Copyright Knit with Attitude

‘We all need to be more conscious about our planet’s resources’. This is the idea behind Knit with Attitude, a yarn shop specializing in ethical and sustainable, environmentally-friendly yarn.

Knitting revolution

True to the ‘Knit with Attitude’ motto, Maya, the Norwegian owner, champions a knitting revolution, whereby more and more young women (and men) are reclaiming knitting as a modern, creative form of expression. With great anti-stress and therapeutic powers:

Everything is such high-pace, says Maya. Knitting, like crochet, is slow. It gives you space to breathe. You count, you repeat the same movement. It’s constructive, you create something.

And as you are creating something beautiful, you might as well make it ethical, sustainable and eco-friendly.

Ethical and environmentally-friendly yarn

‘Although wool is a natural material, it is not necessarily eco-friendly’ says Maya. She personally selects small production companies, asking questions about how the sheep are fed, which kind of energy is used for the production, how much water, whether chemical colours are used. Ethical and fair-trade concerns are also taken into account, as Maya looks for companies that contribute to the community.

Not all wool ticks all the boxes, but the quest led to some amazing yarn. While Knit with Attitude’s best-seller is super-soft organic Alpaca wool, Maya also stocks some very unusual fibres. The Pure MILK fibre is a certified organic yarn made from casein, a milk protein, very kind to sensitive skin. Ruca Multy, sourced from Chile, is made of 100% sugar cane.

Then there’s the ethical products. Sales of the Mirasol Yarn Collection support a school for Peruvian shepherds’ children. The Mikono Knits clothes range are made by a women empowering project in Kenya. A similar project in South Africa produces the Incomparable Buttons, a range of hand-made ceramic buttons.

Are you getting excited about making a consumers’ statement while stocking on beautiful yarn? So am I!

Knit with attitude opened at the current address, shared with Of Cabbages & Kings, in November 2012.

Knit with attitude
127 Stoke Newington High Street
London N16 0PH, United Kingdom
Tel. +44 (0)207 998 3282

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If the word ‘knitting’ conjures up images of auntie Sally’s itchy acrylic yarn and plastic yellow needles, think again. Modern knitting is all about precious natural fibers, softly tactile textures and stylish designs. Here’s the definitive guide to the perfect Christmas present for the cool, creative knitters in your life.

©The Wool Company

©The Wool Company

1. The Wool Company luxury DK 100% cashmere yarn

This is the yarn equivalent of angel’s breath: 100% cashmere yarn, undyed and untreated, in a wonderful DK (double knitting) weight. Spun (mainly) in Italy for The Wool Company, a family-run business in Cornwall.
(£19.80 for 50 grams, plus postage, The Wool Company website).

©Kelly Connor

©Kelly Connor

2. Kelly Connor Designs knitting project bag

Forget about chintzy flowers. Kelly Connor, an artist based in Aberdeen, Scotland, makes quirky tote knitting bags with funky slogans, perfect to show off on public transport. I like big balls and I cannot lie (remember Sir Mix-A-Lot?) is my tongue-in-cheek favourite.
(£13.75 plus postage, Etsy)

©karoArt

©karoArt

4. KaroArt’s Yellow Stars Knitting Yarn Bowl

KaroArt’s stoneware clay knitting bowl matches the star at the top of the Christmas tree! Unglazed and beautifully textured on the outside, brightly yellow glazed on the inside, it has a comet-shaped slot for threading the yarn through and a star-shaped opening on the rim to support the knitting needles. Handmade in Dublin, Ireland.
(£30.16 plus postage, Etsy)

©Cotton&Cloud

©Cotton&Cloud

4. Cotton & Cloud’s Maku Wrap Cardi pattern

Looking for something as elegant as a kimono and as warm as an Aran jumper? Kyoko Nakayoshi is a London-based Japanese knitting designer who blends Japanese and Western aesthetics in innovative ways. Her textured and delicate knitting patterns are available on her website, Cotton & Cloud, as well as in books and magazines in the United Kingdom and the United States.
(£3.50, downloadable online, Cotton & Cloud website)

©SixSkeins

©SixSkeins

5. SixSkeins’ Sugar skull stitch markers

There are many stitch markers out there, but not as spooky and cute as these ones! Sugar skulls are votive figurines, traditionally used in Mexico to celebrate the Day of the Dead. This set of five stitch markers (the little hooks or rings used to mark specific stitches in a pattern) is handmade in England from small glass beads and lightweight paper beads. It fits all sizes of knitting needles up to 10mm (US 15).
(£5.00 plus postage, Etsy)

©Johan Ku

©Johan Ku

6. Mary Ward Centre Extreme Knitting Course

This is where I will be from next January and I am truly excited! Suitable for beginners, this course aims at exploring alternative materials and scales in knitting. You will get to use giant knitting needles, make knitting devices of your own and work with non-traditional materials including rope, wire and plastic.
In the photo: Johan Ku’s Emotional Sculpture, 2004.
(£87 for six three-hour classes at the Mary Ward Centre, London)

©Search Press Ltd

©Search Press Ltd

7. The Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting by Elizabeth Lovick

If you have never tried lace knitting before, make this an aspirational buy… Shetland’s lace stitches, with names like ‘Crest of the Wave’, ‘Razor Shell’ and ‘Cat’s Paw’, have been used by the women of the Northern Isles for hundreds of years. This book by Elizabeth Lovick, the Scottish designer behind Northern Lace, introduces the ethereal beauty and intricacy of Shetland lace knitting with stitches, techniques, and projects for lighter-than-air shawls, scarves, hats and more.
(Search Press Ltd, £10.34 on Amazon)

©Hélène Magnússon

©Hélène Magnússon

8. Knitting trip to Iceland

Iceland is a wonderful place with a great knitting tradition (you can buy yarn at the supermarket!). These tours, a collaboration between Icelandic designer Hélène Magnússon and Icelandic Mountain Guides, mix knitting with the beautiful Icelandic nature. Participants explore the island hiking, trekking or by short walks and meet local knitters, spinners, dyers, designers and farmers.
(from 155.000 ISK, about £790.00, for a 4-day tour)

©Lantern Moon

©Lantern Moon

9. Lantern Moon Rosewood Needles

Every knitter deserves some truly scrumptious tools! Lantern Moon knitting needles are handmade in Vietnam by skilled craftspeople. Their distinctive design combines two fine woods to make the most beautiful and functional knitting needles available. Rosewood needles have ebony tops in the thinner sizes and palm wood tops in the thicker sizes. Available in the UK from Knit with Attitude and Loop.
(£15.00 plus postage from Knit with Attitude)

©Vogue Knitting

©Vogue Knitting

10. Vogue Knitting one year subscription

Although there are millions of patterns online, often available for free, sometimes it is just nice to cosy up with some good old glossy paper magazine. Vogue Knitting is a monthly knitting bible – as stylish as its fashion sister, minus the Devil Wears Prada chief editor.
(One year subscription, 5 issues: 27.97$ in the US; £58.02 in the UK)

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