You guys: I could not be more excited about the December 2017 Featured Maker: Vanessa of Vanessa Knits. OK so I will just tell you that I adore her as a human being. I admire her as a fellow woman in small biz. And, I am constantly inspired & blown away by her knitting ninja skills. The woman CAN KNIT!
I got to meet and laugh and knit with Vanessa when she came to our first Stitch Up Chicago event in February. And it has basically been a fiber love fest ever since not to mention all the love and friendship she showed me when I lost my Sadie. This woman is the real deal y'all!
So yeah I was beyond thrilled when Vanessa wanted to be part of the Kit Shop Maker Cooperative. I mean HECK YEAH! And wait until you see all what she has in store for us. In fact, we have teamed up with another indie fiber friend for a very special collaboration. But more on that coming soon. So stay tuned and for now check out Vanessa's kits in The Kit Shop and enter below to win the Super Maeve Cowl Kit!
Now, let's get to know miss Vanessa a bit more when I ask he the Stitch & Hustle Maker 5 Questions:
1. Tell us your name and a little about your craft and business.
I am Vanessa Coscarelli Black. I've been crocheting for over twenty five years and knitting for about seventeen. I have had a crochet hook or knitting needles in my hands for as long as I can remember! My small business is VanessaKnits and my focus as of late has been to design modern, yet classic knits that have visually appealing textures. I come from a long line of makers and am proud to continue the maker lifestyle into the next generation. I am a Jersey girl, a wife, mother, animal lover and the original #minimamamaker !
2. What inspired you to start your handmade adventure?
I was blessed to grow up in a family of makers in a variety of industries. Using one's hands to make was a necessity in my parents and grandparents generations -- there was no money to simply go to the store to buy a new dress -- you had to make it! No contractor to call when the walls needed repairs -- you did it yourself! This "do it yourself" mentality has always been very appealing to me. I find that makers, no matter what field they are in, are bright, creative and innovative. Being around tailors, painters, mechanics, shoemakers, contractors, etc my whole life was a huge influence in how I got to become a maker by profession.
3. What is your one favorite thing about what you do?
I had a VP level role in a big financial services firm for years and although that work was fulfilling in a different way, the maker role is completely different. I love that after a few hours of work I have something tangible to show for my time. Something that will be gifted, keep someone warm or teach them to learn a new skill. This is all very rewarding to me.
4. What is one goal you have for this season? How are you doing with that goal?
For the winter season (but really 2018) my knitting goals are to learn brioche and knit my first pair of socks. I bought the needles to knit socks and lots of yarn -- that's a good start, right?
5. Since this is about community, what other makers inspire you (can be any maker field, does not have to be fiber arts of course)?
Oh my goodness, there are SO many but here's a few (and please know that I could easily list 100 more)! This account @stitchandhustle for cultivating a community of makers who are empowered to take their businesses to the next level. @premknits for her ability to teach knitting skills to newbies via her patterns -- and her awesome yarn dyeing skills. @sere_k_nity for being a supportive friend who finally succumbed to my peer pressure and released her first pattern to much success! @kittysknittycreation who not only is a wonderful knitter, crocheter and macrame artist, but also works as an RN which is probably one of the most important jobs of all. @mutzebyashley because she had the balls to invest in high quality fibers for her knitted pieces and it is paying off! @tripleknotstudio for being able to manage three kids, a job outside the house and her maker business flawlessly. @maisondene who's sweater designs are so wearable and whose photography is always stunning. @bristolivy who I aspire to knit and design as well as (give me another 25 years or so 😅). @allaboutami who was the first crochet blogger I started following years ago and who now has grown her presence exponentially. @tina.say.knits who is undoubtedly one of the most talented knitters in her age group I've ever come across. @kristyglassknits for making a YouTube channel dedicated to interviews with fiber artists -- Seriously, check it out! @boylandknitworks and @dreareneeknits who are two of the most talented knitwear designers -- they're basically knitting geniuses! Finally, @terrefermepottery who creates one of a kind pieces of ceramic vessels that convey to the buyer the amount of meditative skill required to make such a piece.