Talitha Kuomi And The Break Up Knits

Talitha Kuomi And The Break Up Knits

I am so excited to celebrate Talith’as new accomplishments with this book. She is right: Break Ups are never easy so let us knit our way through those rough days to creating beautiful objects we can celebrate! And now you can enter here to win a copy of your very own It’s Not Me, It’s You and get started on these fabulous designs. Also scroll down to see Tal’s hilarious fun interview with Kristy Glass.

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Say Hello To The Oliphant Kat Shawl!

Say Hello To The Oliphant Kat Shawl!

Continuing my New York City roots exploration and shining a spotlight on other makers & designers, I want to introduce you to Katrina Walser of Oliphant Kat and her newest design for us: Emilia’s Nursing Shawl. And don’t worry - no baby is required to create and love this designer and this design!

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Spotlight ON: GGMadeIt

Spotlight ON: GGMadeIt

Some people just beam and radiate light and love when you are in their presence. In the fiber world, my friend GG is one of them. I asked her our Maker Profile Questions and got her thoughts on the current conversation of diversity and inclusion.

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What's A Maker? I AM!

What's A Maker? I AM!

What defines being a Maker? How do we define ourselves? These are simple yet not so simple questions. For over a year or two since I first started hearing about the "Maker Community" shortly after joining Instagram, I was just so uncomfortable with it. I am not even sure why. Maybe because it felt exclusive rather than inclusive. Maybe because it felt limiting. But I AM A MAKER and you are too!

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Say Hello To Spring & WIN BIG with Our Stitch Up Chicago Sponsors

It has been a month since Stitch Up Chicago 2018 and I am still feeling all the warm fuzzies from so much fiber awesome. As we enter into spring I thought why not carry that fiber love on with a giveaway! So read on about our event prizes, our sponsors and enter to win one of the Swag Bags from Stitch Up Chicago along with some other extra special treats below.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a giver by nature, my pastor says it is my Love Language. So I am always excited when amazing artisans, small businesses and big businesses want to join in the giving and help make the Stitch Up Chicago prizes so awesome. This year's grand raffle prize had me wishing I could enter to win. Maybe I should have bought a few tickets!

We did the grand prize drawing on the last day just as we started the yarn bomb party with London Kaye. And of course, London got to pull the winning ticket. It was super fun because with a raffle you just never know.

I love that suspense. You can click through this slide show and catch the whole play by play. Our photographer Hannah Schweiss captured EVERY MOMENT of this awesomeness.

The grand prize... ok guys.... UM YEAH! It featured delights from each of these incredible contributors and the handmade wall hanging from The River Haze Shop was surely a fan favorite!

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THANK YOU SO MUCH TO OUR
Grand Prize contributors:


And since not everyone can win the grand prize, we put together incredible swag bags with the generosity of so many makers and fiber businesses so everyone left with some major fiber treats.


SO WE SEND OUT A BIG THANK YOU & HUGE SHOUT OUT TO ALL
Stitch Up Chicago Sponsors. Could not have done it without them.

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And now YOU can enter to win not only one of the Stitch Up Chicago Swag Bags, but an amazing Artisan Spring Prize Pack including a knitting hat pattern from Yessy Designs, a crochet top pattern from Evelyn & Peter, a pair of sea shell socks made by the sock master himself, Rohn Strong, a super fun summer clutch purse from Tea Pray Crochet, a yarn mug AND $25 gift card from Yarn Mamas, a Lakeside Cardigan from CoCo Crochet Lee, a hand crochet cactus from Triple Knot Studio and an amazing set of hooks and notions.

UM... YES THIS IS THE ULTIMATE!!!!!!!

So click all the sponsor links to show them love and check them out then enter below!

Stitch Up Chicago 2018 - HECK YEAH!

Was it a dream? Did that all just happen? Oh my goodness Stitch Up Chicago how you are the most beautiful amazing days of the year. I am filled with so much gratitude and love from two days of amazing connections through fiber.  For me it is so personal, and so very special because when I started this blog it was all about giving back freely, sharing what I know and inspiring the fiber (and maker) community. Stitch Up Chicago was born as an extension of the blog to bring those online connections together and grow in community off line. I had no idea the reward would be so grand. So tangibly amazing. Words cannot describe it so let's just relive it all one more time in a fabulous recap.

And you can bet I am already dreaming ahead and planning Stitch Up Chicago 2019!

We kicked things off with a little pre-game afternoon tea and snacks at one of my FAVORITE places, Nina Chicago LYS (local yarn shop).  This was super cool because Nina has a new owner, Hilary, and I just LOVE HER and she was such a great host. The gals did some (a lot) of shopping and we definitely got into the Stitch Up Chicago mode.  Hilary has done a pretty amazing job since taking over Nina Chicago and if you are in Chicago definitely go say hi and check it out. Also - they make a mean cuppa ;-)


Back at the Virgin Hotel for the second year in a row, things got off to quite the start Friday with the Wool And The Gang Tau Zion Lion Beanie Knit Kit and a super yummy dinner. And of course, cocktails. It was pretty fabulous to have people there who had never met but share a love for all things fiber. The energy was just INCREDIBLE. I cannot put it into words because IT WAS AMAZING and even that in all caps doesn't cut it.

The Tau Zion Lion Beanie was the perfect kit because we had several new knitters who were so excited to learn. I mean how cool is that? Sign up and register for a Knit intensive event and not know how to knit! That is right because at Stitch Up Chicago you will learn. And they did.

One of the most magical things that happened Friday night was Nancy. Nancy was a guest at the Virgin hotel, in town for a completely different event over the weekend. On her way to the restroom, she noticed all these laughing, smiling, knitting people. She popped in and asked.. "What is this? Some kind of knitting party?" You bet it is! And within 15 minutes Nancy had a kit in hand, pulled up a spot on the sofa and was fully immersed in Stitch Up Chicago Knit Party. Her husband even came down a few hours later to see what was going on and where she went off to. lol. The magic of fiber!!! And the best - Nancy won the raffle for the day including a London Kaye Kit from Lion Brand. She was even a double winner because London was there knitting with us and signed the Kit for her. Truly could not have been more perfect or more magical.

And super fun bonus - Yes, we made two new knitters and I taught London how to knit. Friday night went way past the designated 7pm end time. And no one was shocked by the wee hour end of our knit hang.

Here are just a few snaps of all the fun and pardon the blur - we were having too much fun to worry about it. I have to tell you it was truly a night of smiles, laughs and kits. Yummy eats and a few cocktails too.


Saturday started off with so many yummy eats, new faces and surprises. We were working up the Betta Knit Adela Kit and it was super fun to see so many new knitters get in the action.  Betta Knit sent some really fun colors and perfect for that chill Virgin Knit vibe we had going. (The fine team at Betta Knit is giving you 25% off through March 2018 with code 144XBK17 if you want to try some too). Saturday morning definitely went by too fast.

Something new this year was that we added workshops to really feed into our fiber souls and maker hearts. First was the Yarn Tasting sponsored by Universal Yarn. Now, I am a fan of Universal Yarn and in fact they are my selected fiber for the Stitch & Hustle Kit Shop. But I know that many are not familiar with them. So this was super exciting for me to introduce these fibers that I love so much to everyone. It is something special to see someone's face when they discover a "New Fiber".  Universal sent some of my favorite fibers along with samples for everyone to see how they work out and lots for everyone to swatch and play with. Based on the feedback I can tell Universal Yarns has some new fans. It was quite a success.

Another workshop series we added was the Photography Series led by my photographer Hannah Weiss. This was special because no matter if you are sharing photos of your fiber for your business or for your passion to friends and family - you always want to show them in the best light (pun intended). And let's be honest - nothing is more frustrating than spending hours upon hours to create something beautiful then having to spend TWICE as long to photograph it!

Hannah led a hands on workshop and Q&A covering everything from at home hacks, how to find the light, filters and apps to help you edit and be true to your own voice and look and how to develop your brand look. It was really fantastic to see so many picking up tips and tricks to improve showing off their creations


As if that wasn't already an amazing event - we closed things out with the most phenomenal Yarn Bomb Party EVER! I had the opportunity to meet and connect with London Kaye, at Vogue Knit Live in NYC and when she said she wanted to come yarn bomb and lead a workshop at Stitch Up Chicago I was beyond excited. In fact, I could hardly contain it. And to top that off, she had just launched her yarn, hooks and kits and the amazing people at Lion Brand joined in the fun and sent us SO. MUCH. YARN. that I could not even count it all.

It was incredible to see so many fiber loving humans come together to make fiber pieces that would become one big PEACE (see what I did there?). London shared a bit of her history and how she found her passion for yarn bombing and developed her ergonomic crochet hooks on a 3D printer. GENIUS! Every grabbed some yarn and moments later there were smiles, creations and it all started to come together.

And of course, my favorite part of the event was teaching people to knit & crochet. Over the course of the event, I taught 5 people to knit and 2 people to crochet and can honestly say that might very well be my favorite part of it all. And we got those pieces worked right into our yarn bomb! Sharing my fiber love is the greatest gift of all.

Truly magical. And the result of us all coming together was so symbolic of what Stitch Up Chicago and this blog is all about: COMMUNITY. This awesome fiber Community. It was in fact the perfect - and only way - Stitch Up Chicago 2018 could have ended.

I am so humbled and so grateful to all who came out and all who supported this event. THANK YOU!

Let's rest up and do it again next year!

 

Have a scroll through our Yarn Bomb Slideshow and look at all the amazing creative fiber contributions, smiles and laughs as we prepare and then yarn bomb the Virgin Hotel. You can visit our installation all through the month of March.


Special thanks to Hannah Schweiss Photography for capturing the true magic and joy of this event.

A very BIG THANK YOU & HUGE shout out of gratitude to all of the
Stitch Up Chicago Sponsors. Could not have done it without them. Please check them out and stay tuned for more about each of them.

Kit Shop Featured Maker: Vanessa Knits

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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 !

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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.

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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.

Last but not least… Link us up baby! How can people connect with you:

Website: www.vanessaknits.com
Etsy Shop: Vanessaknits
Facebook: www.facebook.com/vanessaknits
Instagram: @vanessaknits
Ravelry: vanessaknits615

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Kit Shop Featured Maker: The Queen Stitch

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Although my business name is The Queen Stitch, my real name is Katie - and I’m the featured Kit Shop maker for the month of November! I am primarily a crocheter, though I’ve recently learned to knit, embroider, and weave. Crochet is my first love, and we’re in an open relationship. So, while I play with other crafts for a little while to clear my creative headspace, I always go back to crochet. Colorful, fun, inclusive, flirtatious, I see no reason why knitwear can’t be all of these things at once, and so I wanted to prove it – thus the Queen Stitch was born. My designs are usually a bit different in terms of structure, texture and color. Some of my favorite designs are a flamingo halter top, a lemon wedge bralette, and a backless sweater.

I first connected with Michele of Stitch+Hustle after she reached out to me about my women’s march protest vest, which read “I am more than my pussy, but she great” and I was honored to contribute to her blog! This will be my second contribution and I am so proud of her, the community inclusion in the kit shop, and all the fun projects that will come out of it.

My pieces are inspired by a lot of pop art and cartoons. Sometimes I’ll see a pin or a print on Instagram and think to myself – I could crochet that. That’s how the lemon wedge bralette came into being. I follow a marketing artist called @lizzie_darden, and she made lemon slices and sticks of sage look like a bikini, and I was like… doin’ it! I follow a lot of artists on Instagram – I think it’s about 50/50 of fiber arts to other types, and it’s usually these others that inspire my best knitwear!

 

 

 

 

 

 Though, I remember I saw a hot pink crochet kink outfit by @hanaquist that changed my life. Every new strange onesie photo in the wilderness by @lordvonschmitt - I really wish I could go camping with him and all his gorgeous models! I just bought this bare breast knit top from @responsivetextiles that made me the belle of the house party the other weekend. I could go on… I am just so continuously in awe of all the makers in the community.

 

I sometimes get inspired just by texture as well. @miskunn has this magical bobble pillow that I looked at and thought, I wish I could wear that. Which is how the bobble sweater sprang into being. I think that might be my favorite thing about creating. Seeing something in my head, grabbing a yarn and a hook and slowly watching it appear it front of me. It’s like the design flows right down my arms, going from behind my eyes to in front of my eyes. Plus then I get to wear it.

Alternatively, my least favorite parts of the craft are all practical things, rather than the conceptual and artistic. I live in New York City, my apt is approximately 500 sq feet, and I have another person sharing that space! I see this pictures of people’s gorgeous organized spaces and I’m like… how the frick do they do that? And living in NY isn’t even an excuse. I look at @debrosse_nyc and her space is Type A perfection. Meanwhile I’m sitting on my couch, under approximately 50 skeins of yarn wondering if I have a problem.

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I’m not a total loss yet; I usually sort my many works in progress into different project bags. I have the attention span of a beta fish so I like to switch between projects. That way, I’m technically still switching it up, but I’m always working. I always find it interesting when people give tips on making because it seems like the creative process is so different for each person. I’m very much of the “do you” school of thought.

My creative goal this winter is to remind everyone that knitwear doesn’t make you anything other than cozy. I catch some flack from my friends for going to bed early and making knitwear. Knitwear doesn’t make you frumpy, it doesn’t make you grandma-like, it doesn’t make you anything.  You can be hot, smart, active and ambitious and wear knits, you can go to bed whenever you want and wear knits. I have a couple fun projects lined up towards this goal in terms of re-branding, photoshoots, new patterns – so stay tuned for some more fun!

 


Make Sure to connect with The Queen Stitch:
Website: http://thequeenstitch.com/
Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheQueenStitch
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheQueenStitch/
Instagram: @thequeenstitch

Takover Maker: Alexandra of Two Of Wands

As mentioned in my post to launch this series we are reminded: our community is awesome because of its members. And man we have some great ones in this maker community who CONSTANTLY blow me away. And to say I am excited about this week's takeover maker is an understatement.

I first "discovered" Alexandra when I featured maker Katie of The Queen Stitch and she mentioned her. I INSTANTLY fell in love with everything about her, her brand Two Of Wands, her vibe. All of it. After some chats on IG, we quickly found out we had so much in common. Especially her current 'hood is my old stomping grounds and so much more. Ah... good times! I knew she would be the perfect maker to wrap up our Maker Takeover Month. Follow along with Alexandra's takeover here and get to know Alexandra more below when I asked her the Stitch & Hustle Maker Five: Questions:

1. Tell us your name and a little about your craft and business.
Hi! I am Alexandra Tavel of Two of Wands :) I call my company a "modern approach to a timeless art form" because I am always striving to design chic and sophisticated knits that are both cozy and functional. I offer all of my designs as patterns and finished pieces and try to design for modern makers who are looking for somewhat simple, somewhat speedy, somewhat statement-making projects. The resurgence of yarn crafts in recent years has opened up a younger more fashionable audience to the benefits of knitting and crocheting but in today's fast-paced world we only have a limited amount of time and we like to see quick results. I keep this in mind with all of my designs. Since I launched the company in 2013 it's been a whirlwind of amazingness and I'm so happy to be part of such an incredible community of makers!

2. What inspired you to start your handmade adventure?
I've been making things since birth because of my talented artist mom, so I've always had a bit of the creative bug. I even studied fashion design and costume construction technology in college! When I moved to NYC right after school I started working in the non-profit world and stayed there for eight years. It wasn't until 2013 when I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with a friend that I got back on the artistic path. After coming back down from the mountain I met a women who read my tarot cards and when I drew the Two of Wands card she explained to me that I had two options in front of me - the first was the stable but unfulfilling choice of staying put, and the second was the more risky but empowering choice of taking a leap into something more creative that spoke to my soul. It took me about 9 months to finally make the decision, and I named my company after that tarot card. Now I have people asking me all the time if the two wands represent knitting needles, which I hadn't thought of originally, but now makes it even more meaningful!

3. What is your one favorite thing about what you do?
I'd love to say "I get to work from home and make my own hours!" but the truth is I am constantly working - from home, from the street, from the subway, from my studio, in the grocery store, at the movies .... you get the picture. It's so much work and can be exhausting, but the best part about it is that I wake up every single morning excited to start the day and get back to my latest project. It's been so fulfilling getting to connect with my customers and followers and see them use my patterns to create their own handmade treasures.

4. What is one goal you have for this year? How are you doing with that goal? How can we, me, the community help you with that goal?
This year I've decided to branch out into a home collection and I'm SO excited about it. I'm the kind of person who has endless ideas and dozens of sketchbooks in my bag at any given time with drawings and notes exploding from the pages. Sometimes it's hard for me to edit down and I am almost always trying to catch up with my goals and deadlines. This is one of those scenarios as I thought I'd have this collection ready to launch in February. It's now almost April and I'm about 10% there, haha. I am also trying to get back into jewelry making, something I was doing for a few years before I started Two of Wands and have had on the back burner for a while.

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)?
I am endlessly in awe of the creativity of Katie Jagel from The Queen Stitch. I met her at last year's Our Maker Life conference and basically stalked her instagram and forced her to be my friend, haha. She is a crocheting genius and makes the most unique pieces!

Last but not least… Link us up baby! How can people connect with you:

Website: www.twoofwands.com
Etsy Shop: twoofwandsshop.etsy.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/twoofwands
Instagram: @twoofwands
Twitter: @alexitavel
Ravelry: www.ravelry.com/designers/alexandra-tavel

 

Takeover Maker: Vincent of Knot Bad Crochet

As mentioned in my post to launch this series we are reminded: our community is awesome because of its members. And man we have some great ones in this maker community. And to say I am excited about this week's takeover maker is an understatement. I first "discovered" Vincent of Knot Bad when he commented on our mutual friend Caroline's instagram page. I clicked his name to see his page and was immediately like WOW! So much fun and talent. And that is what is great about this community - just a few commons threads and a few clocks and we are all connected through creativity.

I've gotten to know Vincent more over time, especially recently while helping him build up his blog and pattern writing. He is so freaking awesome I cannot stand it. I'm so excited to see what he brings this week for his Stitch & Hustle IG Takeover and get to know Vincent more here when I asked him the Stitch & Hustle Maker Five: Questions:
 

1.  Tell us your name and a little about your craft and business.

Hi! My name is Vincent, but many know me from my brand name, Knot Bad! My craft and business is all about crochet! I just picked up the craft in August of 2015 and have been hooked ever since. I sell my finished products that are primarily Amigurumi, which are stuffed dolls! I like all things nerdy like Pokemon and it’s so much fun to see them alive! I also sell the patterns and I have recently been dabbling in crochet-wear!

2. What inspired you to start your handmade adventure?

Crochet is always something the intrigued me in high school and college for some unknown reason but I just could never get the hang of it. After leaving my service sector job, I was motivated to finally push myself and learn how to! I’ve been crocheting for fun ever since and I have been so fortunate to turn it into a business in such an organic manner!

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3. What is your one favorite thing about what you do?

It’s hard to choose just one aspect, it’s such a fun experience every day! Being able to bring to life my imagination, meeting so many people through my art, and seeing other’s reaction when they see what I have created with just my two hands is always a wonderful feeling that I don’t think I will ever get tired of.

4. What is one goal you have for this year? How are you doing with that goal? How can we, me, the community help you with that goal?

One of my many goals that I have this year is to become full-time with my business, or at least make a huge dent into making that a reality! So far, so good! For have only starting a year and a half ago, I’m proud and grateful to be where I’m at today. The main way to help me grow my business is just spreading my name around, it helps so much! (If you like my work that is!)

 

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)?

Within this realm of fiber arts, other makers that inspire me are Sierra from @KnittingWonders, Stephanie from @Allaboutami, Jessica from @the.hook.nook, and Jenn from @croochetshop! There are simply just too many people to name off, but also a huge shout-out to all the other lovely makers contributing to Stitch and Hustle's Takeover! He’s not in this realm, but an idol of mine is Elon Musk. He’s considered a maker, right?

Last but not least, link us up baby! How can people connect with you?

Website: https://www.knotbad-crochet.com/
Etsy Shop: www.knotbadcrochet.etsy.com
Instagram: @knot.bad
Twitter: @knotbadcrochet
Patreon: Knot Bad Crochet

 

Takeover Maker: Macy of ImCrazyForCraftin

As mentioned in my post to launch this series we are reminded: the biggest gift of community are its members. We have some amazing ones. And this week's takeover maker kind of blows me away. Like a LOT.

I discovered Macy on Instagram about a year ago shortly after I joined. She always had such cozy creations and positive vibes in her posts. She had to take a break for a while to focus on some life things and I messaged her just to say I missed seeing her on my feed. We soon struck up a conversation and I discovered a few more things about Macy that only made me go WOW even more and I just adore her.

For example, we both have strong ties to our grandmas and that is a very awesome connection. More than just spoils and gifts, we both thrive on relationships with them. I also discovered... wait for it ... she is 16.

WHAT?

So poised. So talented. So kind. Just blew me away. And here she is starting her business, creating cozy delights, being part of a community and inspiring others. And that is just WOW. It is also one more thing I love about this creative community. It is open to all who want to create and share their talents and passion. At any age!

Macy is wise beyond her years I tell you. So follow along on IG as Macy takes over this week and shares her maker inspiration and creations and things she loves. Get to know Macy more here when I asked her the Stitch & Hustle Maker Five: Questions

1. Tell us your name and a little about your craft and business.
2. What inspired you to start your handmade adventure?

I'm Macy. The owner, designer, photographer, and dreamer behind I'm Crazy for Craftin.' I'm 16 years old, and I've loved crafting for as long as I can remember. I started my business when I was 10, and opened my Etsy shop when I was 13.

 

 

3. What is your one favorite thing about what you do?

This whole experience has been such a wonderful time of learning and growing. One of my favorite things about what I do is getting to meet new people. I've met lifelong friends at craft shows, and met so many wonderful people through social media.

4. What is one goal you have for this year? How are you doing with that goal? How can we, me, the community help you with that goal?

Macy and her cozy creations set up for market

Macy and her cozy creations set up for market

I've set lots of goals for my business this year, but the most important one to me is making my business "my own". Not that it isn't right now, but I want to come up with my own ideas, and not copy anyone else; just get inspiration from them.

 

 

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)?

A few makers I'm inspired by are Nicole from Miskunn, Hailey from Ozetta, and Rosalynne from Rosalynne Love (just to name a few!). It's so wonderful to connect with other talented makers in person, and through Instagram.

Last but not least… Link us up baby! How can people connect with you:

Etsy: www.imcrazyforcraftin.etsy.com
Facebook: I'm Crazy for Craftin'
Instagram: @imcrazyforcraftin

Takeover Maker: Chantal of Knitatude

As mentioned in my previous post to launch this series we are reminded: the biggest gift of community are its members. We have some amazing ones.

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The first amazing maker for our April Maker Takeover is Chantal of Knitatude. Ok... let me be clear.... I have a total maker crush on this gal. She IS the real deal. She inspires me SO MUCH in so many ways. Why you ask? Well not only is she a badass knitter (really she is amazing) but she gets it. She just gets what it is about to be an empowered woman creative who supports other empowered women creatives. Chantal hosts a regular yarn & small business meet up in her local community and has just launched a second IG account to help others as well. She, like me, believes that by helping others succeed we too will succeed.

On top of all that, the goofball in me totally adores the goofball in her.  So follow along on IG as Chantal takes over and shares her maker inspiration and creations. And get to know Chantal more I asked her the MAKER Five questions here:
 

1. Tell us your name and a little about your craft and business.

Hi my name is Chantal and I'm the sole knitta behind Knitatude - aka Knitting with Attitude. I knit chunky scarves, headbands, toques, blankets, write patterns, try to take over the world and make crochet and knit essential tool kits with inappropriate sayings on them. I'm a huge believer in staying true to oneself. I have practically no filter, so on my feed you will see some sassy comments and me making an ass out of myself. I am such a huge advocate for makers in our community and because of it I've started to delve into the world of supplying maker advice. You can usually find me doing IG lives on topics of social media tips and how to stick up for your own company in multiple ways.

2. What inspired you to start your handmade adventure?

I feel so bad saying this - but Knitatude started off selfishly. I wanted an infinity scarf for Christmas and when I didn't get one I took matters into my own hands. When people started to like my items it was so humbling and I loved making others feel good. That feeling has only grown since then. Not to mention I fell madly in love with the aspect of making things with my own hands I thought "Now this is some cool shit!".

3. What is your one favorite thing about what you do?

I love making people laugh. My tool kits are exactly this. Funny, inappropriate sayings that when actually read get those wide eyes, shocked open mouths and chuckles. It's what I live for every market because I love seeing people who have as dirty of a mind as I do when it comes to knitting and crocheting. Also I love that I host a knit night every week. This community is so rich and vibrant and caring and I adore getting to see all my fibre loving peeps each week!

4. What is one goal you have for this year? How are you doing with that goal? How can we, me, the community help you with that goal?

Oh boy. I have so many! My MAIN goal is to get people knitting in general and breaking the stigma and stereotypes around it. I'm so tired of being called a Grandma because I knit and I'm not ancient. I also want people to stop saying "Not you're grandmas knitting" cause it isn't helping. The second is; I want our community to start charging what we are worth. There is literally nothing that peeves me off more than someone undervaluing their work and undercutting themselves and everyone around them. To break the stigma around "knitting is cheap" we have to make knitting not cheap! Which I think simple communication and yelling it from the rooftops will help.

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)?

Nicole from @saltwaterteajewelry / @woolfield.studio is not only my best friend but she legit is my rock. I bounce ideas off of her, ask her a billion questions a day, drown her in my rants and everything you can imagine. This girl is the shit. She takes me for who I am, doesn't take any of my shit and won't hesitate to question me on anything that she thinks won't be in my best interest business wise and in my personal life. She is a crazy talented boss babe as owns her own shop (Greater Goods YYC), her jewelry biz, volunteers her time to an all female small biz networking group called YYC Girl Gang as my vice-prez and is now opening her own consulting company for makers. She is a diamond in the rough.

The whole team from We Are Knitters - I don't know how they do it but they inspire me to keep trying new things, getting out of my comfort zone and give me all the heart eyes when it comes to knitting.

Kelly from Knit Brooks - I seriously can't even begin to tell you how much I look up to Kelly. She may be soft spoken in her videos but the amount of love and care that comes out of this human is jawdropping. She's always there to lend a hand or give advice and is just a instagram convo away. She's super down to earth and makes just the most beautiful stuff. Beautiful person inside and out!


Last but not least… Link us up baby! How can people connect with you:

Website: knitatude.ca
Etsy Shop: www.knitatude.etsy.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/knitatude
Instagram: @knitatude
Twitter: @knitatude

Women Are Awesome, Especially Pam of Halos of Hope

Today is March 8th and it is International Women's Day. In the USA, under our current climate, there is a big movement for making it "a day without women" to show how much daily impact women have in our community. And I was planning to share a story about my grandma, the biggest female influence of my life, who passed many years ago and I live without daily. But I decided instead I would like to tell you about Pam. Pam is a 13 year cancer survivor and an amazing woman who is one women I'm incredibly glad we are NOT without. For International Women's Day, with this post, I want to celebrate her and tell you about her and our connection.

with Pam H at the Halos of Hope Booth at Stitches Midwest

with Pam H at the Halos of Hope Booth at Stitches Midwest

Pam H. Is the founder of Halos of Hope. She is a remarkable human being who, having survived cancer, realized that human connection can help change the way a person feels as they go through something like this and can have a healing power. And what better way to feel connected that the warmth and comfort of handmade. Pam founded Halos of Hope to bring hand knit and crochet caps and items of comfort to chemo patients around the country.

As Pam says in her bio: "My favorite scarves & hats were those that people made for me because I knew they were made with affection and love.  And sometimes a soft cap works wonders when you tire of wearing the wig, or just need to kick about the house."

Those words ring true to me.  A few years ago, upon request of a good customer, I sent a 'chemo cap' to a friend of hers battling cancer. She asked for a certain fiber since the hat would be touching her scalp and a certain style and shape so it would be comfortable. We worked together to make sure the item would be just what her friend was looking for.

And then, a few months later, long after I had moved on to many other orders and other customers, I received this note:

and my life changed. And my crochet business, changed. I knew instantly that, as Pam talks about in her bio, the touch of a handmade item can bring comfort to strangers in a way I hadn't imagined.

The next week, I reached out to Halos Of Hope to ask if I can partner with them in an ongoing manner and soon launched One-4-One.  Since October 2014, for every single hat I sell, it means a chemo patient gets a handmade chemo cap. Handmade by me. I ship boxes of hats a few times a year to Halos of Hope that they distribute to one of over 400 cancer treatment centers. It's one of the biggest joys about my little business.

Even though I've been partnered with Halos of Hope since 2014, I didn't get to meet Pam until last year at Stitches Midwest. Meeting Pam in person was awesome. She is spunky and fun and fabulous and kind and exactly all the things you can imagine of such a kind person.  I was blown away by this beautiful woman and sharing a few minutes with her.  

We bounced around Stitches Midwest booths and laughed and it was so much fun to connect. I am so glad the world does not have to go without Pam today, or any other day. And I am so glad that she took her story and turned it into her mission to bring comfort to others. One remarkable woman.

If you would like donate a hat to Halos of Hope you can do so here.
Or if you would like to make a hat to send to Halos of Hope you can send it to: 
(please do NOT send money or yarn)?

144 Stitches Chemo Caps Program
PO Box 86
Sycamore, IL 60178

We Are More Than Just Pink Yarn - Why I Marched

Unless you have been living under a rock (which sometimes I wish I am so I get it if you have been) you have heard about the Women's March and The PussyHat Project. So many fellow knitters and crocheters, and so many sewers and artisans coming together to help women express themselves visually. I was unable to attend a march but was there in the spirit of my work and honored by all the women who asked me to make them a hat. I also shared recently on IG about my grandmother, the most important woman in my life. 

This march had generations of women marching together and that is powerful. And since I missed the march, I loved seeing the shared posts and photos of something so powerful in action. I wanted to invite another woman who inspires me as an artist to share her story after seeing her march post. Maybe because of the sign in the background of her IG march photo (You Pissed Off My Abuela) or maybe because of her unabashed empowerment in who she is, I invited Katie (The Queen Stitch)  to share her experience marching and she graciously accepted. I hope she inspires you like she inspires me to be who we are made to be: empowered artists and empowered women! Take it away Katie...

Katie: The Queen Stitch

My mom has been fundamental to me becoming a confident and assertive human being. When I was growing up she was a women's health and child advocacy lawyer. She worked with UNICEF in Iran, and she spent time in Ireland trying to sort through the IRA mess in Belfast. She was brave, and went where she thought she could be useful, always standing up for the rights of women and children when it was threatened.
 
She raised me to be prudent but open about health and sex. In high school, she brought me to her OB/GYN so I could be fully informed on what choices were out there. I have not always made the best choices in terms of dating or partners, but I avoided so much emotional, and physical strife in the dating and sex world because of this knowledge and access to resources.
 
Trump's rhetoric during his election, aside from his slut-shaming, shallowness, and general hate speech, seeks to undercut the confidence, educational opportunities, and health care of a huge group of women.

A Few of Katie's Pink March Hats

I was taught to crochet, like many, by my grandmother. Another “strong woman”, who created a safe space for me, while teaching me to create and recognize what safety meant.
 
The knitting, crochet and fiber arts community is often associated with coziness, staying home in your jammies, and in a way, safety. But that doesn't mean the community lazy, and as his hate started to build up the maker community stood up - and the pussy hat trend exploded.
 
The day before the march Alexi (of Two of Wands) and I were both hurriedly making pussyhats as quickly as possible. She was going down to DC and knitting her hats, I was crocheting mine for everyone I knew was going.

For my own garb, I wanted to remind everyone that this is more than just about Planned Parenthood. Yes, it's an important and wonderful institution that gives people access to knowledge and health care services, but this march is more than women's health. Women are more than their vaginas. We are not walking pussies that are grabbed and released, censored and taboo. We're human beings, community members, activists, makers.
 
I made what I called a "protest vest" to remind Trump, the powers that be, whoever is listening, that I am more than my pussy, and I am not ashamed of having one.

To be surrounded by so much creativity and anger, humor and knitwear, was inspiring and hopeful. I marched for equality, access, community, and confidence. --

ABOUT KATIE: Katie Jagel is a modern crochet designer with a kitschy and colorful take on the fiber arts. Her company The Queen Stitch is known for its original and fun designs. She has been crocheting for over 10 years and enjoys eggs for breakfast, and good lipstick.