|It is my pleasure to present my special Saturday morning chat with Vickie Howell, hostess of the DIY Network’s show, Knitty Gritty, and author of the fun and fabulous New Knits on the Block. I got the chance to ask Vickie some questions about her life, her knitting, and her future crafty plans.|
With the DIY show, the books, and the family, how much time do you actually get to knit? What project are you currently working on?
Unfortunately, I almost never get to knit for pleasure anymore. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. I try and squeeze in small projects as often as I can, though. Right now, I’m finishing up the Cabled Newsboy Cap that was designed by my friend Shannita for Stitch n’ Bitch Nation.
What tips do you have for the knitters who want to make the jump to knitwear designers? Was there a text or some advice that you found particularly helpful when designing for your books?
It’s helpful to have some kind of “knitting bible” on hand like, Vogue Knitting’s Ultimate Knitting Book and if possible, a slew of knitting friends to brainstorm with if you hit a design obstacle. I also like to use fabric garments as templates for the general shaping ideas. Really though, I think the best advice it to have a willingness to think outside of the box and not worry about making mistakes. Some of the best design features are the result of a project gone wrong!
I would love to hear more about your idea of "feminist-based knitting" and the subsequent founding of the Austin Craft Mafia. Can you share your philosophy on what feminist knitting is, and how the Craft Mafia works?
Well, I think the only thing that makes the current knitting movement a feminist one is our reclaiming of it as an art form or hobby rather than as traditional “women’s work”. Shattering stereotypes about what sort of person now chooses to knit, furthers the movement by opening people’s eyes to a new social norm of sorts.
The Austin Craft Mafia was formed by 9 women with craft-based businesses who felt that we could have a stronger voice as a united force than we could individually. We believe that women are each other’s greatest informational resource and are hoping to perpetuate that philosophy by encouraging other groups of female-run businesses to form their own Craft Mafias.
Women helping women, yo, that’s where it’s at!
What is your knitting "herstory"? Who taught you how to knit? How long have you been knitting?
I’ve only been knitting seriously for about 5 years. My mom tried teaching me when I was 8 years old but it didn’t really stick until I visited a yarn store in my mid-twenties and was re-taught by the shop owner.
That day, it was love at first knit.
Where do you get your "knitspiration"? Books, magazines, TV, or internet/blogs?
I’m inspired mostly by music, pop-culture, vintage clothing, art, fashion mags, other designers, novels and movies. Ya know, the usual stuff.
What advice do you have for new knitters and crafters?
Just to remember we’re not curing disease here, it’s only knitting. Relax, have fun and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box!
What’s next for Vickie Howell? I have heard rumors of a new DIY show called "Stylelicious". Can you tell us more about this venture?
Yeah! Stylelicious is a new show for the DIY network, about handmade fashion. It’s co-hosted by myself and 7 other Austin Craft Mafia members and begins airing next spring. We’re super excited about it! Other than that, my 2nd book (Not Another Teen Knitting Book) comes out in June, I’m going to continue writing and designing for Knit.1 and Budget Living, and I’m gearing up to get started on writing my 3rd book, which will be on crochet. That’s pretty much it for now.
Thanks for having me here, Lolly–it was a pleasure. Knit on!
Flipping through Vickie’s book, I was captivated by the whimsical patterns – ah, to be a kid again! There were many that caught my eye, but these two held a special place, probably because I am wishing I was in Hawaii right about now!
Make sure to check out her book: its full of fun patterns just like these, for girls and boys.
You can follow Vickie on the rest of the BLOG TOUR – Tomorrow she stops by and gives Booga J a photo tour of the book, and Monday, she will be at Scout’s for another interview. If you missed a blog tour date, go back and catch up!
You can even read more about Vickie’s ongoing projects, ideas, and life news on her blog. (I can’t wait for Stylelicious!)
Thank you to Vickie for answering my questions, and thanks to all of you for reading! Let me know what you think!