Blog Hop - Four Questions and Answers

In the comments of a recent blog post, I received a "nomination" to participate in a blog hop! It's the four questions interview hop, which you may have seen on other blogs. I'm sorry I have no idea who started it. Lori B of Frivolous at Last nominated me and that was kinda fun, since we'd never communicated before this.

How it works is easy. I'll just dive right in and answer the questions. At the end I'll nominate two more bloggers to participate. Originally, there was some sort of time frame on when the questions were to be answered, but we'll ignore that part. So here goes!

1.  Why do I write?
I started writing this blog mostly to keep a record of the steps I take to produce a particular sewing technique. I'm a professional knit textile designer and as most textile designers do, I've kept meticulous notes and graphs so that the fabrics can be reproduced. When I decided I wanted to experiment with cutting and sewing my fabrics, I decided, of course, to keep more notes. This time I'd publish what I wrote in the form of a blog, and perhaps I'd find a community of others doing the same.
Keeping notes ;-)
This is actually my fourth blog. The first was a digital animation vlog in support of the electronic music group Silicon Soul. (I was a founding member, songwriter, and singer for the group. We had a European hit "Who Need Sleep Tonight" with a bunch of remixes and collaborations.) The second blog was about electronic (classical contemporary and dance) music and electronic art in general. I wrote to share interesting performances I'd attended, exhibits I'd viewed, or items I'd found online. My third blog is Knitting in the Fastlane, a machine knitting blog, where I still post on an irregular basis. Though Crafting Fashion started out as just a web log, it's moved beyond that now. I try to make what I write helpful to anyone who's interested in cutting and sewing sweater knits. On occasion I'll write about the sweater knit fabrics that I design, develop and/or knit, some of which are available through my online shop.

2.  What am I working on?
I'm smack in the middle of a shawl collar cardigan, Kwik Sew 3916. Though I usually prefer drafting my own patterns, it's fun to sew a commercial pattern every now and then. Also, a couple of readers asked if I would write up a project in detail showing how to adapt a commercial pattern for use with sweater knits. Though I originally started out using a serger with sweater knits (a quick and easy way of working with knits), I eventually realized that I wanted the inside of my garments to have a more finished look. The shawl cardi will be my first garment where I finish all inside edges with a stretchy Hong Kong finish. So far, I love the way this is working out! For anyone who thinks of cut and sew sweaters as a poor substitute for the fully fashioned, check it out. Yes, it's an odd mash-up of commercial manufacturing processes and couture techniques, but I'm going to be able to wear this thing inside out if I want! (Exaggeration -- it's not really reversible but will look very neat on the inside.)
One stretchy Hong Kong finished seam in progress

A big project that recently got underway is the Of Hand, Spirtit & Earth Studio. Jacquie Bird of SilkWire Jewelry and I have combined forces to open this studio/showroom in downtown Jersey City NJ. I'm very excited to have a place to regularly show my fabric samples, scarves, and wraps. Of Hand, Spirit & Earth is open to visitors by appointment only. Click if you'd like to know more.

My very Big project (vBp) is my quest to produce a reasonably priced line of quality sweater knit fabrics. This will eventually involve getting some of my fabrics produced commercially. For those who don't knit their own, quality sweater knit fabric can be nearly impossible to find. And if you do find the fabrics, finding matching fabric, suitable for binding and bands, just doesn't happen. This quest has been a project-in-progress for a little while now, and I'm doing this because I am passionate about sweater knits. All my current custom-knit fabrics are, if not luxury, then definitely on the high end. Their widths are also limited by the width of my knitting machines. This may be fine for fashion designers who need swatches or fabric for a sample garment. It's also good for the home sewer who makes the occasional luxury item and appreciates the ease of working with the narrower fabric. I admit I'm biased, but I think more people need quality sweater knits in their lives. Ok, maybe not this much, but definitely more. The vBp will be a way to bring comfortable, quality knit fabrics to a larger audience. Once you've worked with and worn the fine grade wools, you won't be happy with the polyester and acrylic blends. If you're excited by sweater knits and my vBp and want to invest your time or money, let's talk.

3.  How does my blog differ from others in its genre?
Do you remember how I said "perhaps I'd find a community of others who were doing the same"? Well, that never happened. No other bloggers specialize in cutting and sewing sweater knits. At least there aren't any sewers that I've come across who do. There may be machine knitters who blog on this.... If you're out there, please let me know! 

Anyway, I hope that people who are interested in cutting and sewing sweater knits have found my experiments and posts helpful. Working with this type of knit is quite different from working with lighter weight and finer gauged knits. This blog doesn't have lots of subscribers, but according to Google Analytics, some of my posts (the tutorials and tips) have lifetime pageviews hundreds of times my average?! Most readers, who get here via Google, search "how to cut and sew a sweater" or similar query.

4.  How does my writing process work?
My writing process is project-driven. I write about the personal projects that I'm working on or about what I've recently completed, trying to document at least the broader strokes. I don't write about projects I do for private clients, unless the fabric I'm knitting is commercially available in my shop. For this blog, my topics have to do with cutting and sewing the fabrics; usually Crafting Fashion is not about making the fabrics. The pictures, which aren't always as great as I'd like, can come before I start the writing, while I'm writing, or after I've finished the writing. I don't really enjoy taking my own picture modeling a finished garment, but I force myself to do it. I love taking project-in-progress pictures, because they often serve as a writing prompt. I find pics helpful when I'm trying to recreate something I've done previously. I'm glad that others have told me the pics are helpful, too. I've learned to enjoy taking pictures of  provocatively draped knit fabrics and then describing them, but I've decided that long winded, detailed descriptions of sweater knits are beyond the scope of this blog! I'd really love to have an editor.
O! Jolly! double knit black and white rippled jacquard, fine grade wool 

Now is my turn to nominate two bloggers to answer the four questions. My first nomination is Esther Melander of The Design Loft. I've never met Esther and not sure I've ever left a comment on her blog, but I enjoy reading what she writes because it's often technical and meaty. She has worked in the fashion industry and has written a book called The Organized Fashion Designer. Though I'm not a fashion designer, I'm thinking that her book of guides and forms might be helpful as I proceed with my vBp. It would be interesting to learn about her writing process. I also nominate Chuleenan Svetvilas of C Sews. I follow Chuleenan on the various social media and we've commented on each other's blogs, though we've never met in person. I love the dresses she makes and the hats she wears. I admire her sense of style and I'd love to hear about her creative process. I hope Esther and Chuleenan accept the nominations.


Last edit 29Oct2014