Amy Herzog says You Can Knit That, and goes to prove it with a new book by that name, sharing it with us today on the Yarn Thing podcast with Marly Bird.
Amy Herzog says she can’t remember a time she didn’t knit, it may have been in Kindergarten or a little before. She says the story goes that she was very active when she was little was taught as a way to slow down. As a kid, she did sweaters, hats, blankets, mittens and gave up all her making hobbies as a ‘cool’ teenager. She does say her family was a maker family, sewing with grandma, including her prom dress …. a Maker Centric Community. In her early twenties, she picked it back up again. She says she has a couple of knit challenges that make it more fun to create clothes than buy. Modifying patterns to fit herself was a short bridge to designing. Of course, with a technical and computer science background (good at math) it may have also contributed to her making that leap. Amy says she was a fan of Rowan Knits, she often found that she had to size things there to fit herself from those collections.
Amy’s desire when designing is to make it more accessible to more sizes of people. It began with a Rowan design that was a wrap, Tulip, by Marie Wallen, that she loved but certain elements needed fixed (‘I am not a capped-sleeved person’) so she drafted set-in sleeves. This incorporated the sewing education she received from her grandmother, and her techie smarts to accomplish. Her first design from scratch was for ‘Knitting It Old School’ who needed someone to design for their Sci-Fi chapter, so she created Apocalypta. (There is another sweater attributed to her, Lady Speedway, in that book.) She felt she knew at that point, she knew what she wanted to knit/create/design.
At about that time, there were lots of bloggers discussing Process Knitting vs Product Knitting, many sharing that they were knitting to create something they weren’t going to wear. Amy acknowledged that was not who she was, her upbringing created in her a need to be useful, to make things to be used. Wanting to wear the garments we create means that they need to fit. Knit to Flatter came from that, not so much about making things fit because there were many resources that did that at the time, but to think about why we like what we do. She wanted to share, not so much size, but shape and what might make you happiest. In fact, the pieces were photographed on ‘Real People’ not models! She also created a Custom Fit Sweater Pattern Generator, which may have been a natural project for the techie person who can show each of us what makes for successful sweater patterns. It begins with a free membership, compiles your measurements, gauge and type of fit then offers to write the pattern for a small charge. There is also the option to create your own which allows you to capture whatever pattern is floating in your head.
The next big project was her Make. Wear. Love. Retreats to focus on being sweater inspired, with craft demonstrations and vendors geared toward clothing. The registration has just opened for the West retreat happening in April 2017. It has been so popular both West and East coast, so it won’t be long before it’s filled.
Now, we have You Can Knit That (I want to type CAN, in all caps! To view the patterns click this Ravelry Link) To answer questions students had about how to change things to follow the trends. Different ways to change how to attach the sleeves, what kind of yarn creates a fabric that does what, how to choose a size correctly, where it will constrict, how to add a stitch pattern, how to read a pattern…. She feels her early books went really deep into the tailored clothing, and this goes back to making clothes we like to wear.
Marly loves the way Amy’s brain works, and suggested that Amy should write a book on how to design, which Amy says she’s currently working on…. We’ll have to have her back when that happens!
Amy Herzog can be followed in many places, first her website is AmyHerzog.com, complete with a blog, Ravelry Designer page and Fan Group. She also has a Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. Amy also has Craftsy classes, but Marly’s links are unavailable today, as soon as we have access I will get back to share those…. Also we love sharing them on Facebook, so that’s a good place to watch for those links and other things that support the podcast.
If you missed getting to hear this live it is still available as an archived episode where it aired originally http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yarnthing/2016/11/01/amy-herzog-says-you-can-knit-that or you can listen with your favorite podcast catcher like iTunes or Stitcher Radio. Also Marly has been creating behind-the-scenes video in her Facebook page and sharing them in YouTube as well.