Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Q&A With MUSINGS FROM MERCURY HALL Designer Jennie Cross!

Exciting news! Hill Country Weavers' third pattern book, Musings from Mercury Hall, is now being distributed nationally by Deep South Books and Unicorn Books & Crafts. This pattern book is as gorgeous as our Shelter Collection and our Prairie Bliss Collection, if we do say so ourselves! You can pick up hard copies at the store or order PDFs online at our virtual shop.

And now, we'd like you to meet Jennie Cross, who designed two patterns for Musings From Mercury Hall, The Mercury Hall Pullover and the Mercury Hall Hat. Jennie's been knitting for seventeen years and you can find out even more about her at her website DovieJayKnits.

Your favorite part of knitting?
I am highly reactive to color and beauty, and something about textiles has always spoken to me, since I was very young. Knowing that with the industry and skill of my own hands and the wit and experience of my mind I can create something beautiful and useful, something that will be loved and bring happiness and comfort, gives me great joy and fills me with pride.

What got you into design?
When I was a teenager I got the Great American Afghan books printed by Knitter's Magazine and poured over their contents. There were designer interviews inside, and one with Lily Chin really struck me - this woman was not much older than I was and her job was knitting - I couldn't believe it. It was the late '90's and I was not at all plugged into knitting culture and there weren't any shops around so this was the first young knitting designer I'd really noticed. I was split between being a designer or working for the government as a Russian analyst and translator. Halfway through my freshman year of college (and first year Russian) I took a weaving class and realized that textiles couldn't be a hobby anymore - I was going to have to do this every day. I transferred to the University of Wisconsin and switched my major to Textile and Apparel Design.

Will you describe your pattern process and or knitting process?
I pretty much have to knit as I write. I work with the computer on my lap and my knitting on the keyboard and switch back and forth between typing and knitting. When I'm writing a graded pattern I typically grade at the same time, thinking things out for each size, and I keep an intense spreadsheet so I can remember what I'm doing. It's not always very efficient, switching back and forth so much, but I feel like I explain things much better when I write down exactly what I'm doing. I think this comes from the fact that at my old LYS in Madison, WI, I used to teach quite a bit, and I did a lot of demonstration and explaining at the same time - it's easier for me to be clear when I have the sample in my hands.

Any funny knitting stories?
I'm quite the opinionated and picky knitter, at least when it comes to my own projects. My knitting group in Madison used to make fun of me because I am almost incapable of cutting yarn - I do everything two-at-a-time - socks, sleeves, mittens, etc, and I work from both ends of the ball so that I only have one ball left at the end, not two. This also contributes to what I call my Low-Frogging-Threshold, which means that if something isn't working out, even if there's just a small problem, I pull it out - the yarn deserved better!!

I suppose the funniest thing that happened to me at work at the old LYS was one day when a nice lady came in and when I looked at her check it turned out to be the favorite author of my childhood - Patricia C. Wrede. I'm a very calm and quiet person, but I went totally monosyllabic and babbled like a monkey at her - she seemed flattered and couldn't have been nicer, but I was beside myself for the rest of the day - and of course a couple of coworkers and regulars witnessed the Fangirl Word Salad and I never heard the end of it. And the very next weekend Ysolda came in.

What do you do by day?
I let my dogs in and out of the house, tell them how beautiful, well-behaved, and spoiled they are, and forget to do the laundry!

What else do you want to tell us?
I'm doviejay on Ravelry and Twitter.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Party's Over... But The Great Memories Remain!

Last week we hosted a KXKP (knit by knit purl) party and boy was it fun. Southpaw Jones, Schmillion and R. Ring (featuring Kelley Deal from the Breeders) played. Knitter's Pride supplied us with some great needles and the shop put out a basket of free yarn and fans of all ages joined forces to knit and crochet mic stand cozies for R. Ring's gig. Here are some pictures. Thanks to all who came and played along, and super big thanks to Lindsay for being the refreshments committee and to Emily for setting up a rocking display, including charts for the really ambitious folks.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Don't Forget: We're Having a Party!

This is a reminder about our BIG KXKP (knit by knit purl) PARTY!

Party is on Wednesday, March 14th, from 3pm - 7pm. Featuring Southpaw Jones, Schmillion, and Kelley Deal (of the Breeders and R. Ring).

It's FREE FREE FREE. The first ten of you to arrive will receive a FREE KNIT KIT so you can knit a mic stand cozy for Kelley to use at her official SXSW showcase.

PLUS!! Liz Gipson, a rep for Knitter's Pride, will be there for "Austin Share Your Pride"-- a chance to try out Knitter's Pride needles!

Also, see that picture above? It's a poster for Kelley's band, R. Ring. If you're one of those ambitious, silly, seat-of-the-pants knitters, then knit up a banana and/or an orange. The most creative knitted fruit knitter wins a prize! We'll let Kelley be the judge.

Please help us spread the word. And remember, parking will be tight so consider carpooling or taking the bus.

See you Wednesday!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Because There Aren't Enough Parties Next Week-- Join Us for KXKP!

Last week, The New York Times ran one of their super popular travel articles about how to spend 36 hours in a particular city. This time out, it was Austin's turn (not the first time) and Hill Country Weavers was mentioned as a must-visit destination! Yay!

The timing of the article was not random-- as we all know, starting at the end of this week, roughly a bazillion visitors are going to be showing up for SXSW. We got a note from Kelley Deal, who you might know from The Breeders. Kelley's in another band, too-- R. Ring. That band is coming to town to play SXSW. As it happens, Kelley is a big knit fanatic. She even has a great knitting book, Bags that Rock. So Kelley wanted to know if she might pop by, knit some rows, and play some tunes.

We said HECK YES!

And then we invited Schmillion-- Austin's own (mostly) girl rock band that has had tremendous success and includes at least one knitter. And we invited Southpaw Jones, too-- he's engaged to a knitter, Miss Maggie, who knits up a mean cowl.

So, that's right folks-- looks like we've got a party on our hands. Stay tuned here for more details as we have them-- like free giveaways for those of you who want to come and help knit microphone stand cozies for Kelley's gig. Meanwhile, mark your calendar and check the bus schedule because parking is going to be H-E-Double-Toothpicks. (Though our party is early enough that there should be room in the lot across the street.)

KXKP Party!
(knit by knit purl)
MARCH 14th
3 pm - 6 pm
Hill Country Weavers
Kelley Deal
Southpaw Jones
(pass it on....)