SHE'S GOT KNITS - interview series coming soon
Since the beginning of Level 4 Lockdown in Auckland (August 17th 2021, to be precise) I have been thinking a lot about knitting - and doing quite a bit of it. I've been knitting for about ten years but last year’s pandemic situation got me on the needles in earnest. I started buying patterns online, following inspirational knitters on the other side of the world, and spending my money locally on yarn. I saw the Knitting section at Spotlight Sylvia Park balloon to take up what seems like a quarter of the store now. I started buying fancy circular needles and daydreaming about cashmere and silk. Whenever I posted something knitty on Instagram I would get DMs praising my efforts and asking "How do I start?" I began to wonder…is it just me? I looked around and got the feeling something was happening in my city…people seemed to be getting really into CRAFTS.
I decided to reach out to my favourite Auckland yarn people and ask them what the hell was going on, with the intention of writing a piece about it. Nearly all of them said yes - I was stoked! In my - so far, brief - exploration of the Auckland yarn market, I talked to the team at The Ribbon Rose (one of the most established independent needlecraft businesses in the region), to Lester at Prosper Yarns and to Alanna at Loopine. On my travels, I came across Frances Coulibaly, whose business Frances Yarns is brand new. We “zoomed” as you do these days and after my first chat I decided that I would release each of the interviews as a separate blog because they were so inspiring and because I couldn't bear to cut anything out.
Everyone I spoke to, regardless of their size or length of time in business, had experienced a transformation through growth and/or insight and they were all excited about the positive things to come out of a very challenging eighteen months.
In addition to my curiosity about the intersection of creativity and business, I really wanted to make this blog series something that would help Beginners get going. Every interview became a discussion about how you can start, from types of project, to tips and tricks to make beginning less painful. I have hyperlinked the shit out of each blog post so that you can run off down the rabbithole straight away if you want, in the direction of patterns, kits, and of course YouTube knitting hacks (that's how everyone learns everything these days, after all).
When I was finally able to, I took my camera and we met up for a quick (because they're all really busy) socially-distanced photoshoot. Being able to create my own written content and illustrate it with my own photos is a goal I set for myself a VERY long time ago. Twenty years, in fact, before I became an actress and an artist, back when everyone had a hotmail address and blogs were Myspace. The achievement feels really good.
This series marks the beginning of a long-term project that will explore the intersection of business with creativity and art, a zone I'm currently occupying myself. I place my practice on the internet, "show my work" and sell some of it here and via Instagram. In the course of every conversation with a someone in "small business", be they more commercial or more artistic, side hustle or main hustle, I come to understand more about myself as a working artist. I feel a sense of belonging to a community of people seeking growth through expression.
I hope you enjoy this series of conversations as much as we enjoyed having them. They will be released over the next few weeks, leading into summer.
And guys, even though it's no longer sweater weather this is actually a good time to start learning to knit. Come Autumn 2022, you'll be ready to make something decent for yourself or for someone very special.
This is just the beginning.
And beginning is a good way to be.