Today I am happy to welcome Theresa Gaffey to the blog. Theresa is one of the five author team which just self-published the new Wearwithall - Knits for Your Life. I learned about the book from my friend Gale Zucker who flew to Minnesota to photograph this new book. It is a lovely collection of very wearable knitted projects designed by a group of designers who love to knit and appreciate making easy projects with a twist. I thank Theresa for spending time with us today and for making a copy of Wearwithall available to one of my lucky readers. You can see a slide show of all the projects for Wearwithall here.
KN: Theresa - you and I have known each other a long time. I think I met you back in the 1980's when you were Editor of Handmade Magazine. Tell my readers a little about how you got your start in the yarn biz.
TG: I admit it, I just lucked out. In 1982, I'd just graduated from business school and couldn't get a job during an economic slump. I finally landed a job as a shipping clerk at a craft publishing company in Asheville, North Carolina. A few months later, I was one of the editors of Handmade magazine. That job combined my two loves: knitting and editing.
|Theresa knitting and having a cup of joe.|
TG: Doing a book has been in the back of my mind for a long time. I've written articles for Vogue Knitting, Threads, and Piecework. I've had designs in a number of books. I produce my own line of patterns. But I had never done a book from start to finish. Why not? I have a full-time job managing web content for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. In my spare time, I co-manage the Yarnery in St. Paul, Minnesota, and teach weaving, knitting, and crochet at the shop. I couldn't imagine where I'd find the time or energy to do a book by myself.
Then early in 2011, Shelly, Scott, Mary Lou, Sarah, and I started talking about doing a book together. We all work at the shop (The Yarnery) and each of us just happened to have publishing experience: Scott in book production, Sarah in graphic design, Shelly in finance, Mary Lou in publicity, and I in editing and pattern writing. It was the perfect storm of talent and energy. Most importantly, we all shared a vision of what the book should be. Gale Zucker has a Minnesota connection and came on board early on.
Everything just fell into place, though that's not to say that it wasn't a tremendous amount of work. I was recently filing away the final galleys that I'd proofed. One of my handwritten notes caught my eye: "It's 3 o'clock in the f---ing morning. I have to go to work at 7!"
|Theresa's gorgeous Fair Isle Mittens|
TG: The photo shoot with Gale, hands down. It was exhausting and intense and it was sleeting outside. But the energy and professionalism Gale brought to the project was amazing. We were crammed into Scott's beautiful (but small) apartment at times with three 4 year olds, a couple of toddlers, and a baby. But we laughed so much and had so much fun. And we could finally see our vision for the book coming together through Gale's camera lens. Thank you, Gale.
KN: Gale really is an amazing photographer and such a kind person. She is smart and funny and I can imagine the photo shoot was a lot of fun in a work kind of way. You are in good company considering she photographed Kay and Ann's books. What was the biggest challenge of all of you working together?
TG: I thought the biggest challenge was going to be communicating, being honest about our ideas. The five of us all have such very different personalities. But luckily(?) we are all pretty opinionated, so communicating our ideas was easier than I thought it would be. The hardest part was actually setting up the flow of the work. It's a little like a relay race; the hand-offs are critical. We got really good at making sure we all knew what the next step was and who would do it.
KN: You have been living in Minnesota now for a long time after a stint down south. How does living in Minnesota influence your choice of yarns and what projects you knit.
TG: I've always loved natural fibers--cotton, wool, and especially linen. But let's face it, you can die in Minnesota winters. Here, warm weather lasts about 3 months (okay, maybe 4) and warm woolies are a necessity most of the rest of the year. So of course, I find myself using more wool than I did when I lived in the South. That's why I loved knitting the baby blanket out of Rowan's Handknit cotton. The colors are fabulous and the yarn is a pleasure to work with and lasts forever. For the next book, I'm eyeing Shibui's linen.
|Theresa's classic ribbed socks|
TG: My favorite project is the stole I designed. It's my idea of the perfect knitting project: unusual colors juxtaposed with an easy stitch pattern and a beautiful yarn. The drape of Alpaca 2 I used in that stole is so luxurious. I also love to play with color. Classic Elite has a terrific color pallette, and I can't wait to play with your new yarn, Kristin. I loved working with it in its previous incarnation.
(Here is the shawl Theresa mentioned on the Wearwithall blog.)
My life is complicated in many ways right now; I like to balance that craziness with easy knitting. Maybe after my son graduates from high school and is off to college, I'll get back into the complicated lace and aran patterns I used to do...but maybe not. There is something zen-like about knitting plain stockinette stitch or a simple knit-purl pattern.
|Theresa's baby blanket made of triangles|
TG: Wow, great question. The Yarnery celebrates its 40th anniversary this fall; I've been there for 20 of those years. Over that time, I've seen sock knitting just explode, the scarf craze come and go, the shawlette turn into the next must-do project. Now there's a huge range of knitting projects on the web, from exquisite lace to simple hats.
Yet with all that out there, what our customers often ask for is something simple, something easy to knit. I hear them say, "I just need a simple baby sweater pattern. My niece is having her first baby." or "I just need a simple shawl pattern. My husband is in the hospital and I need to keep my hands occupied." That's the niche I love to fill. Simple patterns, things people will knit and wear for a long time.
|The baby blanket a little bigger!|
Here's the good news for one of you lucky readers.....
One of you will win a copy of Wearwithall. Here's all you need to do to enter. Answer Theresa's question below in the comments section. As always, please leave an easy way to get a hold of you - e-mail, Ravelry or Blogger ID. Thanks.
From Theresa: "When you are not knitting something to wear, what are you knitting?"
Contest ends Monday July 2nd, 2012. Good luck everyone!