BONUS: Here’s a cute handmade video she did for They Might be Giants.
Another great find in the Try Handmade Inbox…
Pragya K: Hello! I’m an Indian currently living in Atlanta, GA. My name Pragya is a Hindi word that means intellect :) My illustrations are often loosely based on my life, random incidents and far off dreams. I have a distinct style which is part modern, very colorful and meant to bring lots of cheer. Subjects & themes are always happy too – cute birds,loved pets, nature & more.
Washington DC is the nation’s capitol, the center of government, and headquarters for dozens of international organizations, but it many ways it is really just a small town. So small, in fact, that it only has one yarn store. That haven for local urban knitters is Stitch DC, owned and operated by Marie Connolly on Capitol Hill.
I remember my first visit to Stitch DC, not long after it had opened. I was strolling along 8th Street SE, what the guide books like to call “Barracks Row” (because the Marine Barracks are at the corner of 8th and I streets), while a friend of mine was browsing the bike shop down the street.
Back then, I wasn’t any more of a knitter or crocheter than I am now, but I was nevertheless enthralled with the store. Upon walking in, I was greeted by cheerful and enthusiastic staff and customers, and was immediately surrounded by beautiful fiber in bright colors and enticing textures. When I visited the store just last week, I was happy to find that none of that had changed. If anything, there were even more pretty things to look at. In addition to the lovely variety of yarns for knitting and crocheting, Stitch DC now also carries a small collection of colorful quilting cottons!
As I consider myself a much better sewer than knitter, this was excellent news for me. However, just because I’m not good at knitting doesn’t mean I don’t love to look at beautiful yarn, and pine after all the samples of pretty knitted things. Stitch DC offers a wide range of knitting and crocheting classes for all skill levels, and there are samples from the class projects all over the store. Samples that are so pretty you want to buy them right off the shelf! Since Marie started offering fabric in December in 2009, she’s started to offer sewing classes as well.
The birth of Stitch DC is a story about serendipity. Back in 2004, Marie was inspired to pick up knitting again in order to make her three-year-old daughter a sweater. Although Marie had learned to knit as a little girl, being pregnant and taking care of a newborn didn’t leave much time or energy for crafting. The hiatus ended when Marie saw some knitted baby sweaters at the mall that were cute, but not nearly cute enough for her daughter. Marie knew she could make one that was even better.
At the time, Marie and her husband were real estate brokers, but Marie was ready to try something different. One day, while she was was contemplating the renewal of her love affair with knitting, Marie received a panicky call from the owner of a property on Capitol Hill. Did Marie, by chance, know of anyone in search of retail space? Just in case she needed another sign from the universe to start a yarn store, it also turns out that 2004 was Marie’s seventh wedding anniversary. When a friend pointed out that the traditional gift for a seventh anniversary is wool, well, the deal was sealed.
Stitch DC has been operating on Capitol Hill since June of 2004, offering a wide assortment of yarns in natural fibers, as well as tools, books, patterns, and classes. Marie has a number of free patterns posted on the Stitch DC blog, and is also the author of her own book of knitting patterns for growing families, called The Expectant Knitter. She also writes patterns for various knitting publications, including Interweave Knits, and is working on two more pattern books.
Customers are always welcome to hang out and knit or crochet with the staff. Stitch DC is open seven days a week, and extra late on Wednesdays (731 8th Street, SE Washington, DC 20003).
I’m a total sucker for cute and kitschy accessories and Cute Creations certainly fits the bill. Kate, the woman behind Cute Creations, is a graphic designer from the south coast of England and creates acrylic jewelry and accessories that she sells online and through local craft fairs.
Kate has been into arts and crafts since school, where art was her favorite subject. She’s been creating since she was a child, making anything and everything from Christmas decorations to papyrus paper for a school project on the Egyptians! As an adult, Kate became fascinated with “cute” things and started by experimenting with charms made from clay and acrylic paints. These turned out so well that in February 2007, after some detailed research, she decided to sell online via Etsy.
Kate squeezes crafting into her life, quite literally! She is currently living with her boyfriend and her family and has only a small desk to work on. However, she doesn’t let this stop her and finds working in front of the TV or while listening to music relaxing. Kate also crafts part-time and fits it around her full-time job as a graphic designer. Like many designer-makers, at the moment it doesn’t make financial sense for her to craft full-time.
Like me, Kate’s least favorite part of the crafting process is getting the products ready to put up for sale online. I find it so difficult to get good photos and always, always need to do extensive Photoshopping! I’m trying to take comfort in Kate’s view that all the hard work is definitely worth it. Also like me, Kate loves getting customer feedback, especially with repeat business.
Kate’s inspiration for Cute Creations comes from Japanese characters, like those created by Sanrio and San-X. Already enjoying success in accessories, Kate is also planning on branching out into other areas such as plushies and homewares, eventually aiming to craft full-time. I don’t know about you but I’m brimming over with Christmas present ideas!
Upon one of my many trips to Craftland I discovered this cute as pie zippered pouch. I fell in love with the fun fabric (designed by the artist) and made a note to find out more about the artist and her work.
Allison Cole is an artist who lives and works in Providence. She is a graduate of our very own Rhode Island School of Design where she received a BFA in Printmaking. She is currently focusing on making work for gallery shows, her fun little Bang Bang You’re Thread shop and freelance illustration. Not too shabby!
After poking around her shop for a bit I realized that I own some buttons of Allison’s design. Well, not the bag of rocks collection but the veggie button set. I love that they are in sets of three and you can spread the love around on your coats, bags or hats. I think this jeweler needs to add these rock buttons to her collection.
Allison makes it easy for us to collect her work. Her designs litter so many functional items. I always keep a hefty stash of cards around so I have the perfect greeting on hand for any occasion. These are so cute and playful with great color combinations. The part of me that is dead set on learning french loves the Bonjour Elephant the best.
I know I compulsively collect blank books. You never know when you are going to need to sketch an idea or jot down a note. This is the perfect size to keep with you at all times. And I am smitten with the bright yellow frame and cute flowers the artist lovingly placed on the cover.
Soon enough this print will find a home on my walls. This print is just darling. It looks like a doodle, a thought from a lover, decorated with swirls and flowers. Playful and powerful, really a perfect piece for this married couple.