handmade knitwear australia

anita chew, handmade knitwear australia, knit, handmade

Make My Beanie

Recently I’ve been running my very first competition, #MakeMyBeanie. To enter you had to colour in the supplied beanie template with the winner receiving his or her own beanie made. 

I had some great entries but from the start I was hoping to get one that would push the creative boundaries a bit, something that may be a bit of a challenge. And I always look at a kid’s artwork and see amazing textile potential, so for me choosing the winner was a pretty easy choice.

Normally I create adult size beanies but because of the design it seemed necessary to scale down a little. So firstly, a bit of math and some basic planning was required. 

Because in knitting we start at the bottom and work upwards the first real challenge was how to create that rib. I thought the easiest way to achieve a similar black and white mix was to simply knit one black yarn and one white yarn together to create a marl effect. Interesting as it knitted it created obvious horizontal lines which initially I wasn't so fond of but grew on me (probably because there was no easy fix). 

Once the full piece of knitting was done it was time to embroider the coloured design into the fabric. Using both swiss darning and backstitch techniques I did the design by eye rather than drawing it out first. While it means it's slightly disproportionate in places I hoped it would help recreate the free loose line work of the original. 


From there it was just a matter of finishing touches like the pom pom and tidying up all the loose ends. I have to confess I LOVED this project (enough that I'll probably run another one next year), and I am SUPER happy with the result. I hope it's new owner will be as well. 

anita chew, handmade knitwear australia

To Etsy or not

So this week I joined up to the Etsy Creative Courage Challenge. Which fingers crossed means that by the end of the challenge, in a month or so, I'll have my very own Etsy store. With products in it and everything. 

Initially I wasn't sure I'd use Etsy as a store front. I'd done a lot of reading in the lead up to launching my brand and I had read a few things that slightly put me off being a Etsy vendor. The research I found indicated that if you had the ability/resources to set up as your own online shopfront, then do it. It allows for a stronger brand identity.

The other thing I read that scared me a bit was people saying that for whatever reason Etsy had shut down their store. In that moment they realised that even though they thought they 'owned' their store, they really didn't. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there were circumstances that Etsy did what they thought was right in regards to a seller breaching contractual rights. But at the end of the day, Etsy has all the power. 

Recently though, I had been thinking about joining up. People were asking if they could find me there and with winter coming to an end here in Australia it makes sense to try and tap into a wider marketplace. Coincidently I saw that Etsy had just launched their Creative Courage Challenge so I signed up. I figure what's the worst thing that can happen, right? And to be honest they had me at ALTA PAPERCRAFT's awesome promo animation. 

AND THEN this morning  Pip Lincolne told me she thought I was a genius (see visual proof below)! So that's that, now I'm completely sold to this whole Etsy thing, add me to the list with the other 1.5 million sellers and let's see how we go. 

anita chew, knitwear, queensland, handmade knitwear australia, textile adventures

Textile Adventures: Alaska Part2

With musk ox yarn bought what’s next on the qiviut trail in Alaska? That would be this little gem in Anchorage.

The Oomingmak Musk Ox Producers’s Co-operative is a Native owned co-op with members made up of women living in various remote villages around Alaska. The members knit garments from musk ox yarn and sell their items through the co-op, with the income going back to the craftspeople.

Established in 1969 it has grown from 25 members to over 200. Interestingly, from what I have read, knitting isn’t a traditional craft of the First Nation people but by using their local yarn and incorporating traditional patterns in their designs they are creating a very unique new craft tradition.

While I was at the Oomingmak Co-op as well as picking up an Alaskan Handknit, I bought a copy of Arctic Lace by Donna Druchunas. It is a fantastic book, which includes lots of info on qivuit, the co-op, and has great lace knit patterns. So what have I made with my yarn?

So far I have knitted a traditional Smoke Ring or Nachaq Hood. Which is a short tubular scarf that can be worn a couple of different ways, either around the neck and/or over the head. It’s very lightweight, especially with the lace work, but also very warm. I wish you could reach into the screen so you could feel the yarn, because it really is amazing, instead you might have to head to ‘the last frontier’ yourself for the full adventure.

This Nachaq Hood pattern can be found as a hand knit in Arctic Lace by Donna Druchunas. I used the hand knit pattern in the book but converted it to be machine knitted.