Yarn Giveaway with Holla Knits!

Several months ago, I shipped some Clay and Rootbeer For Better or Worsted to designer Andrea Sanchez. Sending yarn to designers is always exciting - sometimes they let us in on the entire plan, sometimes they give us a basic outline, and sometimes the project they end up making is not at all the one they described in the beginning! In this case, I had a drawing, a swatch, and a description, and still the final project was more stunning than I had imagined.

This is just a sneak peek of the vest pattern that will be published in the Fall/Winter 2014 issue of Holla Knits!

This is just a sneak peek of the vest pattern that will be published in the Fall/Winter 2014 issue of Holla Knits!

Allyson Dykhuizen, the founder of Holla Knits, emailed us recently to let us know that Andrea's vest will be published in the online magazine's Fall/Winter 2014 collection. When I got the email, I realized that maybe not everyone is familiar with what Holla Knits is about so I asked Allyson to do a little virtual interview with me!

Allyson wearing Knight Service designed by Teresa Gregorio.

Allyson wearing Knight Service designed by Teresa Gregorio.

First, tell us a little bit about yourself and the inspiration for starting Holla Knits. 

My name is Allyson Dykhuizen and I'm a knitwear designer and knitting teacher out of Chicago. I publish my personal patterns and blog at The Sweatshop of Love, and have been for 7 years. 4 years ago I started Holla Knits, an online magazine focused on fashion forward challenging knitwear design.

There is a big divide in the knitting community between fashion forward knitters assumed to be young and beginner knitters, and more traditional knitters assumed to be older and advanced. I wanted to start a site with a focus on fashion forward, modern designs that are advanced, challenging patterns, because there really was a hole in the knitting pattern industry for me as a 30 year old woman wanting to look super cute but knit challenging pieces.  

Bombshell Shorts, designed by Katie Canavan.

Bombshell Shorts, designed by Katie Canavan.

What type of knitter/crocheter reads Holla Knits? Who should subscribe, and why? 

Holla Knits is for the knitter who is looking for a challenge. Holla Knits designs have unusual construction, challenging design elements, fun stitch details. If you're looking for cute garments to wear around town and enjoy the challenging process of knitting them, Holla Knits is for you! You should subscribe if you consistently love the designs coming out and are looking for a deal - HK subscribers get 4 pattern collections of 5-7 designs each for $36 a year, plus giveaway and content exclusives. Otherwise each design is $4-6 each.   

Just Beachy, designed by Emma Welford.

Just Beachy, designed by Emma Welford.

What do you look for when you are going through the submissions for each collection? 

This is a word I use a lot, but I'm always looking for fun. I want to look at your design submission and be super interested in the construction and detail and process of knitting it, and I want to think your FO is fun. Fun to wear and fun to make! 

No Glove(s), No Love, designed by Claire Sandow.

No Glove(s), No Love, designed by Claire Sandow.

One of the things I really like is that there are photos of each project in different sizes, colors, yarns, and on different models. How did you make the decision to do that? 

I think one of the reasons older knitters get most of the attention from the knitting community is because they are assumed to have more disposable income than the younger knitter. I know that you can be young or old and be knitting on a budget or have all the money in the world to buy yarn with, so I try to make each project in Holla Knits an affordable project (around $50 for a garment or around $20 for an accessory) and also show the project in a luxury handdyed yarn. There are so many amazing people creating beautiful yarn I couldn't ignore that part of our community. And I know sometimes I want to splurge on some nice yarn for the perfect project! So I show each piece in a luxury yarn and a more affordable yarn like Knit Picks or Lion Brand, that way the knitter can see what each piece will look like and decide for herself if she wants to upgrade or budget for that piece.

Henri, designed by Ann Leachman.

Henri, designed by Ann Leachman.

Showing each garment in two sizes is a no brainer - knitters come in a wide variety of sizes so I want to be able to show each sweater in two sizes to help a knitter decide if that sweater will look good on her no matter what her size is. 

Movie Night Blanket, designed by Jean Chung.

Movie Night Blanket, designed by Jean Chung.

What's next for Holla Knits? 

This Fall/Winter Collection featuring a BEAUTIFUL brioche vest in Anzula For Better or Worsted that you will all freak over is due out on the 8th! Then the last collection of 2014 is the Accessories Collection out at the beginning of November. Then I'm going to take a big deep breath before digging into 2015!

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So be sure to head over to Holla Knits and subscribe. The Fall/Winter blog hop will begin on September 8, and Allyson will be holding a subscriber-exclusive giveaway of our yarn on the HK blog on September 19!

Be sure to also check out Holla Knits on Facebook, Twitter, and check out their Ravelry page and group!

Road Trip!

Hello my yarnie loves!

You may have noticed that we have been on the road a lot lately. Since last October we decided to spend time each month in our yarn shops. This gives us an opportunity to get to know you better. Right now we are focusing on our shops in the continental United States.

Our model to do this is the three hour trunk show. We come to your yarn shop with all of our vintage suitcases filled to the brim with yarn, our knits and patterns from a bunch of the amazing designers we work with. We help you find the perfect color, help size you for your projects and even discuss the pros and cons of our yarns for specific projects. One of my favorite things is helping knitters and crocheters figure out how to size themselves and their patterns to make something they will love and enjoy wearing. 

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Traveling is a great joy of mine, and I have been very fortunate to find some pretty cool people to travel with. Lacie Vasquez traveled with me last month; we just got back from our tour of New York, Ohio, Connecticut, and New Jersey yarn shops. This was my first time in each of these shops and my first time in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. My Dad was stationed in West Virginia when I was a kid and I have been to Massachusetts and Rhode Island a couple of times, but the rest of the East Coast is pretty much a mystery to me.

There isn't much time to explore when we are on the road. If you have ever been on any kind of tour, you might know what I mean. But we have to eat, and we try to build a little bit of down time into our schedules. This last trip we were actually able to spend the majority of a day exploring New York. We stopped in a yarn shop that was new to me. Lacie suggested we go to Brooklyn General Store. I couldn't imagine why she wanted to go there, but it ended up being a super cute shop full of notions, fabric and of course, yarn. Then we hopped on the subway to SoHo. I had to go to Purl Soho

They were one of our very first shops and we have a great relationship. I know everyone in their California shop pretty well, but I had only ever met Joelle from their New York shop. We spend so much time emailing and talking on the phone, that I feel like I know everyone there. But I still felt like a shy school girl as I walked up and introduced myself. After a moment or two, we all fell into an easy rapport. They picked my brain about yarnie questions they had always wanted to ask, we asked about the best places to eat. And of course they recommended a great book store. I hated saying goodbye, but we only had so many hours to explore the city. By the end of the day, my pedometer said we walked 6 miles. 

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Each yarn store is so unique, I have been in dozens of yarn shops over the years and I can't say I have a favorite. Once I have been to a shop a couple times, it becomes like visiting a favorite relative. The first time or two in a new shop, it is like finding a long lost family member. You both want to be on your best behavior, but then you find you both speak the same secret language and fall into step as if you had always known each other. That is my favorite thing about knitters and crocheters, we come together for a common love and little else matters. 

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If you have been following us on social media, you might have noticed we drove to the East Coast, and flew home. The Beast, our truck, is currently parked at a friend's house. When we fly back to New Jersey, we will pick it up and continue our tour of the East Coast. Over the next few months we will be continuing south then westward. By December we will be in Texas and then it is just a hop and a skip back home. I hope we get to see you along the way!

Big Apple Bound!

These lovely ladies set off on Monday for a two-week long trip across the country! 

Sabrina & Lacie have the truck packed with yarn!

Sabrina & Lacie have the truck packed with yarn!

Hopefully you Coloradans follow us on Facebook, because Sabrina posted info about a surprise trunk show at My Sister Knits yesterday! Those lucky knitters were the first to get their hands on our extremely limited run of variegated yarn. 

If you're on the East Coast, it's no surprise, you'll be able to visit the trunk show at one of these great shops:

Saturday, 7/26 - Flaming Ice Cube, Boardman, OH - 3 to 6 p.m.

Tuesday, 7/29 - Knit New Haven, New Haven, CT - 3 to 6 p.m.

Wednesday, 7/30 - Yarn Barn, Woodbridge, CT - 3 to 6 p.m.

Friday, 8/1 - The Village Knitter, Babylon, NY - 5 to 8 p.m.

Saturday, 8/2 - The Knitting Place, Port Washington, NY - 12 to 3 p.m.

Sunday, 8/3 - Do Ewe Knit, Westfield, NJ - 1 to 4 p.m.

Monday, 8/4 - Annie & Co., New York, NY - 4 to 7 p.m.

Will we see you there? Come visit us on Facebook, Instagram, or Ravelry - we love to see what you're knitting/crocheting/spinning/weaving!