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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!