I’m very excited to share the second episode of the Woolful podcast. Today we get to meet two amazing fiber enthusiasts, Jerome Sevilla of Grid Junky and Sarah Higgins of Sarah In Pursuit.
Sponsor: This episode is sponsored by Tolt Yarn and Wool, my favorite yarn shop. In 2013, Anna Dianich opened Tolt Yarn and Wool. a local yarn shop in Carnation Washington. Most recently she launched an online shop, full of yarns each with their own story and each handpicked by Anna. You couldn’t ask for more soul when it comes to a yarn shop. Visit toltyarnandwool.com
Fiber folk 1: Sarah is a designer, photographer, and blogger based on the Central Coast of California. You can find her at sarahinpursuit.com and on Instagram @sarah_inpursuit. It was a lot of fun to talk with Sarah about how her journey in fiber was born as a child through her Waldorf education and how it’s transpired over the years and evolved into a new adventure with Monarch Knitting.
Man on the street: For this week’s “Man on the Street” I asked a couple fiber enthusiasts to answer the following question, “What is your favorite vintage or thrifted, fiber related find and what made it so special?” We had some great replies from Melissa (@hey_lady_hey) and Barb (@stixandstring)
Fiber folk 2: When it comes to recycling I’m not sure I’ve met a more intriguing ambassador than our second guest, Jerome Sevilla. Several years back he began sourcing all of the yarn he knits and designs with from knitted garments he thrifts or finds, and he’s become quite passionate about sharing his experience. Jerome is a true master and craftsman, with a deep obligation to ensure the best possible work. You can find him at gridjunky.blogspot.com and on Instagram @gridjunky.
Giveaway: The winner of last week’s giveaway, is MissMardi. You’ve won two skeins of Canopy in Fingering! Congratulations!
Our giveaway this week is sponsored by Monarch Knitting, a local yarn shop based in Pacific Grove, California.
One of the favorite yarns of our first guest Sarah, is Woolfolk Far, so we’re giving away two skeins plus Knop, the Fisherman’s Rib Hat Pattern. To enter this giveaway, visit the giveaway post on Instagram @woolful and tag a friend in the comments. You can also enter by leaving a comment below.
Music by Jónsi.
Transcription of episode:
Ashley: Welcome to Woolful, a podcast for fiber folk. I’m very excited to share with you some incredible people I’ve had the opportunity to talk to in this community we love so much. From shearers and shepherds to knitters and shop owners, here’s where you get to listen to a little part of their fiber journey.
This episode is sponsored by Tolt Yarn and Wool. In 2013, Anna Dianich opened Tolt Yarn and Wool. a local yarn shop in Carnation Washington. Most recently she launched an online shop, full of yarns each with their own story and each handpicked by Anna. You couldn’t ask for more soul when it comes to a yarn shop. Visit toltyarnandwool.com
Today we get to meet two amazing fiber enthusiasts, Jerome Sevilla of Grid Junky and Sarah Higgins of Sarah In Pursuit.
Sarah is a designer, photographer, and blogger based on the Central Coast of California. You can find her at sarahinpursuit.com and on Instagram @sarah_inpursuit. Her passion for knitting and thrifting is something I can surely relate to, and I know many of you will too. And with that, here’s Sarah.
*Sarah’s interview transcription will be added shortly. Thanks for your patience!*
Ashley: For this week’s “Man on the Street” I asked a couple fiber enthusiasts to answer the following question, “What is your favorite vintage or thrifted, fiber related find and what made it so special?” Here’s what they had to say…
Melissa: Hey, this is Melissa Stajda. You can find me on Instagram as @hey_lady_hey and HeyLadyHey on Ravelry and Etsy. I wanted to share with you my favorite fiber related thrift find. About 10 years in North Carolina I rescued my favorite vintage embroidery piece. It’s about 2×3 on simple cotton and it’s a very simple picture of a mama deer and baby deer. It looks as if the person didn’t finish it completely maybe when they were working on it they weren’t very confident in their embroidery skills. Everyone who comes to my house kinda looks at it and wonders why do you have this and why do you love it so much. Pieces like that are usually my favorite. They may not be full of technical skills but you can really see the artist’s hand and tell where they kinda went off path a little and made it their own. Those pieces are really my favorite, whether they’re lumpy and bumpy handspun yarn, not so perfect embroidery or knitting that’s not so perfect. Any fiber related projects that aren’t perfect are usually my favorite.
Barbara: This is Barbara calling from Calabasas California and you can find me on Instagram @StixandString. So my favorite vintage thrifted fiber related find is I love textiles, so going through thrift shops and antique stores and finding spools of yarn or embroidery thread or lace, and also small hankies and things like that. Those are some of my favorite finds. I like to incorporate them into projects that I’m making, whether they be knitting projects or embroidery projects. A runner up would be buttons, I love vintage buttons and just those details that help add something special to a project and also tell a story, because all those pieces of history that you add are something to make it special. And that’s what I love the most.
Ashley: When it comes to recycling I’m not sure I’ve met a more intriguing ambassador than our next guest, Jerome Sevilla. Several years back he began sourcing all of the yarn he knits and designs with from knitted garments he thrifts or finds, and he’s become quite passionate about sharing his experience. You can find him at grid junky.blogspot.com and on Instagram @gridjunky. And with that, here’s Jerome.
Ashley: I am really, really fascinated, about your journey to becoming a knitter and how you’re interest in fiber and textile started well also about this whole recycling yarn and using it. So why don’t you tell me a little bit about your journey into the world of knitting and textiles and all that.
Jerome: Yeah, sure. Well, it was actually pretty accidental. If there’s anything that anybody has learned about me from knowing me it’s that I’m a very kind of spontaneous, unfettered kind of person and I just do whatever I want and that’s basically what happened with knitting is that I found the tools and the materials to do it and I just did it. I initially started with crochet, which is really easy to pick up and it was kind of like a gateway drug if you will into knitting and ever since I picked up knitting I had never gone back to crochet. I haven’t crocheted anything since I first started but that was my initial gateway into knitting and that just happened out of curiosity, the whole thing. I found the knitting needles in my mother’s stuff and that just happened to be around the house. This is the internet age so I pulled up YouTube and I looked up how to do it and it was just kind of all downhill from there really. It’s amazing how much you could learn from the internet these days and it was within a matter of maybe three months until I was consistently knitting every day and really committing to the craft. It took me about three or four months or something like that to really just get into it and really realize that I loved it. But that’s how that started. It was just a really, a really spontaneous kind of thing for me.
Ashley: So I’ve seen through your Instagram that you’re not only a knitter but you’re very into textiles and different stitch patterns—how do you spend your day in fiber?
Jerome: I usually just stick to a really tried and true kind of like schedule of what I do every day because it’s really important for me to do the creative thing, whatever it is, every day. Every single day you have to do it, you have to—it’s like those Kung Fu movies when they go through that little montage and they’re just like practicing and practicing, beating up the dummies and everything. It’s a really important part of it of craftsmanship in general that you do it every single day and just master the craft. And so I follow a strict schedule in which I get up in the morning, make the coffee, bang out the morning knitting and then boom, my knitting is done. I just need to get through some knitting in the morning and I’m okay. If that knitting stretches out into the afternoon, then great. Otherwise, I will always be knitting something and then if I feel like changing into the Sashiko project that I’m working on then I will. There’s no pressure on that because that’s a personal project and the knitting is something that I do for my Etsy shop. So that’s why the knitting really needs to happen, every single day because that shop production needs to happen. So I’ll start it in the morning and if I’m not in pain by the afternoon I’ll just keep going. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.
Ashley: Tell me a little bit more about this Sashiko work that you’re doing? How it started for you and what you’re working on right now.
Jerome: Initially I had looked up stuff on the internet where I was looking at what’s called Boro which is like a vintage fabric that was made like way back in the Meiji period and the Edo periods in which the poor people of Japan would mend and make do which was what we call it now which is to use patch work use reinforcement stitching on clothes to extend the life of them. And over the years, these sort of heritage textiles were passed down from generation to generation not necessarily out of some sense of heirloom qualities but just out of necessity that they were poor and I’ve really connected with that because my family was poor. We didn’t have anything for the longest time. I remember when I was young and we had to save a lot of things so I really made a connection with that. And when I read more about Boro in about how it was just essentially recycled fiber and recycled textiles then I instantly made a connection because recycling fibers and textiles is a major part of my work. So the more I got into it, the more I realized that I was more interested in the sewing and the construction as well as the deconstruction of recycling materials and there’s just this kind of drive that I have for it. It’s really kind of hard to explain without it kind of starting to sound like artist. Because like it starts getting artistic after a while because thinking of something physically, visually demonstrating my thought process is with the fiber and textiles. It’s kind of difficult to explain without me sounding like a crazy person.
Ashley: No, I love the crazy person.
Jerome: Yeah, well, you’ve got to be driven by something I guess. But yeah, I started getting into that just out of curiosity and again empowered by the internet and all of the information that we could just derive from it and just look at what I could do and just did it. And the linen pieces that you could see on my Instagram feed, they are actually my shorts and pants that I had been holding on to. They are 100% linen so they lasted since—I’ve had them since high school. I’m in my 40s now. It’s crazy because they’re at this point where the fibers are so well worn and over washed and super soft that they have this magnificent feel to them and drape so I really want to save it somehow so I decided to work on it in Boro Sashiko kind of fashion. But that’s where I am at that. And that’s really the only project that I have in Sashiko.
Ashley: It’s incredible. I’ve just been kind of looking at the photos that you post intermixed with all your knitting photos. I feel like it’s been popping up a lot more and more like in my Instagram feed. I love doing anything with my hands and particularly I’m fascinated by hand sewing and hand quilting and hand stitching. Because and I think you can probably resonate a lot with this but there’s makers and then there’s makers that are driven to be purists in their craft and I think any person that expresses their creativity no matter how they do it is amazing and incredible. But I’m really drawn to those at that don’t just grab fabric from the store and stitch something on their sewing machine but that actually take the time and passion and energy to invest and do something by hand. My great grandmother hand quilted quilts for many, many years. She’s since passed away but I remember when I was in my teenage years going to her house and she is just had so, so many hand quilted pieces and I keep telling myself, someday I’m going to do that. Someday I’m going to quilt and probably be the only one I ever make but I’m going to do it by hand because I don’t know, there is something about that pure, unadulterated, non-machined thing.
Jerome: Yeah. And it’s a great commitment too. I mean if you look at the longevity of some projects. I mean I’ve had knitting projects that have lasted in like nine months so really it’s just a question of are you committed to doing this thing, this hard thing that’s going to produce this magnificent piece at the very end, are you going to commit to that? And you’re right, not very many people do. I think if we were to take knitting as an example, if you look up knitting on the internet all we see is like worsted, bulky, chunky, worsted, worsted, chunky and the reason for that is because it’s easier. I mean more people are doing it because it’s easier. I mean the craftsmanship is there yeah sure but I mean if you were to take the time to do something at a higher gauge at a higher resolution, so to speak, it would be more beautiful and would demonstrate your craftsmanship better. It would represent knitting much better and that’s why I tend to do it more often is that not very many people are doing it for one thing but also because it’s a good thing to commit to. Because the end result will still represent your brand when it comes down to it. And I never been much for chunky. I don’t know, I like chunky but you know.
Ashley: Yeah, no I know what you’re saying. I was just having a conversation with a gal earlier this morning and we’re just talking about how it’s very interesting people’s journeys as knitters. Oftentimes the interest—the seed is planted as a child and then as you go through your life, maybe you’re not actively doing knitting or whatever craft it was that was introduced to you when you’re young but you developed this character traits as you get older like patience and being dedicated to something and commitment and follow through. And then as you get older and if you’re reintroduced to that or you decide to pick it up again, how it’s a very different approach and I think oftentimes when you really start knitting you are introduced to big needles, chunky yarn because it is a quick knit. It’s an easy thing and I myself did that and even from time to time like if I’m knitting a little baby hat I’ll do that but it’s much less about the time and now much more about the end fabric like what is the texture of that fabric and I’m very, very drawn woolen spun fiber. It just fascinates me, the different textures and I used to be so intimidated by knitting with fingering weight and now I’m like give me some more of that—I’ll take it, I’ll do it.
Jerome: Well, yeah and if you’ll notice like I don’t know if it’s the same for you but I’ve noticed that for me it’s just easier on my fingers. The stress on my muscles is less when I’m doing and like fingering and lace weights. I don’t get sore like when I work on fingering and lace weights. Whereas with worsteds and bulkies, you’re going through a lot of muscle motion because you’re manhandling these fibers or these yarns that are just really big and getting them up around the needles and finagling them around with the needles it’s a lot more stressful, I’ve noticed. So I have a tendency to just do it because it just doesn’t hurt—it doesn’t cause pain for me later. No. Is it the same for you?
Ashley: It’s funny that you say that because I’ve been pretty obsessed lately with this yarn, it’s Cormo and it’s like the softest yarn I’ve ever knit with and soft with still that dense wool characteristics. And I had bought all this worsted weight, I just finished this scarf, I knit the whole drive to Idaho and you’re right. As you’re talking right now, I’m like yeah. There’s a texture and something that I love about it but you’re definitely right about how you get more tired like you can feel it in your hands. I knit a sweater for myself out of all Brooklyn Tweed loft which is the fingering weight and you’re right. I remember I just knit and knit and knit and knit that and I didn’t even think about the fact that it was so thin or that it was taking me forever because it was I don’t know more lightweight I guess.
Jerome: Yeah. When you think about, if you were to have clock your stitches per hour I would imagine that your stitches per hour would have been higher because for one thing it’s a finer fabric but also because it’s less stress on your hands so you end up knitting more. So in a sense, it’s much more efficient to do like fingering weights in terms of the end product. I’m not trying to knock worsted or anything like that. I mean because it has its place. I did a sweater in worsted knit, I love it. It’s great. And my hats in worsted are some of my favorite hats, it’s just I think what I’m getting at is the doing of it. There’s something to be said to be doing hard things I guess is what it is and I’ve always been one to do hard things so with knitting that was definitely a thing for me. That also because, I was going to mention this before but we live in California so it’s not like we get super insane winters where we need worsted weights all the time. I mean like we had some really totally lame winters. I mean common, it didn’t even get that cold last year. It probably won’t get that cold this year so there’s the necessity of it just simply isn’t there for me to make chunky knits. Other than Montana, maybe yeah sure or like Idaho for that matter because it looked freaking cold in your picture. It looks freaking cold.
Ashley: It is so cold and it’s funny because I’m originally from Seattle. I moved to the bay area a year ago and we’ve gone home and visited a lot and I didn’t really think about—I mean I knew it was fall and I was excited for it but I didn’t really think about how cold it was going to be. And I had just finished knitting my husband this sweater and I was like, okay this will be the Idaho sweater and I got here yesterday and I stepped outside, oh my gosh I am so not prepared for this and I’m so glad that I’m a knitter because now I’m going to put all these things to use that I’ve been like stocking up.
Jerome: I just wanted to be more cold so I could knit more I guess and be more, I don’t know but at the same I’m so thankful to live in California just because I don’t have to knit those bulky things. It’s funny too because yesterday, this is the spontaneity thing that I had mentioned before but yesterday I bought a rigid heddle loom yesterday. I’ve been really wanting it and I have made a huge sale like last week or something like that and so I can finally afford a rigid heddle loom so I ordered one yesterday and I have been reading about it. And those hard things just like are kind of creeping because now I did the research and I bought what I needed to make fine fabrics on a rigid heddle which means you need to get a second heddle kit to attach to the loom and all of that stuff. But I researched it and everything so I’m kind of excited about that.
Ashley: I can’t wait to see. Weaving has been one of those things that I’ve been like, okay Ashley you don’t need any more things on your plate right now even though it looks really awesome. So I’ve kind of been like putting it off–
Jerome: Oh come on.
Ashley: –I know. I know and my friend, Annie, she’s a knitter designer and she lives up in Humboldt County and we’re just visiting her in a month ago and we’re in the guest house and I went upstairs and there was this huge loom
Jerome: Yeah, oh God, I’m so envious for floor looms. That’s what I really want is, well not the big gigantic ones. The one I’m looking at is called David by Louet and it’s kind of like this medium-sized smaller floor loom that looks really cool. It looks it could still fit through a doorway, which is what I like about it. So it looks like an arcade cabinet in a way in the size of it but little bit shorter but it’s so cool. If I had that, I would do so much stuff with it but it’s like a computer like the price points, like a computer. It’s like a brand new Mac. I need a brand new Mac. Maybe we’ll see how the rigid heddle goes and if there’s profit in that I will be able to afford it so we’ll see. And it’s funny because I have to start researching like those price points too for something like that in an Etsy shop. I haven’t even done market research for pricing for like a woolen scarf so I don’t really know. I just wanted to do it so I went for it.
Ashley: I love it. I definitely plan on getting into it at some point. I think, you know, we live in San Francisco and we live in a tiny little junior bedroom apartment with my one-year old and my wool has pretty much taken over majority of the house already. I was like okay, I started to get in to the natural dyeing which takes up more space and you know, I’m like okay I need to–
Jerome: Oh yeah, outside space.
Ashley: –Yes, I need an outside space. So in time and I’ll watch your journey and it will probably tempt me more and then what do you know, I will probably get into it too.
Jerome: Yeah, it’s not that big of a commitment. My bill came out to about 450, I believe everything what I needed which included because you need to get the stand otherwise it’s going to be hell in your back. So like that adds like 100 to 200 dollars depending on which loom that you get. That’s like a good 100-dollar chunk that gets like stapled on there. But 450 is not a bad entry.
Ashley: No, not at all.
Jerome: It sort of that interpretation in that movie Ratatouille that anyone can cook. It’s not necessarily that anybody can be great it’s just that greatness can come from anywhere, basically. For me like, I mean it’s was just a question of selling three things and I was there so I had to commit to doing good work and getting to a certain point to afford this kind of entry way into weaving which I wanted for a long time. I mean in terms of wanting it I think I scored pretty high, I really want it. It was just kind of getting completely retarded sitting here waiting for it to arrive in the mail. I just really want to do it. So yeah, I am just really excited about that.
Ashley: So do you plan on using your recycled fiber for your weaving?
Jerome: Yes, absolutely. I got a ton of cotton that I don’t know what the heck I’m going to do with. I really don’t know what to do with it. I could knit with it but I really don’t want to because that’s not the fabric that I want. I want woven cotton and knitted wool, if that makes any sense.
Jerome: I guess I’m a purist.
Ashley: Love it.
Jerome: Or even linen but I don’t have any linen yarn but I have a lot of cotton and I want to weave it. Definitely recycle
Ashley: That’s perfect segue into my next question which is I really want to hear about your process around recycling yarn and kind of, I’m imagining based on our previous conversation Sashiko that a lot of the motivation to use recycled yarn comes from the same place but I don’t know. Tell me a little bit about how you got into using recycled fiber and kind of what you process is around using it.
Jerome: I started knitting in 2009, at the very end of 2009 and at that time, we had down in the south bay we had only one LYS, I think we had two. One of them is Bobbin’s Nest in Santa Clara and the other one was Green Planet in Los Gatos. I visited these stores as a new knitter thinking I needed to buy yarn I guess right. So I go down to the yarn store and these price points were just ridiculous. They were just completely ridiculous. If I were like to knit a scarf it would cost me upwards to 78 bucks. I was like screw this. So once again I looked up on the internet what can I do and recycling yarn was one of them. And so I thought okay sure I’ll try this. So I looked it up took all my notes and then went out and try it and it was like a huge success. As a matter of fact the sale that I made just recently to buy my weaving loom was from one of the first sweaters that I recycled and at that time I wasn’t documenting my process or anything. I only took the picture of the yarn when it was finished and completely done. I didn’t take pictures of while I was unraveling and all that which I love to do now but it was funny because that was like one of the first sweaters that I ever recycled and it was my sister’s sweater dress from the GAP that she was getting rid of and I asked her if I can have it. It was totally easy the recycling process. It was so easy. And basically what it translated to was if you have the time to unravel an entire sweater, it will save you so much money. That sweater dress didn’t cost me anything but at that time, I was buying sweaters and knits from the flea market for a dollar a piece. A dollar for like a sweater’s worth of Alpaca or a sweater’s worth of silk which is the silk that I’m using with the linen and silk Sashiko project that I have on my Instagram as recycled from a Jane Barnes silk top and the silk is just amazing in terms of quality. It’s just crazy amazing. It’s a multi-strand structure but it’s so strong and it’s so light and the colors kind of through the roof consistent and it’s really professional looking and those kinds of little discoveries of quality were just hard to pass up. I have never bought yarn ever since I start recycling and I still have the yarn that I did buy just sitting in my stash. I never used it. So recycling has been an occupation. I love it. But I guess I have the time to do it.
Ashley: I’ve seen a few people that have played with it but your dedication to it has been outstanding. In everything that you do there’s a passion behind it and that drives a lot of what you do which I think is great. So how do you deconstruct a sweater?
Jerome: It depends. I think I’ve been getting a lot of wool and, how can I put this? Oh you know how like on the Discovery Channel and History Channel, they had these shows about people that just go out, they pick things, garbage or whatever and then will take it home and they’ll make something magnificent out of it that’s basically what I’m doing, it relies on your ability to pick. Are you good at picking? And you have to kind of develop this ability to find the gold that’s buried in the garbage so to speak so you need to know what to look for. And one of the things to look for is the seams in which the garment is composed of because the seams will determine whether it’s a viable piece to recycle or not and those seams are crochet, what is it called, chains; they’re crochet chains. So if you find the end of the crochet chain you just zip it off and boom the sleeve that came off and then you find the other seam that connects the front piece to the back piece and you zip that off and if you were to see it you’ll be like oh my God I totally recognize this because you’re a knitter or you’ve done crochet or whatever. I think as knitters and crocheters we have this advantage over saying like a weaver that had never knit or crocheted a chain before, you wouldn’t be able to recognize it. So as knitters, I think we have that advantage. But basically yeah, you just have to look for what makes it recyclable and what makes it not recyclable and just pass up the things that you can’t use. The garbage just look for the gold. Because when it comes down to it I mean like, have you seen some of my Tumblr posts in which I go sequence per sequence from the beginning when it’s a sweater into it’s completely washed into yarn? I’ll send you one.
Ashley: Yeah, send it to me. I haven’t.
Jerome: I have a black one and a white. And yeah, that process kind of takes me in total with drying time and everything but two days total from unwashed sweater to all the way to washed yarn, it takes about two days. So if it’s going to take you two days to do something, it better be this magnificent wool that’s in great condition because I’m not going to go through all that trouble for some sweater that’s just destroyed. You know what I’m saying? So again, it’s all about the pick. Are you a good picker? And that will determine your results and that comes with practice.
Ashley: Gosh I love that. I don’t have TV but my parents whenever we go and visit them that was one of their favorite shows, it was one of those picking shows and it’s fascinating to me. I’m a big thrifter and vintage store hunter, I always look for the thing that no one knows that they got. And so, yeah I can really relate to that, probably that feeling of satisfaction when you find it too.
Jerome: Yeah, totally. I mean there was like pieces that I found that I was just like embarrassing myself with how happy I was getting, standing there at the flea market cheering or whatever. I felt totally ridiculous but that’s how it is. When you find gold, it’s just like wohoo yeah!
Ashley: So whenever I’ve unwound, like frogged something, you know the plies sometimes with different types of yarn, the plying comes undone and it doesn’t hold its shape. Is that something that you find with the fiber that you recycle? Or do you usually try to work with single ply or?
Jerome: No, as a matter of fact, I kind of stay away from single ply. I don’t really like it. I mean I like single ply if it’s like brand new from, I don’t know, from a reputable maker of yarn but in terms of recycled single ply, it’s never in any good condition. It’s like always destroyed or felted or something like that. All the singles that I have ever found were not worth getting and I’ve never bought them. It’s kind of crazy but it’s a bulk of the yarn that I do get is of the multi-strand structure. So it will be like a two-ply that has three strands of it all held together. If that makes any sense. You know what I’m talking about right?
Jerome: I’ve grown accustom to working with it like that. I found some that actually they look like a single ply but it’s like a deception. It was like a two-ply that was held together with a couple of single plies and they just kind of spiral together to look like a single ply but they weren’t really a true single. And those held their shape and again in terms of I guess like a fiber quality it’s all in the pick, you need to be able to look at it and say is this going to hold together, is this damaged in some way, was this left in the sun, is it brittle; you know that kind of thing. That comes with experience. When I know that I’m going to go and look for sweaters I’ll bring like a tapestry blunt, a blunt needle, and I will pull up a stitch on the sweaters, like pull up random stitches in different areas to see if that fiber is destroyed or damaged or anything. I’ll pull up like an inch worth of yarn from a single stitch just to look at it and that helps me a lot to determine for one thing how many strands are being held together if it’s a single, it’s a better way to look at the yarn without to having to unravel the whole thing. So I guess that’s the checks, it’s a good tip.
Ashley: Yeah, That is a good tip.
Jerome: It fits inside my wallet so I carry it around. It’s still in there actually because I totally—yeah that’s in there. It’s all in the picks.
Ashley: That’s awesome. All the different hats and different garment pieces that you make in particular, gosh I love the cowl that you recently did or scarf that you designed, are those your own pattern designs that you’re creating?
Jerome: Yeah, I don’t knit at all from other people’s patterns. That’s like a thing for me. I’m not going to sell something that I didn’t design myself and I think one of the things like I talk about when I did my interview with Content Magazine was that this is all about design. It’s not really about knitting. I mean I have a passion for fiber and everything that’s an innate interest for me because I grew up in a family, my mom was a seamstress and her mom was a seamstress, my sister doesn’t even care so like it kind of just came to me but when it comes to knitting it’s really about design. It’s an opportunity to explore what I want to think about because knitting in it of itself and weaving in the same way too is a grid—it’s a grid of stitches and within that grid anything can happen. You can create whatever you want. And the same goes for graphic design which is something that I was trained in and it as a huge impact on my work, the design process that I learned as a graphic designer and I apply that to my knitting patterns in the same way that I apply it semi layouts and in design for example or my illustrations and illustrator. It’s about creating something within a grid structure in a format. And the designs that I come up with are really kind of spontaneous. It’s sort of like—have you done any programming? —I’m not saying that I’m like a genius or anything when it comes to coding because I’m not but the principles are the same. You create these foundations, framework in which things are supposed to happen and then you allow the program to run and all those things happen. So in that sense my work is very spontaneous and I’ve set the foundations of what should be happening and allow the knitting to make it to happen. Does that make sense? It’s like a program.
Ashley: Makes total sense.
Jerome: So in some of my working progress photos, you’ll see that there’s little markers and you can see that there’s markers on my knitting needles and I work with circulars and you’ll see this little markers. Each of those markers is a line of code. It defines that something needs to happen at that point, right. That’s the most basic sense, that’s what markers do. They mark where something is supposed to happen. The only difference is that my markers move. That’s what makes my hats look the way they do is that those markers all of them move. That’s why there’s diagonals, things like that. So when I program those in my notes, those markers represent what markers typically do but the only difference is that they move, really.
Ashley: That’s a great metaphor.
Jerome: Yeah, do you know what I’m talking about? Sometimes, I kind of sound like a crazy person.
Ashley: The way you just described that at least for me, maybe it’s because I work in a tech industry with a bunch of engineers. I’ve never thought about that way.
Jerome: One or zero, binary.
Ashley: Creativity, it’s organized chaos. Creating something that’s unique but at the same time that there is some kind of order to it. I am curious to hear more about this Content Magazine piece and how that kind of came about what maybe excited you about it.
Jerome: Well, the Content Magazine is a local thing here in San Jose and over the course of I don’t know what three years or something like that I had met all sorts of people that have worked with Content Magazine who has worked with their creative directors and their graphic designers and I myself did a few layouts for Content Magazine in the past. Daniel Garcia who is the editor-in- chief of the magazine—if you’re looking at the cover that cover image we got together and shot that at Daniel’s place and Daniel is in my Instagram feed he’s like in there and he’s got like a plaid shirt and he’s looking at his white balance monitor I think, me and the cultivator working on super-secret stuff that you can’t see yet and this was it. This was that cover was what we were working on that day. But yeah that piece, that particular piece is like 100% silk was recycled from a sweater dress, Alfani sweater dress. And the quality of the silk was just so amazing. It was just so beautiful and it wasn’t like that crappy silk that stinks. It was like a really high quality silk that had no smell at all. It wasn’t damaged or anything. It cost me a dollar and if I were to sell it I would probably ask about a thousand, something like that. Because that is the piece that took me nine months; knitting that thing but it’s amazing. If I were offered for the piece I probably wouldn’t sell it.
Ashley: So I’m just looking at the cover and can you describe to me what kind of piece it is. Is it like a wrap of some sort?
Jerome: Yeah, it’s a triangular scarf that measures, gosh what is it? I think it’s nine feet or something on the hypotenuse, with a central spine of, a three-stitch central spine with a reversal ribbing that’s like kind of, it’s very spontaneous. Each of those ribs that go along that radiate from the spine, they’re kind of at desperate lengths. It has a very organic look to it. There is other picture that’s inside the issue itself that shows the central spine and you can sort of see that. That particular design was kind of an evolution of a previous design that I did. The one that’s on the cover of the magazine, it’s called render and the name comes from Photoshop when you do render clouds in Photoshop for example. That’s where that comes from and it’s an old design called duality.
Ashley: Your thought process and motivation and passion behind what you do, it’s simple in nature but it’s profound in execution and I think that it’s really amazing and I’m really excited that we had a chance to talk today about it.
Jerome: Thank you. Thank you so much.
Ashley: Our giveaway this week is sponsored by Monarch Knitting, an adorable local yarn shop based in Pacific Grove, California. One of the favorite yarns of our first guest Sarah, is Woolfolk Far, so we’re giving away two skeins and the Fisherman’s Rib hat pattern. To enter this giveaway, visit the giveaway post on Instagram @woolful and tag a friend in the comments. You can also enter by leaving a comment on today’s episode’s blog post at woolful.com
Ashley: I wanted to make sure and thank today’s sponsor again, Tolt Yarn and Wool. With only a few weeks left before Christmas, I couldn’t think of a better place to treat yourself or others to for some favorite fiber finds. Share and visit toltyarnandwool.com
Ashley: The biggest of thanks to everyone involved in this weeks episode, Anna, Sarah, Jerome, Ann, Melissa and Barb. I hope you’ll join me each week as we talk and learn from more fascinating fiber folk. For podcast notes and transcription, visit woolful.com. If you’re interested in being a part of this podcast, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org Have a wonderful week 🙂