Studio Scout: Learning to Knit With Wool and the Gang
In an age in which DIY items tend to earn just as much attention as their designer originals, I sometimes wonder why people don't make more of their own clothing and accessories themselves. In addition to being cost-effective and giving you major bragging rights afterwards, crafting can be a fun way to spend time with friends and pick up some new skills.
So when Wool and the Gang, the knitting collective known for both their simple kits and ready-made knitwear, invited me to visit their Nolita studio for an afternoon, I eagerly agreed. Little did I know that after walking through the brand's new spring merchandise (which includes everything from adorable knit bralettes to tasseled capes), I'd be faced with a challenge: a knitting project of my very own.
Thanks to the excellent tutelage of Jade Harwood, WATG's Brit-born Textile Designer, I was able to pick up the needles and get knitting in no time. Click through the slideshow to see how it all went down, and be sure to check out Woolandthegang.com for more on the super-cool company.
"Everything we make is hand-knitted in Peru, and the yarn all comes from there too," Jade explained.
"We like to design really simple shapes that are both easy to wear and easy to make. Pretty much everything in our showroom has a corresponding knitting kit, but the demand for our finished pieces has been so high we always have to keep them in stock, too!"
"Wool and the Gang's now been around for three years, so our customers and our knitting team's grown with us. So after they've made basic snoods and hats, they're up for more of a challenge and want to try more complicated patterns."
"Here in New York, we start the design process by figuring out the stitch we want to use on a piece, and how we want it to drape. We decide on the textile, and sketch everything out. By the time we go to Peru to source the materials, we like to already have a basic design outline in mind."
"If you knit nonstop, you can probably make a piece of clothing in two days. If you're spacing out your knitting sessions a bit more, which is what most people prefer, I'd say it takes more like ten days."
"When you first get into knitting, it's the most addicting thing ever. And I think in today's technology-obsessed society, it's nice to take a break from it all and use a craft like this as a sort of escape."
"I think one of the most unique things about Wool and the Gang is our community. Knitting's always been a social thing, and the sharing and learning experience is something we try to provide through our Facebook and Tumblr. It's just another way to engage."
WATG's unbelievably soft marinière sweater is tailor-made for the outdoors.
Having never knit before, I relied on Jade to help me "cast on" and get my project started.
By George, I think I've got it!
Seasoned knitter Alison needed no help with the beginnings of her scarf.
No waving the white flag for Elana—look at what I made!