Sorry, poor neglected Blog Crush! Between the loss of Google Reader (which I’m still trying to adjust to), the increasingly glacial performance of my ancient iPad (whose only job anymore is to deliver me to blogs) and being sick for most of a month (and thus behind on everything), my blog reading has been patchy lately. Regardless, it’s been a long time since I fell into a new-to-me blog and didn’t want to come out, but it happened to me on Saturday with the blog of Rebekka Seale.
I stumbled across her on Instagram when Beth Kirby noted under a picture of herself that her hat had been knitted by @rebekkaseale. I knew the name was slightly familiar, and the beautiful yarn shots in her Instagram feed were definitely familiar, but I couldn’t think why. Then I opened up her blog, began reading, and realized I had seen an interview with her recently at One Sheepish Girl. The marigold-dyed yarn had prompted me to click through to her webshop, Camellia Fiber Company, and all I remember thinking when presented with those seductive yarn photos is “Close the tab, Karen. CLOSE THE TAB!” Which I guess explains why I didn’t get as far as her blog at the time.
Seale is an artist, illustrator and house portraitist, living in Nashville, whose blog has been a delectable journal of food and gardening and illustrations and portraits — one exquisite photo after another — and I’d have been happy to find it for all that. But over the summer she began dyeing yarn. And since then, and the launch of the webshop, yarn appears to have taken over her life — and may just be taking over her gorgeous blog.
ICYMI for this week, harking back to last week’s post about the simplicity of cable knitting, is Knit the Look: Jemma Baines’ big black cable beanie.
And one other quick note: You can now find the Fringe Supply Co. stitch markers at Knit Purl in Portland OR. Or, see the Stockists page to find a shop near you!
This may strike you as odd, since I’ve only used Blog Crush so far to highlight individuals and small businesses, but really if there’s any one blog I think makers (of every stripe) should be reading, it’s The Etsy Blog. I often tout it in my role as a web consultant as something for companies to study and emulate but, I’ve realized, I rarely mention it to friends looking for something great to read. The simple fact is: It’s one of the best publications on the web, in my view. When I say “the Etsy blog” (assuming you’re not already reading it) you probably imagine the standard company blog — new software feature announcements, etc. It’s a shame it doesn’t have its own identity, because it’s actually a robust magazine for creative types, with features ranging from recipes and craft tutorials to product roundups (bests of Etsy), profiles of makers both starting out and wildly successful, historical contextualizations of product types and trends, and the list goes on. If you’re interested in making and in makers (and/or in making your making into a business, on Etsy or otherwise), it’s a must read, plain and simple.
Photos from featured shop profiles: top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right
“I grew up in a household that had a spinning wheel whirling in the background while evening television was on. I realize now that this was not really the norm.” So writes self-professed environmental fiber artist Abigail Doan on her blog, which is part cumulative artist statement, part esoteric travelogue, part … I don’t even know yet. I stumbled across Doan on Instagram somehow (where she’s known as lostinfiber) and just now ventured from there to her blog, where I formed an instant Blog Crush. Doan divides time between NYC and Bulgaria, and what’s even more clear from looking at her blog than her Instagram stream is that she sees the world in textures. And if there’s one thing I love, it’s getting to see what the world looks like through someone else’s eyes.
I really like Kate Davies’ blog and will probably write a proper Blog Crush about it at some point, but right now I just want to tell you about this new series of posts she’s started doing, in case you aren’t already following along. Like a lot of people (especially recovering graphic designers), I’m a sucker for ephemera as a window into history, so I’m easy prey for this one. She doesn’t seem to have given it a formal name or created a tag for it (although all of her History-tagged content is worth a browse), but what she’s doing is dipping into her presumably amazing collection of vintage prints and postcards, and writing about them with characteristic insight and perspective. The first installment was Images of Knitting #1, followed by A Kiss from France. I can’t do justice to her manner of writing about these things, so you’ll just have to go read. Go go go.
I’ve uttered the name Bristol Ivy a few times on the blog, with regard to her pattern designs Eyen and Bayard (twice). And you may have run across her in the comments here and there. She’s a very talented designer. I also love her Auden sweater and her Metropolis Mitts, to name just two, and I’m completely in awe of her shawl designs. She has an artistically mathematical mind, which enables her to conceive of shawls like Winnowing, Lida and Thorn, and it’s also what’s got me going on about her today. I’ve gotten to know Bristol a little bit through Twitter, and find her endlessly entertaining, and I took special note one night when she tweeted that a friend had suggested she could be the Nate Silver of knitting. (“Guys, it was like a holy light shone down on me and choirs of angels sang when she said that.”) Sure enough, since that day she’s been stalking pattern stats on Ravelry, categorizing and tracking it all in presumably elaborate spreadsheets, and she has begun spitting out nerdtastic charts about the trends she’s spotting. She’s even come up with a characteristically Bristol name for her report: The State of the Stock(inette) Market. Which just makes me love her always charming blog, Where the Red-Winged Blackbird Flies, that much more.
(Shawl photos by Jared Flood and Carrie Bostick Hoge; chart by Bristol Ivy)
Being a person who makes her living primarily from creating or advising people on the creation of websites, and also a person who has always wanted to own a little shop, I have a lot of opinions about what small businesses should be doing with their blogs. Most independent shops don’t have a blog, of course, and not every store should. Sadly, those that do have one are generally not sure why they do, or what they should be doing with it. So the blogs either sit dormant for long stretches of time, or you witness the staff fumbling around for something to post. It breaks my little web-nerb heart. So the Fancy Tiger Crafts blog makes me doubly happy: I love it on a personal level and also applaud it on a professional level.
If you haven’t heard of it (yet), Fancy Tiger is a yarn and fabric store in Denver. I’ve never been there but, having followed their blog for a while, I’m tempted to plan a trip to see my Denver friends and relations, all so I can meet the Fancy Tiger crew and fondle their Heirloom yarn. The blog is a great and steady mix of perfectly logical stuff that makes you wonder why every yarn store isn’t doing the same — updates on new products and classes, staff picks, what they’re making, what their customers are making, and of course an original pattern here and there. (I really love the latest one, the Guillemet Hat.) All done professionally but naturally and conversationally, so that visiting the blog feels a lot like having popped into the store for a chat. Well done, Fancy ladies, well done.
I know I have mentioned and linked Margaret Oomen a lot around here over the past year, so it’s no surprise to anyone that I admire and am inspired by her. But I wanted to say that in a more direct and formal way by adding Resurrection Fern to the annals of Blog Crush. Oomen makes, crochets, dyes and embroiders incredibly lovely things, plain and simple — and not just her unparalleled covered stones, (for which she contributed a basic pattern to The Purl Bee). But I also love the blog for being so thoroughly genuine, and I have deep respect for how mindfully Oomen appears to live her life.
Also, her new kitten, Usher, is a dead ringer for my Slim.