Ever since I first laid eyes on Jerome Sevilla’s Gridjunky hats, sold in his Etsy shop and detailed on his blog, I’ve wanted to know more. He’s a knitter and graphic designer living in San Jose CA, and I’m so glad he agreed to answer these questions—
Do you knit, crochet, weave, spin, dye, sew … ?
I knit and I love it. I started knitting at the tail end of 2009, so that would put me in my fourth year of daily knitting. When I started, I really didn’t have much in the way of tools. I had some knitting needles and yarn tucked away. I don’t even know where they came from, but I dug them out one day and jumped right in.
That’s the great thing about The Internet Age, isn’t it? That we can look up a YouTube video on how to knit, and get thousands of relevant hits; it’s pretty empowering. After the initially torturous adjustment to the appropriate muscle motions of knitting, it just clicked. I’ve been knitting every morning ever since.
I also sew by hand and machine, and make necklaces out of beads and hemp.
Tell us about your tool preferences and peccadillos.
When I started knitting, I made this commitment to buy needles from the only LYS in my area, The Bobbin’s Nest in Santa Clara. They happened to carry a comprehensive selection of ChiaoGoo circulars. Whenever I could afford it, I’d ride my bike down there and buy a set. The store was forced to close, but by that time I had accumulated a modest range from US0 to US11. This set has served me quite well over the past three and a half years.
I’m a pretty meticulous guy, if you haven’t noticed. So I did my research before committing to an investment on needles. The question I kept coming back to in my observations was: Why would I use double pointed needles at all? And the only answer I could muster was: You can use them to knit cables, or point to things on Antiques Roadshow. And since I do neither of those things, I went with circulars.
So yeah, I use 40 inch circulars for everything, from knitting swatches flat, to bulky loop scarves in the round. There are a few sets of bamboo double points in there that never get used.
How do you store or organize your tools? Or do you?
ChiaoGoo circulars come in these tall, resealable bags. Part of why I chose the brand was because of this particular packaging characteristic, and I’d be pretty disappointed if they decided to change it. The card stock inside the bag has a unified design that indicates needle sizes towards the top, so flipping through them is quite intuitive. I keep them organized in a simple wooden box I picked up at Ikea.
I’m a big fan of tobacco tins. These ones I have are great for keeping notions and tools. Plus they just look cool. As a male knitter, it can be tough to find organization solutions that speak to a men’s aesthetic. I don’t have many, and I’m always looking out for them at flea markets. They’re just one of those things I’m drawn to, visually.
How do you store or organize your works-in-progress?
I’m very methodical. I don’t like not being in control. I’m ruthless when it comes to self-editing. So in terms of works-in-progress, I never have more than three projects. Most of the time I only have one. So keeping them (it?) organized is pretty easy. It just sits on the table. Work on it daily. Finish it. Start the next one. Dead Reckoning.
Most of my work involves combining multiple strands together, so in order to keep it tidy, I use bowls and boxes. If you’ve been following any of my posts, you may already be familiar with these objects. I always try to include them in my progress photos. They’re important little supporting actors to the primary subjects of each work in progress photo.
Are there any particularly prized possessions amongst your tools?
I have a gigantic pair of fabric shears that belonged to my mother, and before her, my grandmother. They’re battle-scarred and bad-ass and I love them.
Do you lend your tools?
No, never. Well, I loaned out a tapestry needle once. Guess what? I never got it back.
What is your favorite place to knit?
I call it my office, but it’s just another room in my house. Gridjunky happens in this room. When I get up in the morning, I’ll make a coffee, come up here, and bang out the morning knitting. When it’s time to break out the sewing machine, it happens here. Most of the product photography happens in this room because the light is good, and the walls are bare. They could use a fresh coat of white though, now that I think about it.
What effect do the seasons have on you?
I knit every day without fail. This past week has been hellishly hot, but hey. That’s why I knit in the mornings. It just means I have to get up earlier if I want to knit more during the hotter months. The ritual of it is important to me. I think the act of making something every day makes me a happier person.
Do you have a dark secret, guilty pleasure or odd quirk, where your fiber pursuits are concerned?
Despite the polished photography and design-oriented aesthetics of my personal brand, I’m not a person of means. I come from a poor family, and I sacrificed a lot to do what I do, and share that creative journey with the world.
I recycle yarn from sweaters because I can’t afford to pay what other knitters pay for yarn. I’m not “eco-chic,” I’m just a poor guy with a design education but no job. I had one once, and I hated it. Nowadays I don’t make a lot of money, but trading paycheck for passion has definitely made me happier.
What are you working on right now?
Since my work takes forever to complete, it’s sometimes a challenge to do personal work. Most of the time I’m focused on evolving the pattern compositions of my hats, and getting them listed in my shop. But Summer is when I ease up on shop production, and work on personal work.
Lately I’ve been working on some design sketches for a Fall shop line, and a scarf for myself that I’ve been chipping away at for the past few months. I post exclusive first looks to my Facebook Page so check it out if you ever want to see what ridiculous projects are on the Gridjunky horizon.
PREVIOUSLY in Our Tools, Ourselves: Leigh Wells
All photos © Jerome Sevilla/Gridjunky