Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Happy Accidents Make Sweet New Designs!

There I was last week, knitting away on my Brother knitting machine, and I was livid. I mean I was in a really foul mood. My crush was doing my head in as per usual, I mean, does he like me or not, what gives? I thought all that vacillation ended in high school. Then I came into the studio only to find that somehow overnight my knitting machine had stopped working. Which, unfortunately is still the case, but luckily I have 6, so I just popped a new one on the table and kept working. I was DETERMINED not to let ANYTHING get in my way. I had come to knit all day and nothing was going to stop me. Except for running out of yarn. Oh yes. Even seasoned knitters like myself, inevitably have a project where the yarn we ordered just isn't enough. It happened to me so much in the past that I had gotten to the point where I was overestimating too much. At one point I returned over $500 bucks of yarn back to Webs. I preceded this return with a apologetic "heads up" email to their customer service department. Well, unfortunately the yarn I was using for this particular project that I was doing was a from a remnant order and I had no chance in hell of getting more of it. What was a girl to do? I decided to bind off and this was what I was left with:
a happy accident

This accident was so happy I decided to make another one in a tape yarn that I got at Silk City Fibers warehouse sale (see blog post below for more info on that). And now we've got a new style over here at Union Textiles: The Float Capelet. Both style are available to buy on Etsy, just click the pictures for the links.


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

I've got the money, You got the STUFF?

So. I have a problem. Anyone is knows me KNOWS I have an addiction. And even though Cara isn't around right now to confirm this about herself, I don't think that she'd be upset if I told you she's got a little problem too.

We have a LOT of yarn. We could probably start our own yarn shop. It'd be a place that sold remnants, like the remnant section at the fabric shop. Hmm. Maybe we should do that? Anyway. I thought if I'd tell you about my favorite dealers AND why I buy from them.
See what I mean. That's mostly my yarn. Cara's doesn't even fit in the studio.

So without further ado here is the list. And this is not exhaustive nor final. This list changes ALOT (see earlier blog post about my ADHD).

1. flock, nantucket island, massachusetts
why I love it:
- the owner Shelia, is freaking HILARIOUS. Worth going in just to talk to her alone.
- For such a small space, Shelia has a beautiful selection of yarns. My favorites? Check out the hand painted mohairs and the chunky thick/thin novelty yarns (see pic below).

an awesome novelty yarn at Flock
2. downtown yarns, nyc
this place is literally crammed from floor to ceiling with yarn. and in a place where good space is hard and expensive to come by, there's no surprise why. the staff here are really helpful and even went so far as to ship my favorite yarn to me in Nantucket, even though they don't have a mail order or e-commerce business. favorite yarns: best bet for recycled sari silks.

3. silk city fibers, paterson, new jersey
This place is a godsend. I thought I had died and gone to yarn heaven. Albeit a cold and large warehouse heaven, but I didn't care. The majority of these yarns are on cones for machine knitters and weavers, which is so hard to find (see my plea below). Anyway, I left Philadelphia at 4 am and took a taxi and a train to NYC, where I then walked to the Port Authority bus station. I then took 2 buses to get to New Jersey where the hold their monthly warehouse sale. This place is just that good. I nearly dropped $900 and obviously had to reign it in to a more reasonable amount. Like $600. And the owner gave me and my rolling duffle bag which I thankfully decided to bring, a ride all the way back into NYC. Clearly great customer service!

4. fabulous yarns, tivoli, ny
This place is on here because of their FABULOUS discounts. Sure, they may not have the flashest website, or the the most streamlined e-shop, but for a struggling knitwear designer like myself, I'm much more concerned with finding a good deal and awesome yarn. They over free shipping on orders over $100. The automatically DEDUCT 10% off EVERY ORDER. And then they offer a 5% off code, which when used with their volume discounts can save you 20-30% depending on how much you spend. 30% off? That's a better deal than I got as a retail employee off my own store merchandise!

5. a quarter stitch, the french quarter, new orleans, la
i just LOVE the shop. I think it may be near perfect. The staff is ridiculously nice and friendly. The yarn is all amazing, most of it is hard to find novelty, which I love blending with other everyday yarns to get awesome texture and combinations. I also love how it's set up. It's not organized within an inch of it's life. It has personality. The yarns sit in baskets all over the store, and it's lovely to rummage through them all. And it's in the french quarter in new orleans, need I say more?
through the window at A Quarter Stitch.
6. webs, northampton, ma
this may not be the biggest revelation on the list of my favorite yarn shops, but webs carries yarns on cones, which is oh-so-nice for us machine knitters. They also do good novelty yarns and have their own label, Vally Yarns which is sold at very reasonable prices. Webs also offers volume discounts on orders over $60, but no free shipping.

Those are some of my favorite places, but if you have any to share, please add them in the comments! I would love to know where I can get more yarn on cones!


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

"Not to be like Me Me Me Me Me, but really, Me."

One day, in my junior year of college, a group of us were talking in our dorm when all of a sudden a girl who had been dominating our conversation said the above.

I will repeat for emphasis:
"Not to be like me me me me me, but really ME."

For some reason this has stuck in my head ever since. In an effort to NOT be like this nameless girl, we here at Union Textiles don't just want to talk about ourselves on this blog! We want to share with you things that we find out in the world, on the internet, things that people say, anything at all that you might think is cool or interesting!

First up is an awesome online retail shop that I discovered last week called Fabricly. The people behind the site scour the internet looking for hottie (stylistically speaking, not phenotypically) unknown fashion designers. Once found they give them the support they need to get a wee collection off the ground which they then feature on their site. It'd probably be better if I let them do the talking:

" Fabricly is here to hand-pick talented emerging designers and incredible existing lines, provide them with everything they need to execute a collection from start to finish (sample-making, sourcing, production, etc.), and then feature them in a tightly-curated collection of entirely exclusive goods for you to pick and shop from. "

Pretty awesome correct? Yes, you say. My favorite piece which is unfortunately sold out, is this hot little number:

nate and carly skirt

$142!! $142!! A steal for something so awesome. 

So anyway. Not to be all like me me me me me, but really me: we've emailed Fabricly in the hopes that they'll like how we do what we do and invite us to hang out with them. But in the meantime drop by the site for some great and reasonably priced finds.


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Opening Party Pics!

As promised, pics from the opening party:

to see more, click here.

Door Prize Winners!

As promised, here are the winners of the door prizes from Studio Night...

The winner of the "Learn To Knit" course is... Claudia Butler!


The winner of the Travel Throw is... Kari Hess!

Keep a look out for your textile friends making deliveries this week! Congratulations! And stop in again soon!!!!


Learn to Machine Knit!!

So many people have been wanting to learn how to machine knit and have been asking me when I can do it, WHEN CAN I LEARN!! Now!! Now is the time!! There are two courses starting NEXT WEEK!! If these times do not suit, don't hesitate to contact me for private lessons (at the same cost). Bring a friend and get a 10% discount on the total course cost. Email to sign up or request more information.

Learn to Machine Knit!
Union Textiles Studio
2 Union St

Winner of the 2011 Emerging Designer competition at Charleston Fashion Week, former sweater designer for Free People and designer of isobel and cleo knitwear, Charlotte Hess, is offering machine knitting classes in a convenient downtown location!

Learn innovative striping techniques, jacquards and patterns, lace stiches, hand manipulated stiches and incorporate them in your own sweater designs! Pattern making skills are also included in the course.
Materials included.
Fee $295

Course Dates
Mondays & Wednesdays
July 18th August 24th
July 23rd-August 27th

Private instruction available, with flexible hours and locations.

Space is limited, sign up now!

Monday, 11 July 2011


First of all, what a great turn out at our Studio Night!!! Thank you to everyone who came and made it so wildly successful! Charlotte and I could not have been more pleased. And, we want to extend special thanks to our friends at The Green, and Lucky Dog Vodka, for their contributions to the evenings festivities. Thank you!!

So, on to the matter at hand...

The Giveaway!!!

The exact number of times I throw my shuttle to create one scarf is 960. So the winner of the Alpaca and Silk Scarf is (drumroll please)....
Jonathan Thayer! Congratulations, for your superior powers of deduction, and your guess of 980 being the closest!!!

We hope you all had as much fun as we did at our little gathering, and don't worry, the Door Prize winners will be named tomorrow!

Until then,
Cara and Charlotte

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Tonight, Toooooniiiight, won't be just any night.....

"...The day, the minutes seem like hours, the hours go so slowly, and still the sky is bright.
Oh moon grow briiight and make this endless day, endless night!!"

2 Union Street
6-9 pm

Door Prizes!
Workshops and Classes!
Refreshments Served!
See you here!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Is Weaving Aerobically Effective? Charlotte Reports.

SO we've been remiss in the blog posting this week. After the celebration of the birth of of nation we've been getting revved up for this weekend's open studio extravaganza! Natalie, our event planner and personal assistant extraordinaire, has flown in especially from Charleston, South Carolina to lend her expertise and non ADD frazzled mind. Natalie actually has ADD, but somehow manages to lead a normal life, full of deadlines, checklists, goals, etc, unlike Cara and myself. We NEED someone of Natalie's caliber. You would be AMAZED what the three of us have accomplished today with her help! But we'll save those treats for Saturday night.

In the meantime, check out this action video of Cara in the process of making some fantastic wares to sell at the Sustainable Nantucket Farmers Market. If you're on island, it's really a great place to go every Saturday morning to meet and support local craft artists and also gardeners. AND!!! GIVEAWAY ALERT!!!

If you can guess approximately how many times Cara throws her shuttle (that wooden object she tosses back and forth), while making one alpaca scarf, you'll win one!

Cara's alpaca scarf on Etsy!

The person with the closest guess wins.


YES. Weaving IS aerobically effective.



Sunday, 3 July 2011

Charlotte's Sweaters out at Free People!

As some of you may know, I used to work on the sweater design team at Free People. Well, I'm super excited because the sweaters I worked on are FINALLY coming out in stores. Many of you may not know that when you design at big fashion companies, you're usually designing a range of clothing to be sold in stores up to a year later. Some of these sweaters were designed in October of last year! Crazy huh?!

All these are available on at Free People website. But if you're on the island, come to the Union Textiles Studio and see what Cara and I have in store for you there! Don't forget the opening next Saturday from 6-9 upstairs at 2 Union Street, Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Friday, 1 July 2011

It's WHAT time? Are you serious?!

This is a phrase that Cara and I utter almost everyday. We get up here and work work work work, knit knit knit knit, and weave weave weave. Before we know it, it's almost the end of the afternoon! But we're so excited about all the awesome (if I do say so myself) stuff we've been making today alone. I just had to gush about it. Take a look!

Cara's placemats.
Charlotte's necklace paired with Cara's wrap.
Charlotte's shrug.
Can't wait to finish these pieces and show you the end results! Also, I heard a rumour that there was going to be a giveaway or something on here? Did you here that? Keep checking back guys!!