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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The "+" of AZURE KNITS +

This is a bit of a life story/rant, so read it if you have time to kill. :P

Back in January 2009, I started my knit store "AZURE KNITS".
I thought knitting and crocheting was all the crafting I was ever going to do.

However...

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Well first off, I am a drawing kind of artist to begin with.  I've loved drawing for my entire life, as far back as my memory of being alive begins.  So, selling some of my art and portrait commission was a given.

Second, I work in animation industry.
I do Animation directing, character design, storyboard design, background design, compositing---being in NY I kind of do whatever part of the production when I am called for, but most of my work is to yes, draw each poses of a character animation and the inbetween motions.

It's quite obvious that I have no problem repeating the similar thing over and over and over and over and over to eventually finish with a piece of art at the end, whether it be animation, or knitted object.  I also like breaking down an existing object or motion, trying to figure out why the shape of a bag is how it is, how limbs move when people run--those kind of things that if you don't really care to think about, you really don't have to.

Third, I recently noticed that my hobby isn't just knitting or just drawing--it seems to be 'teaching myself stuff and trying to conquer it'.  I come off most of the time to most people as 'that quiet girl who just gets stuff done' but once you get to know me in person, I really don't like being defeated by techniques, once I decide I really want to be able to do it.

I think it started in 2007 when I realized I like cooking and am ok with it, but I suck at baking (which my sister is an expert at and to this day I cannot beat).  I took like a year to bring my skills to the point I can make a presentable pastry if needed at a birthday party.  Not super, but a little better than 'yea--I can bake'.
I was ok with that level for baking since I was interested in it and I love sweets but I didn't really care for mastering it.  Conquering it to a level was fine.

Knitting however was a bit different.
My grandma was the person who taught me reaaaall basics of knitting and crocheting when I was about 7, but it was only a day thing and I forgot about it for years.  When I was 17 I made my first scarf for my boyfriend and my sister gave me advice, and then another one next year since he wanted another one, and then forgot about it for years again until I started again when I was 26.  That's when it stuck with me.  Everything was online and books.  I tried whatever cast-on I found, made couple stuff, and tried doing something a bit different each time I grab a pattern.  Yes, I am one of those person who picks up a recipe and end up making something completely different each time.
Anyho that process of finding what's new and practicing to be able to do that was just so fun and satisfying for me, more so than finishing a project.

When I was doing my searches I kept on seeing articles on dying yarn, so I did it.
I also kept coming across spinning articles, so I was curious, then my in-laws got me a beautiful drop spindle and gave me an opportunity to start spinning.

8 months later I bought myself a spinning wheel, trying all the methods of drafting I can find (and pretty much going back to my most comfortable one)
And when you get into spinning, what articles do you start finding a lot? Yes--weaving.
I have been curious about rigid heddle loom for months, hesitating since I didn't really want to drop the money and since we have a tiny NY apartment.  I was also interested since just before my grandmother passed she tried to learn weaving, but she was just too old to start a new thing.  I really wanted to have her loom to master the technique she wanted to, but alas during the renovation of our home, it got lost.  But my parents decided to do a "use $X for whatever you really want" thing for my birthday last month, so what do I do? Hell with the tiny apartment, I'm getting a loom!...a foldable one...also the 16" one...I don't want to totally stray off from knitting as I collect more hobbies, so I'm staying away from trying to weave for garments. (This is where my husband grins and say 'you see Azure. Just you wait')

Just around the same time, I had a day off work and found a bunch of fabric I bought from a 100yen store in Japan and decided to make a zippered pouch.
That day I found out how little I knew about this 'sewing'--the most basic thing that you probably would have been frowned on just a decade ago if you were are a girl and did not know.
Just when my husband was chuckling "so when is the sewing machine coming?" (mind you, he is not saying these things sarcastically, he is very very sweet and genuinely entertained by how I react to crafts) I meet a friend, pretty well a friend of a friend at that point, who tells me "if you want a sewing machine, I have one I really don't need.  TAKE IT"
I was expecting a used, not-so-attractive old model or something since she was willing to give me for free but OOOH NO.  She hardly used it, and it was adorable.

I frequently drop by Purl SOHO which is a yarn/fabric store where my friend works (she was a friend of a friend but my friend introduced me to her when she found out about my yarncraze), and have been gazing at their fabric sections, The Frontier for me.  When I looked at the sewing tool sections, I found I was much familiar with them more than I thought I was.  My grandmother sewed a lot, and as a kid I remember very well of my sister and I wearing clothes that my grandmother made.  I remember poking the two sewing machines she had quite a bit, though I never knew how it worked.  Anyho that big triangle blue chalk, the big scissors, the seam ripper, the 'useless needles with cute flowers on one end', they looked all familiar.

Even though it turned out that even my dad knew better than me how to operate the sewing machine, I am getting quite comfortable with this gadget that I am going to start selling some small items in my store.
And eventually, I see a hand-spun hand-woven hand-sewn (and perhaps combination with hand-knitted) item coming up.  In a few years probably. haha

Making things is fun.
Really fun.
And being able to have things that you really love without spending a fortune for something you can make it for way less, why not?

So here it is.
Drawing, knitting, crocheting, weaving, sewing (including patchworks and quilts).
Plus the care of making the material, and knowing the material of the material.  All those stuff are included in the "+" of AZURE KNITS+.

Anyhow.  A bit of an anti-climax for a giant post/life story, but the bottom line is

I just really hope you all enjoy the store.  :)

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