March 20, 2013 § Leave a comment
A Yen for Yarn: Q&A with the Glitter Knitter
With the ever-in natural-luxe mohair trend looming large, a talk and tea hosted last weekend by Mohair SA together with ‘Glitter Knitter’ Steven Berg in Port Elizabeth’s trendy Stanley Street, piqued our interest. Steven Berg and Be Sweet entrepreneur Nadine Curtis joined forces with Mohair SA for the event and were among the line-up of fascinating guest speakers.
Steven Berg is the owner and founder of the StevenBe and the Yarn Garage, two Fiber Studios based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Located in an historically rich building, previously an 1890s firehouse and 1940s dance hall, it’s easy to see how Steven Berg’s yarn-based centre became a vibrant creative hub. Keeping up with the constantly evolving industry and its inspiring atmosphere, StevenBe and the Yarn Garage function as a workshop as well as an exhibition space. Food, music and various forms of art can be enjoyed, exploring and supporting creative endeavours.
Inspired by The Glitter Knitter’s fresh approach to the yarn industry, we asked him a few questions.
What makes yarn so special?
Yarn in the U.S. is the gateway to relaxation and therapy. Many have found this hobby to become an escape, a refuge. Yarn, like any medium in art, like paint or metal, is the material which one becomes passionate with….the color, the texture, the feel of it running through your fingers. Yarn is the medium to express my art and fashion.
Why have you chosen to collaborate with MOHAIR SA?
They have chosen Nadine and I as we presented for Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago this past fall. We will be presenting again this spring in Seattle for the same event. Nadine started importing the Mohair from South Africa and I joined in on her passion. I began using it in conjunction with other fibers to execute my vision of fiber fusion; combining unrelated fibers in uncommon creations.
What inspired you most at Cape Town’s Design Indaba 2013?
I was inspired by several of the speakers as I value a variety of input from all aspects of design, not just my narrow fiber vision. Most of all the amazing South African vendors and artists. I am in awe of the way materials are re-used, re-fashioned, re-claimed and re-purposed. I want to return to the U.S. and share it with all my clients.
Do you have any DIY yarn-related tips?
My input on the DIY movement is that there are no mistakes…only variations. In Art and Craft there is no “wrong” – just original. Find the joy of creating and it will set you free of the box we are often forced to live in.
What is your ideal creative space?
I recently bought my ideal creative space. A turn of the century firehouse in the middle of urban Minneapolis. I am slowly renovating it into the over-the-top eclectic style that inspires me. Each floor is 3,000 square feet, enough room for all of my collections and projects as well as those of my friends and clients.
Any future projects that you’re planning that you’re excited about and could share with us?
We are planning to expand our home décor selections and opportunity. We find our fiber artists are not only into fashion for their body but for their home and lifestyle as well. The lower level will remain packed with our many yarn selections but the 2nd level will convert to the StevenBe loft for felting, weaving, spinning and beadwork. This spring we will be launching our outdoor Fiber Art Garden. A whimsical outdoor urban space that will allow the public to escape for a moment to the calm of my fiber world.
Get Elle Decoration Trends Issue No. 88, now on shelf, to read about the Top 16 trends of 2013 – including mohair.
March 18, 2013 § Leave a comment
We’re excited to start your week off right readers and show off two of our new patterns (one of them is free!).
We’re thrilled about Cleo Malone’s new design, the Chevron Bamboo Tunic, knit in 3 shades of our Be Sweet Bamboo. A surprisingly simple chevron knit, you can really make this tunic your own by choosing your 3 favorite colors (see all of our available colors here)! Download the pattern here.
As a reminder of how much we love you, we’re offering up yet another free pattern! Adele Cutten has designed Mary Gale’s Square Shawl, just for you! Knitting up swiftly in our Be Sweet Medium Brushed Mohair, this is the perfect knit for on-the-go knitting. Download the free pattern here.
March 15, 2013 § Leave a comment
We were contacted recently by Judith Heron, a poet and knitter of Be Sweet yarns. Judith wrote a poem for us after knitting up some of our Magic Ball and we are excited to share it with you! Our first Be Sweet-inspired poem!
A found poem from the label of yarn
Who names a yarn company Be Sweet,
tells the place where the Angora goats
descended from? Describes the lineage
from Tibet to Turkmenistan and on
to Turkey where the yarn was reserved
for royalty. Tells more. 1830, Turks sent
a group of does and castrated bucks
to South Africa. How one doe, pregnant,
gave birth to a male kid. How through
interbreeding with local stock
a hardier Angora goat flourished – still
produces over half the world’s mohair –
the miracle does not stop here.
In a rural region of South Africa the yarn
is hand spun and dyed by women who
no longer have to work hard labor
in pineapple fields. Overseas the yarn
is marketed to other women – who can
afford thirty dollars – who take home
into well-lit houses a Magic Ball, knit
a scarf to accessorize their wardrobe.
Then read, in comfort over tea, how
some money goes to the local school,
wonder who named it Forest Fruits, who
knotted together so carefully their yarn.
Thanks, Judith! We are so thrilled to have been immortalized through your poetry!
March 11, 2013 § Leave a comment
With Nadine and StevenBe still in South Africa on their magical mystery tour, we wanted to let you know about the talk they’ll be giving at VK Live in Seattle!
VK Live will run from April 5-7, 2013 at the Meydenbauer Convention Center and the Hyatt Regency Bellevue. Nadine and Steven will be giving a lecture on fiber fusion. See below for details…
Lecture: Fiber Fusion: Fresh From South Africa
Register for this lecture and dozens of other fantastic classes offered at this event here.
March 8, 2013 § Leave a comment
We were excited to hear about the Polar Pom-Pom Project! Deborah Hamon (local to the Be Sweet headquarters in CA) has started a Kickstarter campaign running the entire month of March to visit the Arctic. Please take a moment to watch her video here and visit her Facebook page here.
Be Sweet (BS): Tell us more about the Pom-Pom Project… How did it get started, what is the goal and what is it all about?
Deborah Hamon (DH): I am a painter and a photographer and for the past 10 years my artwork has focused on children. When I was selected to join The Arctic Circle Expedition this fall — an amazing program where I will travel to the remote Arctic with a select group of other artists, scientists and educators — I started thinking that maybe there was a way to connect kids directly with the Arctic and get them talking and thinking about climate change and what they can do to help the environment.
So while I was thinking about all sorts of ideas, my 8-year-old daughter was making pom-poms. She loves to make them and this small, white pom-pom she had made reminded me of a snowball, and that is where the initial idea for The Polar Pom-Pom Project began.
I plan to take hundreds, maybe thousands, of yarn pom-poms, made by children and myself, to the Arctic to create an artwork series that addresses climate change. I am working with 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classrooms and so far, have amassed 700 pom-poms using eco-friendly yarn donated by yarn companies including Be Sweet. I go into classrooms and talk about my project, have the kids tell me what they know about climate change, we discuss ways to help the environment and then we make pom-poms! It’s super fun for the kids and teachers report back that there is a sudden increase in pom-pom making at home! Every kid receives an official Polar Pom-Pom Project certificate which I encourage them to share and display, to inspire them to talk with their peers about the project, global warming and the Arctic.
BS: What is your favorite thing to knit (aside from pom-poms!)?
DH: I am actually not a knitter at all. In fact I didn’t know much about yarn when I first started this project. But after realizing that I would be using a lot of yarn, it became very important for me to consider the fibers I was using and make sure that they were eco-friendly. Now I know so much about yarn, and I use terms such as “yummy” and “gorgeous” to describe yarn –I am very much turning into a yarn geek! My daughter knows how to knit though – she may have to teach me once this project is over. For now, it’s all about pom-poms.
BS: What is your favorite Be Sweet yarn?
DH: Be Sweet Sensation Thick, natural yarn (handspun merino wool & natural silk) makes fabulous pom-poms – the kids love have fluffy it is! I am also loving the Brushed Mohair, although you have to use multiple threads at a time or it would take forever. I am using an Arctic color palette for this project, but for my next yarn project, whatever that may be, I am a pink girl, and I love all the Be Sweet pinks!
BS: Favorite sweet treat?
DH: I eat dark chocolate on a daily basis. My favorite right now is organic Fearless Chocolate – just a couple of squares a day is all you need. And if you offered me a small caramel covered with dark chocolate and a little sea salt, I’d be your best friend forever!