posts / 🧶A new twist from Joji

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🧶A new twist from Joji

I hope you’re having a fabulous week and making some time just for you – to make, to watch Knit Stars videos, or simply to relax. 😌

This week I have a special treat for you. I caught up with Joji Locatelli. ❤️

She and I had been going back and forth, doing some secret planning on two new bags that will be offered in conjunction with our upcoming Knit Stars Season Premiere…

And I couldn’t resist asking her about one of her newer design innovations. That expanded into a whole email conversation about what’s she into and up to these days. Her responses were so insightful (and delightful) that I’ll be sharing them with you in two parts, one this week and one next week. So grab your cuppa, sit back, and enjoy your Sunday read! ☕️

“Tii Pullover” by Joji Locatelli

Shelley Q: Late last year you debuted a new design that stopped me dead in my Instagram scroll. “Ropes and Twines” used a technique I’d never seen before. What inspired it and what it was like to design and test?

Joji A: Ropes and twines was inspired by a previous design of mine, Tii Pullover. With Tii, I experimented for the first time using i-cord as a way to embellish cables and tie different parts of a garment together.

A few years ago I saw this sweater on Pinterest. It had these crazy complex cables like I had never seen before. I like to do the exercise of ‘figuring out’ how things were knitted. I would say that’s the most fun part of my creative process…

“Tii Pullover” by Joji Locatelli

But I couldn’t figure out the twists and turns for these cables, there were just too many strands. Unless… Unless more stitches were used in the form of an i-cord. I started experimenting with this and quickly became obsessed with the possibilities! Ropes and Twines is a pattern with no cables, actually, just eyelets and i-cords woven through.

“Ropes and Twines” by Joji Locatelli

“Evanescence” by Joji Locatelli

Shelley Q: You seem to have a recent love affair with long, ethereal cardigans. Do you find yourself personally wearing them a lot?

Joji A: I do, I do love a long cardigan! When I was young I learned the hard way that you can’t have both: the long cardigan and the silky, heavy, drapey yarn… unless you want a garment that grows with you and touches the floor after a few days’ worth of wearing it. So I’ve been using lightweight and airy yarn to get really long garments that don’t lose their shape. I am loving the results!

“Milton” by Joji Locatelli

Shelley Q: I love your latest design, “Amren” and I love that you often design 1-skein pieces. Why is that a priority for you?

Joji A: We all love a good one-skein shawl! Who doesn’t have dozens of single skeins in their stash? I definitely do, and I need ideas and patterns to use them up. I believe acquiring single skeins is something we all do: we might see a color in real life, or support a small dyer at a show without an idea in particular… Or perhaps that’s what our budget allows, whether it is to try a luxury yarn for the first time, or any yarn for that matter.

Designing patterns for one skein only allows me to give my customers ideas to use them, and it also balances my portfolio: You’ll see me design long cardigans that require six specific skeins of luxury yarn, but at the same time you’ll see me design a piece that can be worked with virtually any skein you have at home.

Amren” by Joji Locatelli

Shelley Q: What one handmade piece in your personal wardrobe do you wear most often, and why?

Joji A: The item I’ve probably worn the most is my HIPSTER SHAWL. I love the design, but I don’t think that’s why I wear it so much. After all, it’s always bunched around my neck… But it’s more about the color (a mustard-caramel) and the warmth of the yarn. They are just perfect for me and my personal style.

Hipster Shawl” by Joji Locatelli

Shelley Q: Some designers seem to stick with primarily one yarn partner, but your last 7 designs have featured yarns from 7 different dyers. Why do you think it’s important to vary the yarns in your designs?

Joji A: I first would like to say that on some occasions, my designs are planned as a collaboration with a yarn company. I talk to them in advance, we think of a date for the release, we talk about possible bases and colors, and then the pattern comes out. I don’t do this very often, perhaps twice a year. I much prefer to work from my own stash.

I have never partnered with one yarn company exclusively. I do have my favorites, like we all do, but I make a conscious decision not to work with their yarns too often and keep things varied. I think it is important to give my design work credibility and independence.

“Hipster Shawl” by Joji Locatelli

I am also very aware that whenever I use someone’s yarn, it gives them a boost in their sales, so I try to use that effect towards people who have been really kind to me, looking for the smaller companies to promote. I get nothing out of it other than the joy of knowing someone might be selling some of their own products because of something I did. It makes my work so much more relevant to me.

***

I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of this interview, dear reader! Watch for Part 2 coming next week.

xoxo,

 

 

Undisclosed location where we’ll be staying when filming in Shetland for the upcoming Knit Stars Masterclass Premiere. 😉

It’s almost time!!!

In just a week or so, the upcoming Stars of our 9th Masterclass Premiere, Knit Stars Permission to Shine, will announce that they are teaching this year.

Keep an eye on Instagram for our famous teasers, coming soon… 👀

And of course we’ll notify you in this newsletter.

To make sure you’re on the Insider List for upcoming Masterclass Premiere announcements, and to get on the Insider List for all the fun and reveals, click here.

And THANK YOU for continuing to support our biggest passion project! 🙏

“Meera” by Sasha Hyre

We’re kicking off a new feature in this week’s newsletter:
Project Watch! 👀

We know it can be hard to keep up with all the new projects being constantly released…so we’re here as your faithful curators, scanning the yarn-o-sphere for new projects we can’t wait to get onto our needles and hooks!

This week’s feature is “Meera” by Sasha Hyre @veronaknits –  a beautiful mesh top in a short-sleeved cropped version and a long-sleeved oversized version too. Nominated by our own Gaye Glasspie @ggmadeit, this design has just been released as part of a new book from Laine Publishing called “Island Vibes,” featuring nine supercool patterns for summer knits. You can learn more – at this Ravelry page.

Sasha writes, “Let this book be your guide as you knit your way through my vibrant and rhythmic world of summer knitwear, with Jamaica as your muse and the Caribbean as your backdrop.”

“Meera” by Sasha Hyre

By Melissa Clark, cooking.nytimes.com

Garlicky Chicken with Lemon-Anchovy Sauce

This is a new one on our weekly rotation here at the beach. Incredibly easy, fast and delicious! Don’t turn away at the sight of anchovies! They melt into the sauce and provide a delicious saltiness that’s a great balance for the lemon. My only caution is that the anchovies in oil spatter A LOT so have a lid or spatter cover at the ready, or you’ll be cleaning the kitchen for far too long when you could be yarning instead!

Ingredients:

  • 1¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (4 to 5 thighs)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 anchovy fillets (I just used one whole can, drained)
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers, patted dry
  • 1 large pinch chile flakes
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and let rest while you prepare the anchovy-garlic oil. Mince one of the garlic cloves and set it aside for later. In a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the 5 smashed whole garlic cloves, the anchovies, capers and chile. Let cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break
  2. Add the chicken thighs and cook until nicely browned on one side, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip the thighs, place the pan in the oven and cook another 5 to 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  3. When chicken is done, transfer thighs to a plate (be careful, as the pan handle will be hot). Place skillet back on the heat and add minced garlic and the juice of one lemon half. Cook for about 30 seconds, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Return chicken to the pan and cook it in the sauce for another 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Transfer everything to a serving platter. Squeeze the remaining lemon half over the chicken and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve.

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