I was checking Twitter early in the new year when one of the knitters I followed posted this picture.
What better way to start the new year than by finding out more about Mr January?
He (or the calendar and knitwear at least!) is the creation of Stitch Seekers, a new bi-annual, high fashion knit and crochet publication. Not only are they publishing the Men in Knitwear, a subscription calendar with patterns and well chosen models, they are about to launch their first pattern collection, Decadence and Decay.
Deborah tells me a bit more about it all!
Tell me about Stitch Seekers - how did it all begin and who is involved?
Stitch Seekers began with a five minute conversation, over coffee in our local cafe! Rhiannon and I decided to meet for a quick coffee one afternoon and went home with the beginnings of a business plan. We’d known each other online through Ravelry for a year or so but didn’t actually have the opportunity to meet until 12 months ago when my family moved to Christchurch. We have complementary skill sets and a very similar creative vision which is a huge advantage to our partnership. Often I’ll be thinking about something and go online to find Rhiannon has messaged me about the exact same thing. It’s happened so often that my husband has started referring to her as my ‘soul mate’! To us, creativity is an adventure and that’s what the Stitch Seekers name is about. It reminds us to seek our passion and embrace the journey.
The first collection is being published next month - what can we expect and what sets Stitch Seekers apart from other publishers?
Edition one is due for release at the end of February and we’re putting the final touches on it now. After months of hard work we’re very excited that we’ll be able to share it with everyone soon. The theme for edition one is Decadence and Decay and it is really a peek into our head space. It is very strongly themed and styled and I believe that’s what will set us apart from other publications. We are committed to creating the fantasy that you often see in high fashion publications and translating that into the bespoke craft marketplace.
You're getting a few different designers to contribute - what are the things that you look for in designers' work that screams "Stitch Seekers"?
We are looking for designers that really pay attention to our mood boards. We were very fortunate to have the backing of local New Zealand designers for edition one and overwhelmed by the flood of applications from all over the world in response to our submission call for edition two: Futurenauts vs. Retrobots. It took a marathon coffee drinking session to choose the final designs for the edition two collection. The primary thing we look for in a design is how the designer has interpreted our theme. That is always the number one priority. There were designs we loved in the edition two submissions, but they are not in the final collection as they didn’t convey the theme strongly enough. Also, attention to detail is important. Designs don’t have to be intricate or elaborate, but they must be attention grabbing. We have a mixture of concept pieces and wearable designs from both new and established designers. It’s very exciting.
You've mentioned that some local yarns will be included in your first collection - is it important for Stitch Seekers to support local yarnies and designers?
We’re very proud to be Kiwis (even though Rhiannon is an import from the UK!). New Zealand has a rich pool of talented yarnies and designers and we are proud to show off their skill to the world. The worldwide crafting community is filled with talented and creative people. Now, with the advances in technology, borders are being torn down and it’s possible for artists from a little country at the bottom of the world to be major players on the world stage. It’s a very exciting time to be in business and we look forward to collaborating with our fellow Kiwis and people everywhere who share our vision.
And your other project - Men in Knitwear - oh la la! Mr January popped up in my Twitter feed and I need to know more! How does this calendar collection work?
Creating the Men in Knitwear Calendar Club has been a huge amount of fun. It’s a totally tongue in cheek nod to the usual girlie pin-up calendars, except ours features hot guys modelling our knitwear designs. The theme for 2014 is ‘Heroes’ and all the designs are inspired by characters from film and tv. Every month we email a new pattern, calendar page and, of course, the photo, to our subscribers. There is an option on our website, www.stitchseekers.com to subscribe to either the digital version only or the digital and print copy which gives you all the fun of receiving the emails throughout the year and a printed copy of the calendar (dated for 2015) at the end of the year. The ‘identity’ of each new man is a closely guarded secret and it’s a lot of fun for our Men in Knitwear Ravelry group guessing who the next ‘Mr’ will be.
I am extremely excited to offer the very first giveaway on The Knitographer blog! Yay!
Like the look of Mr January?
How would you like to check out the whole year's worth?
Stitch Seekers is kindly offering a subscription to the digital edition of its awesome calendar.
Just leave a comment below telling me why you'd like to win with either your Ravatar or an email address for me to contact you.
The prize will be drawn on Monday 20 January - make sure you enter by 6pm NZT to be in to win!