Fashion knitwear designer Wenlan Chia at The Woolie Ewe in Plano.
Guest blogger Lydia Regalado is an arts educator and blogger who writes for Art&Seek about people who gather to make things.
Inspired by the ReadyMade lecture at the Dallas Museum of Art a couple of weeks ago, I decided to explore the use of materials in one craft, specifically needle arts: knitting and crochet. There are many shops and classes that support this kind of exploration in our community, and for this experiment I took advantage of two one-of-a-kind boutiques here in North Texas: The Woolie Ewe in Plano and Beading Dreams in Dallas.
First Stop: The Woolie Ewe
Family owned and operated in Plano since 1989, The Woolie Ewe is North Texas’ central supplier of yarn and supplies for the needle arts. A candy store for the yarn enthusiast, the selection of colors and textures is extensive and tough to wrap your head around. There are yarns from all over the world, wool, cotton, silk, tons of patterns and books. Walking into the store can be mind boggling, but the staff is there to help with “purls” of wisdom and patience for everyone no matter their level of experience. Additionally, The Woolie Ewe carries the yarns and patterns of international knitwear designers and suppliers such as Debbie Bliss, Sally Melville and Wenlan Chia to name a few. But, The Woolie Ewe is doing more than stocking these designer’s products, it is bringing these designers in for workshops and events for 2008 – 2009.
Recently, I went for the book signing of fashion and lifestyle designer Wenlan Chia’s new book of knitting patterns and designs, Town and Country. Rarely does one think of knitting as sexy, contemporary and fashion forward, but Wenlan has been changing the way one thinks about knitting with her line Twinkle by Wenlan by attaching whimsical, quirky and playful words to her knitwear and yarn since her debut in 2002.
Twinkle’s designs definitely have a young feel to them, and are simple to create. The designs utilize Twinkle’s own line of chunky handknit yarns, which is stocked by The Woolie Ewe. The chunkiness of the yarns and big needles needed for most projects means they are quick to finish and satisfying, even for a beginner like me. Many of these projects would make good gifts, as they are quick to create and one of a kind.
If you would like to make some of Twinkle’s designs for yourself or for someone else, consider signing up for one of their classes, or just stop by. Private and group classes are available in knitting, crochet, needlepoint and needlefelting. Visit The Woolie Ewe at 1301 Custer Road, located on the southwest corner of 15th Street and Custer Road in Plano in the Pitman Corners Shopping Center. Store hours are Monday through Friday 10 – 6, Saturday 10 – 4:30 and closed Sunday. For a current schedule of classes and workshops, or to shop on-line, visit www.woolieewe.com.
Next Up: Part 2 of DIY Making and Materials
Wire Crochet at Beading Dreams