Category Archives: Graphic Design

Nice Pins

Excerpts from a series of heated emails between friends:

Me: Here you go, crazy cat lady (shares links to some knitting patterns).
I knit some. So cute.

Angry Sandi: What the F?

Me: What? It’s just a cat scarf and some bobby pin cozies. I mean…

Angry Sandi: That is just stupid.  Even as crazy as I am I can see that ain’t right.  Bobby pin cozies?  GIVE ME A BREAK! 

Me:  You make me sick. Bobby pin cozies are adorable. You’ll see. 

Bobby Pin Sweater pattern by Pamela W. Allen  from Tangled 
Like tiny little fair isle sweaters. The color repeats of a striping
or self-patterning sock yarn are great for these. Any scraps really.

Shortly after our conversation, Angry Sandi came to visit and realized she was indeed mistaken. She made a beeline for Knitty City and whipped up a few for herself making Angry Sandi, very happy. Bobby Pin Cozies are adorable.
So there.

I made a set for my friend Michelle’s B-day this week. M is a non-knitter and bobby pin cozy enthusiast–which is great. I think we all know the emotional
roller coaster that is a poorly received hand knit. These are the perfect little gift. They are so easy to make but people really respond to them. You get a lot of
bang for your buck. Be warned though, they are really addicting to make.
Picking color combinations is a game of endless satisfaction–a little rush as you admire each finished pin.

I always want the recipient to feel that rush when they have been gifted a hand knit. It rarely happens that way. Let’s be real, it’s much easier for the average person (non-knitter) to tell how much you love them when you hand them a little blue box. Things bought  in a store generally have the benefit of some sort of name recognition and can trick the recipient into thinking the gift is unique–something they couldn’t walk in and buy themselves. A little sparkle of excitement and “aw, you shouldn’t have” tilt of the head before they even open it. All this is really just to say– in the presentation–a hand knit can sometimes look a little sad.

I felt like this with bobby pins for M. I threw them in box I found in my closet that was too big and they rattled around in there looking pathetic and lonely.  I knew if I stuffed it with tissue paper she’d be fishing around looking for the “real gift” and nobody wants that. Awwwwkwaaaard. No, there has to be a better way.

So, I busted out the box of book binding supplies, cut a scrap of cardboard and punched some holes with the awl to kind of package them like regular bobby pins. They looked so much more cheerful. But M is kind of a free spirit and as much as I like them on the white, I couldn’t stop. I wanted it to feel more like her. The obvious answer–collage!

We once had s’mores together at this summer camp themed bar in Brooklyn, Camp. This fun memory was stuck in my head and I went to town on the Urban Outfitters catalog. Feverishly ripping and glueing, before running out the door to meet for dinner. I ended up with “Michelle’s Custom Bobby Pin Sweater Card”. She loved it. Just a little extra effort made this little something feel extra special. “Awww, you shouldn’t have”.

Judging by the towering stack of sale postcards, catalogs and magazines piled on my table, it would appear that I love receiving junk in the mail. I don’t. But I do love to receive real mail. If only there were a way to…

Fun with junk mail from Yellow Owl Workshop.



Filed under design, Graphic Design, handmade, Knitting, made

Summer School

I feel so spoiled having time off this summer. Spoiled and anxious. I’m just beginning the job search and this downtime is a blessing and a pit of nervous energy. Staying productive is especially important at the moment. I don’t want to get sucked in. “Everyone” says that keeping to a schedule while you’re unemployed is essential and I totally agree. So, between making changes to my portfolio site (I’ll make it public shortly) and crafting cover letters, I’m taking full advantage of this summer moratorium to really think, practice and learn more about Craft. I’m approaching this as an extension to my education, a second string to my bow of graphic design. As Old Made Design is all about craft and design fitting together, it’s important to me to practice what I preach and not just prattle on and on about it. Yada, yada, yada…

There are a couple of new things on the agenda.

First, I have some knitting projects I’m working on for Old Made that require some embroidery. I’ve been winging it up till now. Suddenly I’ve become very inspired to learn more about it both in practice and in theory. (There’s an interesting article about embroidery in the Craft Reader  by Roszika Parker).

Learning stitches rather than working from a pattern is appealing to me. It seems like a place to be a bit experimental and expressive. Much more so at this point than knitting is for me which is pretty structured (it’s meant to be worn after all) and heavily pattern based. My plan is to approach this in sort of a light, breezy manner. Doesn’t a Summer Stitch School sound like something that could produce a pillowcase with embroidered edgeing blowing on a clothesline at my imaginary beach house? I hope so. I’m in.

From the Summer Stitch School tutorial–The Burden Stitch.
“The burden stitch is a very old stitch, used during the middle ages.  It was re-popularized by Elizabeth Burden, sister to the designer William Morris.”–
The Floss Box
This would be a great way to work out color combinations for colorwork knitting. A color block blanket out of Burden Stitch swatches would be gorgeous. Hmmm. Maybe I should do that.

Here’s another, the Wheat Ear Stitch. Aren’t these sweet? I’m so excited to have a few samplers and mix and match stitches on some mittens and hats!

Next, I am seriously determined to become a real knitter. That means being able to anticipate changes, make adjustments and design my own garments. I have a serious case of Fall-itis and have a handful of sweaters that are calling to me (most from Cecily Glowik MacDonald of Winged Knits. Love everything she does). Right now I am about halfway through the Long Collared Jacket from Knit One, Knit All Elizabeth Zimmermann book. It’s sort of a dream project and I have done my best to make a few adjustments to the pattern (as EZ would have wanted) to better suit it to my giant boobs me. I think it’s going ok, but really, I could use some help. I would generally sign up for a knitting class without much thought. Even if the class isn’t great, it’s still fun to be with other knitters and you always walk away with something. But I think a shaping class is a little different and I’m reluctant to spend the money without knowing if I’ll get anything out of it.

Craftsy  offers an online class, Knitlab–Fit Your Knits I think I’ll sign up for. It’s $29.95 (from $59 this week) which seems like a good deal and is taught by Stephanie Japel. I’ve always liked her patterns. Worth a try I think. I’ll let you know how it goes. Here’s the introductory video.

Tomorrow I am going to a picnic in Central Park. A little get together with participants of a knitting class I took last summer at The Cooper Union. It’ll be fun to catch up and see what everyone’s working on. Ah, summer.


Filed under design, Graphic Design, Knitting, made, NYC

The News That’s Fit To Print

I love the routine of  Sunday morning. Coffee, knitting, public radio. I love a Sunday morning that runs according to schedule and the ritual is not complete without a lazy flip through The New York Times. Nearly every Sunday I walk over to the bodega to get a copy. A decadent little treat I look forward to all week.  But, there are days when the ritual is preempted by the occasional brunch or inclement weather. It’s hot, muggy and pouring rain this morning. It’s gross, I have the air on and I’m pretty content pretending it’s Fall. I’m afraid that even the Sunday Style Section can’t coax the needles out of my hands long enough to run to the store. Besides, once I’m outside, the illusion will be ruined. Nope. I’m staying in for now. I’ll have to make do with an online read. Which is fine, but not the same. If it were, I probably wouldn’t be so drawn to this.

New York Times scented candle by Tobias Wong  via Co. Design “A sweet mix of cedar, pulp and other vaguely homey aromas…” 
Read about The Mysteries of Tobias Wong on The Times here.

Are papers really going away? I don’t know. I hope not. Let’s see what Ricky thinks. Ricky…

Ricky Gervais…Obvioiusly

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Filed under design, environmental, Graphic Design, Knitting, NYC

Happy WWKIP Day!

We’re in for a very crafty weekend! Lots going on here in beautiful NYC.  I”m headed out to Brooklyn to enjoy the break in the heat, amble around The Renegade Craft Fair (Hooray!) and of course, some public knitting. If you can’t make it to NYC in the next few hours, I’ll be posting pics from my adventures in craftland.

Everyone, keep an eye open for unexpected pops of color in cities all over. Something tells me there’s going to be a lot of this around town.

And to my fellow knitters, hope to see you all out… IN PUBLIC!

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Filed under design, environmental, Graphic Design, handmade, Knitting, made, NYC

Why I love Trade Gothic

It always seems harder to design for yourself, don’t you think? Since you know the “client” so well there is just so much you want to communicate. You want others to instantly see you as you see yourself (or at least how you want to be seen). I have been chipping away at this for years, looking for something that unifies my design sensibilities, classic with an approachable and witty charm that demonstrates an appreciation for the handmade (yep, I’m incredibly classic, approachable, witty and charming, so…).

Trade Gothic has been a go to  for me for a long time, and while I hate to generalize, it seems always to work. I see it, and it makes me feel secure. If my dad is reading this and sees that I am garnering security from a typeface, he will reference Temple Grandin–”you should probably build yourself a hug machine.” Ha!

I’ve been slapping a simple rectangle OLD MADE all over the place, to see it in practice and it just feels right.

To that end, there seems only one possible choice for OLD MADE–Trade Gothic.

“Trade Gothic does not display as much unifying family structure as other popular sans-serif font families, but this dissonance adds a bit of earthy naturalism to its appeal.”

A few examples of how I’ve worked with Trade Gothic.

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See how it can shift from elegant to utilitarian. Like people who look just as stylish à la mode as they do in jeans and t-shirts and always like themselves. Yep, OLD MADE is Trade Gothic.

Coming soon… OLD MADE silkscreened sew-in tags for my knits!


Filed under design, Graphic Design, handmade, made, NYC