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One of our newest and most prolific members is Army of Knitters.
In case you haven't yet heard of AoK, here's a short introduction:
Army of Knitters, (also known as AoK), is a fashion-forward range of seasonal knitwear collections using the finest quality knitting yarns and interesting techniques by designer, Heather Dixon. To keep AoK's designs fresh and exciting, Heather follows future fashion trends closely but is also influenced by art, film, historical and cultural dress from around the world.
Born and bred in Nottingham, England, Heather taught herself to knit at an early age. She designed clothes and accessories for herself, friends and family before graduating with a BA(Hons) Degree in Knitwear Design from The Nottingham Trent University.
Heather worked in the UK and Italy before moving to New York City in 1999, where she designed for indie companies as well as major design houses whilst honing her craft. In 2010 Heather decided it was time to run away to the country where she could turn her hand-knitting obsession into her full-time career and give Army of Knitters all the energy it needed to become a roaring success.
Heather now lives in a converted barn in the Catskill mountains of New York with her actor/artist/chef fella and Lucky, the sweetest dog in the world. Don't forget to check out Heather's Army of Knitters blog.
Army of Knitters, (AoK), had a wonderfully successful first year in business and has plans to start producing finished, hand knit garments made to the highest quality. For those who can't or don't want to knit from the patterns themselves, garments will be available from select retail channels.
Designer and owner heather Dixon took some time out today to answer a few questions about her life in design:
Me: You caught the Knitting World's attention right when you came onto the scene, not only because your garments have a very fashion-forward look, but also because of your professional photo-shoots and styling. You've really raised the bar for today's home-based knitwear designers. How did all of this come about for you?
AoK: Thank you. I started designing wovens when I was tiny. My Mum is an excellent dress-maker so there were always plenty of scraps of fabric in our house as well as different coloured threads, buttons and trims. I made clothes for my toys then taught myself to knit at around age 5 or 6. I continued to design my own clothes and sweaters through my school years so it was only natural that I go on to university to study fashion. I learnt to knit on machines whilst specializing in knitwear and then made my way to New York City to design for a few different companies before starting my own business last year. Hand knitting is my true passion - I love that I can create not only the silhouette but the fabric for it too. Having a background in fashion means that I know exactly how I want my collections to look. I love to put the stories together with a different mood and styling for each season.
Me: I know of several designers who started out designing hand knits on their own websites or blogs and then decided to go to fashion school. I think it's really interesting that you've gone into designing hand-knits from fashion. What was it that spurred this decision? Do you still work in the fashion industry?
AoK: I do still design, on a freelance basis, for a couple of different companies but the bulk of my time is spent designing for Army of Knitters. I have wanted to run my own business since I was a little girl. I could never get the money together to do this until just recently. I worked hard and saved my earnings for a number of years. I needed to be able to support myself if it didn't work out but so far everything is running to plan.
Me: This is always a tricky question for me, because there are so may great designers out there, but who are your favorite hand-knitting designers and why?
This is very tricky for me too as I don't follow many knitting pattern designers. I'm more into high fashion. I do admire Stephanie Dosen of Tiny Owl Knits. Her designs are just so cute and whimsical, she's also very beautiful and photogenic which helps her designs look their best. Susan B. Anderson designs some beautiful toys and accessories that I would love to knit if I had the time. Kate Oates of Tot Toppers has some gorgeous children's accessories and again, wonderful photography. There are way too many great designers to mention but those who style there items well and present with good photography really catch my eye.
Me: I know that you publish your collections as e-books, any desire to publish in print? What's next for Army of Knitters?
AoK: Yes. I hope to publish an AoK "Greatest Hits", a collection of my best sellers so far, maybe next year?
To celebrate becoming a Craftsy member, Army of Knitters is generously giving away one PDF copy of the Pretty Baby collection of knitting patterns, new for summer 2011. (A $42 value!)
To win your FREE copy of the entire Pretty Baby collection from Army of Knitters, register to become a member of Craftsy and comment on today's post. We'll announce the winner next week.
Remember: To win today's giveaway, you must be a registered Craftsy member. It's easy and FREE to join!