Cocoknits Meets Pioneer.
Posted by Huelo Dunn on April 22, 2013 2 Comments
Julie Weisenberger and Pioneer
Cocoknits’ Julie Weisenberger is a constant source of delight and inspiration here at Verb. Cocoknits patterns are perennially popular in the shop; versatile designs that showcase modern, natural-fiber yarns. Students of her Knit-A-Longs and Sweater Workshops love her energetic, hands-on teaching style. We love her inimitable creativity, and bold take on pattern design. When we made a list of designers to sample Pioneer, the first yarn from our California Wool Project, Julie was at the top. I sat down with her on Tuesday afternoon to get her take on Pioneer.
What can you tell us about knitting with Pioneer? Texture, loft, look. What feelings does it evoke for you?
The first thing that strikes me is, it doesn't feel over-processed. There are some great yarns out there, but as you’re knitting, you’re thinking, “What was this before?” You can’t tell. Knitting with a yarn like Pioneer, that’s so much closer to the source, it’s like eating something fresh from the garden. The loft, the texture, the natural colors, all tell the story. As you work with Pioneer, it’s as if the yarn itself remembers where it came from. It really brings together the best of both worlds. It’s rugged, it’s a farm yarn, but it’s also so gorgeous and so soft.
It’s also so striking because it’s reviving a tradition that’s been disappearing. Just as it brings together natural processing and luxurious feel, it’s bringing together the past-- the great shepherding and textile tradition that used to define the American West-- with the present, and we hope, the future of natural, local wool. That Pioneer is both gorgeous yarn, and a step in this direction is just amazing.
Working with the Pioneer, are there certain design elements it seems to “call out for” to you? Are you itching to try cables, for example, or lace, or just plain stockinette?
The question is which first! I can tell it has amazing stitch definition, for cables. It’s strong enough that I could go up a needle size or two, and get wonderful drape. Of course the texture and colors would show so beautifully just knit up in stockinette, or even garter stitch. So the answer is yes, all of the above.
People love your designs for lots of reasons. Many of them are modern, versatile, and unusually constructed. Are there any current Cocoknits designs you would love to see knit in Pioneer? If you were to suggest quick a 1-2 skein accessory, what might it look like?
As far as current Cocoknits patterns, I can think of a bunch. Pioneer would be a great Katarina, or an amazing Mishke. I’d love to make a Maude with Pioneer and give it extra big pockets (for carrying my knitting while I’m wearing it!). I think from my men’s patterns, I would love a Kurt out of Pioneer, maybe in the medium un-dyed brown. I’d love to see a two-tone Jakob, in a muted color paired with the natural black for the yoke. As for quick projects, Pioneer is perfect for my Simple Slouchy Hat, or my Loafers or Ballet Flats. And it would be adorable as a Mitten Scarf!
Let’s talk garments. What would your dream sweater in Pioneer look like?
There are so many ideas. The natural cream color wants to be an aran sweater, but because I’m Cocoknits, it will be just slightly askew. I’m picturing a traditional cabled sweater, but with a modern twist. I also want to do a cropped cardigan. Maybe it will be asymmetrical, maybe it’ll have some other quirks. I’m inspired already, just being introduced to the yarn, and I know Pioneer will keep me engaged for quite some time.
Thanks, Julie! We can’t wait to see the wonderful designs you’ll dream up for Pioneer. -HD