Making Things is blog where high style and DIY meet. It was created by Andrea Tung, a former fashion designer based in Canada who left the biz and turned her knitting hobby into a full-fledged yarn business, Fable Handknit. Tung also designs stylish knitting patterns based on Fable’s baby alpaca yarn. Ideas and inspiration come from the world of fashion and Tung likes the challenge of figuring out how she can deconstruct it and make it herself. I got a chance to talk to Andrea Tung to find out more about her new business, her creative inspiration, and her favorite Fable knitting patterns.
NZ: Please tell me more about your new yarn company, Fable Handknit. What motivated you to move from your background in fashion design to creating your own yarn company?
AT: Fable is all about luxury and DIY. To some that may sound like a strange combination, but I believe in using good materials for DIY projects.
After studying and working in fashion, I felt conflicted about whether or not it was where I wanted to be. I was just learning to really knit at the time, but I could feel the passion for it. Seeing others so passionate about knitting inspires me. Eventually I decided that fashion wasn’t for me and I would journey to figure out what I was going to do. When I let go of the struggle to work in fashion, the concept of Fable came to mind. I knew that with a background in fashion, I was up for the challenge. I wanted to create a yarn line that was fashion forward and design-driven. I was seeing hints of that in other lines, but I felt that there was room for more.
NZ: What kind of creative process happens in order to produce your end product?
AT: I’m constantly looking at fashion. It’s funny because I decided that I wasn’t going to work in fashion and yet I’m always looking for it. Picking colors is a huge part of my work. I look at fashion to figure out what the hot colors are going to be and interpret them for the line. The other part of my work is designing knitting projects. I research what people want, and choose what trends will work. I keep tearsheets of sweaters I find in magazines. And I’m always jotting down ideas in a notebook.
NZ: On your blog, you do a great job at looking at high-fashion and how we can all re-interpret the trends into our own DIY style. What kinds of stories or fashion trends inspire you in your work?
AT: I use my blog as a platform to inspire other DIY-ers. It’s like my own highly edited magazine where high style and DIY meet. Of course I’m always looking for knitwear in the designer collections. This coming Fall, we’re seeing a lot of knitwear, more so than in past collections. I think we’re moving into a comfort zone and knitwear conveys that perfectly. I love the ease of the sweater dresses we’re seeing. It’s so easy to wear and instantly stylish.
While I love following fashion, I make sure that every project is a classic piece people will really get wear out of. I’m also very moved by the Japanese crafting scene. I love the simplicity and styling in Japanese crafting books.
NZ: What would be your dream knit project?
AT: I’m always knitting and dreaming up new projects. But a truly dream project would be if I got to collaborate with a designer like Marc Jacobs or Zac Posen to design a project. I’ve dreamt of working alongside these people, may be someday?
NZ: What are some good tips you can give to knitters and crafters out there who want to move forward and create their own patterns? Are there any special tools you use?
AT: I often learn a lot by looking at finished products at the shops. If you’ve got a crafty frame of mind, you can always sort of figure out something by looking at it. Also using other patterns as a framework and taking off from that works. It’s just really finding a structure that will work with the vision of your design. Experimenting is key, you can’t be afraid to make mistakes, just go for it, you’ll learn more that way.
NZ: Please Pick 3 of your favorite free patterns on your site and tell me a little something about them.
AT: I love the Aspen Neck Cowl. I’ve wearing mine everyday, and I’ll keep wearing it until it’s too warm outside. I feel naked without it.
AT: The Classic Scarf is my definition of what a classic scarf should be. I wanted to design a scarf that works for both men and women, knitted in plain Stockinette stitch, but wouldn’t curl around the edges.
AT: The Gilmore Vest is actually named after the characters on Gilmore Girls. I think either of the characters Rory or Lorelai would wear it.