If you love fashion and knitting, you’ll love the new knitting book, Twinkle’s Big City Knits by fashion designer Wenlan Chia. Most of us are already enamored by the Twinkle by Wenlan fashion line that’s filled with modern knits that are chunky and feminine. The new book brings the same great style in cool patterns for us knitters and can be paired with Twinkle’s own line of handknit yarns. I love that most of the patterns use chunky yarns and big needles so they will be quick to knit up. The cardigan patterns call to me with the wide variety of capelets, boleros, shrugs, shawls, as well as long and short cardigans. I actually love all of the knit patterns in this book — from knit dresses, skirts, scarves, sweaters, hats, and more. Most of the patterns are knit in one piece on large circular needles as to avoid bulky seams. There’s also got a section on knitting tips and techniques from Wenlan herself. The book is like a hybrid fashion book + pattern book, and it’s fashion-emphasized design makes it like no other. You’ll want to put this book on your coffee table so you can just continue to browse the designs and drool over them! Get this book now and you’ll whip up some of the cutest spring knits to wear in no time!
(Pictured above L to R: Book cover, Striped Shopping Tunic, Mini Bolero, Karate Sweater, and Wenlan Chia.)
Fashion designer and CRAFT contributor Diana Eng got a chance to check out the recent Twinkle Fall 2007 fashion show last month in NY. Read her runway report “Wenlan Chia brings Boho Chic to Twinkle” here. – Link.
I got a chance to talk to Wenlan Chia after all the craziness of fashion week and her recent book launch. We talked more about her fashion background, the new book, and what lies ahead for Twinkle this coming year.
Nat: How did you get your start as a fashion designer?
Wenlan: I started as a fashion designer with a small collection of chunky knit sweaters. Wearing my creations out and about in New York City, I received many compliments and requests to buy the designs. Suddenly, I realized that I had the beginnings of a fashion collection and Twinkle by Wenlan was born!
Nat: Your new book Twinkle’s Big City Knits is filled with your beautifully designed knits featuring your own yarn collection. What was the inspiration behind writing this book?
Wenlan: As Twinkle by Wenlan continued to gain popularity, I was often asked about my patterns by fashion lovers and knitting enthusiasts. I asked myself: where could women who love to shop at Barneys and love to knit find chic patterns? My chunky knits come from a fashionable point of view and I wanted to offer them to women everywhere. Big City Knits reflects my point of view that knitting is a traditional craft that can be made more exciting when infused with fashion!
Nat: One of the tips in your books mentions knitting in the round. In fact, most of your patterns require this. Why is this a good technique?
Wenlan: This technique eliminates bulky seams which is common when knitting chunky sweaters. It also helps the knitter to envision the sweater in a three dimension perspective, more like the shape of the human body.
Nat: How do you prepare designing your knits for a season and plan the runway show?
Wenlan: When designing the Twinkle by Wenlan ready to wear collection, which includes chunky hand knit sweaters, I usually start by emulating an ideal look. I search for the right fabric, yarn, colors and accessories that fit this look. As I begin sketching and creating the collection, the hand knit sweaters begin to take shape. Once each look is finalized, I do detailed sketches of every garment and make patterns for the sample knitters in my studio. After numerous fittings, alterations and remakes, I have a final sample for each piece in the collection. These styled designs are what you see on the runway at my fashion show.
Nat: What was your concept behind your recent Fall 2007 show in NY?
Wenlan: For Fall 2007. I was very inspired by the fabrics and materials I discovered, such as the dry textured wool and liquid-like silk. Every season, I develop my own prints. Several of the fall 2007 prints were inspired by 1950’s abstract expressionism that worked perfectly with the fabrics I selected. I was delighted that my chunky knit sweaters in soft muted colors layered perfectly with these prints.
My concept was to treat the beautiful silk dresses like they everyday garments and not too precious or delicate. Twinkle girls will throw layers of chunky sweaters, jackets and accessories over the dresses so that they look spontaneous and adventurous.
Nat: You also have a home collection called Twinkle Living. What are some of your favorite pieces you’ve designed?
Wenlan: I love the rugs that were inspired from my prints in previous ready to wear collections. My prints are modern and tell a story, and when used in a rug they look like artwork. I also love the bedding from the Twinkle Living collection. It is romantic and modern at the same time. The bold and unexpectedly bright throw pillows and throws are also fun. They bring and exciting energy to the home.
Nat: What else can we expect to see from Twinkle this Spring and Summer?
Wenlan: For Spring and Summer, the Twinkle look will be relaxed, refined and playful – lots of drapery, and silk blended knits over sporty looks.