Jess is the newest member of the UpCraft Club team. She owned a fantastic modern fabric and yarn shop and we are thrilled to have her now working with UpCraft Club full time. Jess works behind the scenes with shops to get the Digital Pattern Cards to them and even starred in a video about how our process works. You can see her in the shop video here. Please give Jess a warm welcome and learn more about her.
Tell us about your path to UpCraft Club?
I’ve learned not to be afraid of making big changes and to take the opportunities that are in front of you even & especially when they are a little scary. That’s how I ended up living in Germany for 2 years after college, taking a seemingly random sales position to sell carpeting in Des Moines, Iowa, one of the greatest cities for young professionals. It was here that I opened a lovely fabric and yarn shop for modern crafters. I met Elizabeth (the founder of UpCraft Club) through the shop and got to be one of the first stores to sell digital sewing patterns through UpCraft Club. After I decided to make another change and close my shop, Elizabeth invited me to come work with her. I guess you could say the rest is history.
What kinds of crafting do you do and how did you learn it?
I knit, sew, quilt and embroider. Like a lot knitters, I learned the skill a number of times before it stuck. However, my sister is the one who finally got me going. Every Christmas and birthday she would knit me something absolutely amazing. Over the years, I put in several requests for another pair of hand warmers usually because I had lost one. Eventually she cut me off the supply chain and convinced me it was finally time for me to learn. For an even longer time, I was petrified of the sewing machine, but I had this immense desire to make a quilt. It wasn’t until after we opened our shop that my dear friend and business partner, Tami sat me down and taught me how. That quilt is still my favorite thing I’ve ever made. The last couple of years has been a journey of learning to make garments (sewn & knit).
What are your can’t-live-without crafting essentials?
Owning a shop allowed me to be pretty spoiled. Working with nice materials and tools is such a luxury and I really do let each of these items make me smile every time I use them.
For sewing, my most treasured tools are my Gingher scissors (especially the 5”), my Grabbit, this zipper pouch I use to store my notions (Tigers were my absolute favorite animal as a kid), and this little needle book, which was made by my sweet friend, Riane.
For knitting, I am currently totally obsessed with my Field Bag from Fringe Supply Co. It goes everywhere with me and makes me feel like the most special knitter on the planet. How does a simple project bag do this? Many thanks to my beloved sister who gave it to me. I also love my beautiful locally made yarn bowl (Thanks Amanda!), my Knit Check from Kelbourne Woolens, and my Addi needles.
What are some of your crafting goals?
I think I enjoy the anticipation of a project and the actual process of making more than the reward of the finished thing. I love how making something literally slows me down. I've realized recently, there is not enough time to make everything that inspires me particularly because I like to give my projects time. So I'm not so much setting goals for myself, as I am identifying the the items I'd really love to have in my wardrobe and creating a plan to make them. The tricky part then is balancing my wish list with the constant inspiration (which is a good thing!) that comes through blogs, social media, new pattern releases, etc. It's not a hard and fast rule, but it does help me prioritize the things I really want to make and manage the stress I feel with so many WIPs.
That said, my knitting goals for the year are to finish my Gable Sweater by Hannah Fettig and then start a long awaited dream sweater, the Bellows Cardigan. I would also like to make myself a big cozy shawl. I’m leaning heavily toward making the Onward Shawl by Very Shannon or the Rittenhause Town Wrap by O'Wool out of some Cumbria I have stashed away. My sewing goals for 2016 include a couple of Archer’s by Grainline Studio and a handful of basics like Hey June’s Union St Tee. I’m on the hunt for some lightweight knits for my t-shirts and a chambray for one more Archer.
What is inspiring you right now?
I am giddy every time Brooklyn Tweed releases a new collection. Last week they released their Winter '16 Collection. I am crazy about so many of their new designs. The four above are my favorites. They are the Snoqualmie (top left), the League (top right), the Halus Hat (bottom right), and the Corvid (bottom left). The Snoqualmie is even competing with my plans for the Bellows to be my next sweater.
Being able to work and play in this creative industry is a dream. It is such a warm and supportive environment. Thank you for welcoming me aboard the UpCraft Club team!