Did you know that gather here employs 22 people? And that 20 of those 22 people are women? This March we are featuring some of our team members as we celebrate Women's History Month. We hope you enjoy getting to know them better!
Lynnette joined gather here in July of 2018, after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University. We asked Lynnette about her relationship to crafting and learned so much about what she makes and why.
When did you start making things?
I started making things when I was about nine or ten years old. I was inspired by stories about my grandmother's legendary knitting. She used to knit a sweater a night, so that by the end of the week, all the kids had new sweaters. When I was ten years old, I asked my mom to teach me to knit like her mom. (Mom had to teach herself to knit before she could teach me.) Since then, knitting has become my favorite way to craft. I typically knit American or English style, but I just learned to knit Continental last week at the gather here knitting basics class.
As for the other types of crafting I do, I have been crocheting since high school. I started crocheting adorable amigurumi characters immediately. Technically, I have been hand sewing with felt since elementary school, but I took things to the next level when I was sixteen. I dropped $40 of my savings on a Singer Quickfix machine from Walmart. At the time, I was interested in sewing resusable menstrual pads, so I got a little practice sewing layers of plastic, fleece and cotton together. I have also made the same skirt twice. This year, I have started teaching myself embroidery and cross stitch by following instructions that I find on Pinterest.
What's your favorite thing to make?
I go through phases, and my favorite thing to knit has changed throughout the years. When I was a kid, I really loved making skull caps. They are simple and fast projects. Meanwhile, the shaping at the top keeps it interesting. Late in high school, I figured out how to knit socks and I went through a sock phase that lasted a few years. I knit with wool and cotton, toe up or toe down and it was always fun. I like to make two socks at a time on two nine inch circular needles laid in parallel. Otherwise, I can be very susceptible to second sock syndrome.
Lately, my favorite thing to knit has been dolls. My first challenge was figuring out what the proportions of the doll would be, roughly. So I knit a small seven inch tall doll. Next, I knit a human sized doll and challenged myself to do it in such a way that there is no seaming required at the end. I achieved this goal by using short rows and diagonal knitting. At this point, I have made three dolls, including the little one and two human sized dolls. My next goal is to knit the details in the doll's face. I also want to add fingers and toes.
The doll that I made most recently, I dedicated to one of the girls who I lived with in college. It seemed like she was always to busy too come home to her room and to her roommate, who was constantly pining for her. I made the doll not as a replacement for my busy friend, but more like a placeholder to help the rest of the girls in the suite visualize her in our space. In the process of making these dolls, I realized that these dolls are meaningful to me because they represent the self-made woman. I was inspired to knit my by grandmother, who had to invent herself in a new country. And for myself, I am a new college grad who needs to reinvent herself a little bit after college.
Gather here's knitting instructor, Greeley, told us in class that there are two main types of knitters: process knitters and project knitters. I identify a bit with both of those motivations, but I think that I'm mostly a process knitter. I rarely knit from a pattern. Up until college, I used patterns only for inspiration. However, I do have quite a few books about knitting techniques or stitches that can be applied to different projects.
What do you like the most about being a part of the gather here community?
First of all, working in a yarn and fabric store is literally a dream come true for me. After I graduated college, I started contacting yarn stores in the Boston area because that's exactly where I wanted to be. I am very excited to get to know all of my teammates at gather here, and to learn from the gather here community. I would like to become a proficient seamstress. My dream is to fill my wardrobe with handmade garments. This is an ambitious goal, but I think that it is also fairly common. So, I'm anticipating a lot of support from the gather here community. both support for my learning and personal support. I have never been part of such a large community of crafters before. The way I see it, gather here is a treasure trove of makers to meet and crafts to complete. Who knows what else I can learn in the way of knitting, crocheting, embroidery, felting, cross stitch, quilting, et cetera. I'm looking forward to seeing how much I can achieve as a crafter.
What's your favorite tool?
My favorite tool has to be my plastic 29" circular needles in US size 6. They also happen to be a hand-me-down from my grandmother. Surprisingly, these needles have not deformed after so many years of use. Since I have been knitting many larger projects and experimenting with different shapes, I need that long cord to hold all my stitches. Also, I have found that US size 6 is quite versatile, and I have used the same size for a range of yarn weights by adjusting my tension. I typically prefer aluminum over plastic because I like how the yarn glides off the metal, and the clicking noise that metal needles make is super satisfying. However, sometimes a quieter needle is preferable when I am knitting in class, for example. The plastic is also softer, so I don't hurt myself when I dive into an overstuffed backpack looking for my needles. These knitting needles are a tried and true favorite for sure.
What do you do when you aren't making things?
Since I recently moved into the area, I've been taking my time walking around Boston and Cambridge, particularly Mass Ave. I enjoy going to open mic nights and poetry slams. I occasionally write my own poetry. At the moment, I am considering going to graduate school for speech pathology, but I'm still shopping around to see what other graduate programs might be good options for me as a student of psychology.