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Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

At Quince & Co., we’re always on the lookout for like-minded makers to collaborate with. When we came across J.M. Generals, it was love at first sight. From values to aesthetic to goats (!), we had found a kindred spirit.

Less than a year later, we are introducing our first collaboration – natural soap and lotion, made with goat’s milk (US goats of course). In the words of owner Jeffrey Monteiro, “Goat’s Milk is packed with naturally occurring vitamins, fatty acids and minerals that soothe, nourish and cleanse skin without the need to artificially add chemical ingredients to achieve these effects in soap and other products.”

The lotion and soap come in a scent developed exclusively for Quince, “Castine”. The scent features a refreshing blend of orange, litsea (a kind of evergreen), bergamot, and rosewood essential oils.

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Jeffrey has a lengthy resume in the fashion world – his design director credits ranging from Derek Lam to Bill Blass. Starting J.M. Generals was an exciting departure for him. Below you’ll find a brief interview with Jeffrey about the experience, and what J.M. Generals is all about.

  • Why did you start JM Generals?

After many years of working in fashion (an all-consuming industry), I wanted to develop a range of products that reflect my values of co-operative, inclusive and ethical design and production.  I work directly and collaborate with producers, makers and artisans to explore the interests I have in product design, across various design disciplines.

Through the online store at J. M. GENERALS we develop products that are substantively designed and thoughtfully produced. We have a thorough knowledge of the provenance of the materials we use and every step of the production process, and are very conscious of the impact these products have not only in our daily lives but the larger one around us.

  • Why is American Made important to you?

It’s crucial to keep techniques, values and craft traditions in existence. I find the process of working collectively with local producers, handcrafters, small industry and artisans very rewarding.  To be able to exchange knowledge and experience in a supportive and nurturing process is a way of keeping production sustainable, no matter the size or scale of the industrial process.

  •  How did you go about finding Cashmere in America? It’s not exactly easy to come by.

I was looking into American-produced fiber and yarn to work with (primarily wool and cotton) and learned about the existence of American Cashmere producers. I started talking with and meeting many of these producers and was fascinated about the process, and impressed with the quality of the fiber. The passion these producers put in to cultivating quality and fineness of their cashmere fiber is very inspiring. Also seeing the care they take in raising the goats to produce the best fiber encouraged me to explore ways and methods to be able to design products using their precious and beautiful fiber.  I have spent many hours learning about the processing from raw fiber to yarn, and continue to work with producers and mills to process the fiber in my product design.

  •  Do you think that the American cashmere production industry will get to the point where, say, Quince could make a yarn with American cashmere?

I do believe it could get to the point where American Cashmere production will be available to yarn producers such as Quince and Co. The quality of American fiber is exceptional–American Cashmere is produced for a high crimp in the fiber and for fiber strength, not just micron and staple length. The crimp in the fiber adds loft and lightness, allowing fiber to be spun into fine yarns and into heavier plies. The fiber micron and staple length range means the fiber has less breakage and therefore there is considerably less pilling in products produced from American Cashmere.

In certain parts of the world where cashmere is produced, the animals are starved in order to force them to produce more fiber, so they can try to keep themselves warm. It results in poor-quality fiber, and the harsh synthetic chemicals used to clean and process it further weaken it. This leads to short staple length and fiber breakage, which are the major causes of pilling.  The biggest challenge is having American Cashmere processed to a specific standard here in the U.S. There are not many mills/facilities that can process cashmere at a consistent level, and it’s a delicate, precise fiber that needs special attention. You begin to realize that is why cashmere is historically expensive–unlike the cheap cashmere that comes from maltreated, starved animals and hastily processed without care, true, high-quality cashmere has an inherent value.

  • Was it as hard to find the Goat’s milk that you use in your products? What does it add to the products?

Goat’s Milk is fairly readily available due to the increase in popularity of Goats Milk food and body care products and there are many dairy goat farms throughout the country.

Goat’s Milk is packed with naturally occurring vitamins, fatty acids and minerals that soothe, nourish and cleanse skin without the need to artificially add chemical ingredients to achieve these effects in soap and other products.  The cream that is naturally in Goats Milk is very moisturizing, and in general it’s very beneficial to people with sensitive skin. I have very sensitive skin, and the J. M GENERALS Goat’s Milk products are the only products I use myself.

  •  You helped us create a special scent just for Quince: Castine. It has notes of orange, litsea, bergamot and rosewood. What types of scents do you usually gravitate toward?

I like fresh, woodsy and earth scent notes as well as light floral and bright citrus. There aren’t really many scent notes I don’t like; it’s more about getting the balance right in a blend, the alchemy, I like to think, that makes a scent that is special, unique and memorable. I think Castine is a combination of these elements. I like its fresh citrus top notes, bright middle notes and balancing fragrant wood base notes.

  • What’s next for JM Generals?

Exciting new product lines! We are developing more woven products using some Quince & Co. products, and more felted cashmere products for the Fall/ Winter collection. We are also developing more body care products coming this fall, and we’re constantly improving and refining and adding to our existing line of products.  A lot of research, time and care goes into what we make, so we are happy and proud to introduce new products to our customers.

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Stormbreak cover

Cecily MacDonald has just released Stormbreak, a new collection of lovely knitwear.

From her blog Winged Knits,

The 7 patterns in Stormbreak are: an open cardigan with pockets and a big collar, a quick knit bulky cardigan with 3 buttons at the top and a little colorwork detail, a short sleeve scoop neck tunic with simple cables, a hat with a rib and lace brim, a quick, simple textured bulky cowl, a wrap that may be worn as a cowl, hood, or pulled down over the shoulders, and a pair of fingerless mitts with long cuffs and lace panels.

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Stunning.

 

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

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It must be summer. We haven’t blogged for oh so long. Please forgive the lapse. We’ve been taking advantage of the warm and sunny weather, while we have it.

Now, with shorter days and cooler nights, we’re thinking about knitting again. And we begin the new season with–tada!–a Quince app! A very Quince-specific app to help you find a Quince yarn to fit your every gauge-need. Would you like to know which Q yarns knit up at 4 stitches to the inch? Or 4½? Or 5? Okay. Easy. Turn to your iphone.

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Open the Q app, spin to your target gauge, click…

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and up come the options, all the Q yarns that knit up to your number.

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Tap on the thumbnail to select a yarn and scroll through its colors.

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Then check the photos of sample projects to see how the yarn behaves at your specified gauge.

The story: It’s been a year or so since our friend Cyrene Slegona first came up with the app idea while savoring a Thai dinner with us. (Another wouldn’t it be great if… conversation. Thanks, Cyrene!)

From there the idea went to Freeport Metrics, a local web software development company. We’re grateful to Elizabeth Smith at FP who contributed her tech savvy and her knitting skills to the project. And to Daniel Piltch and Andrew Gauvin at Freeport Metrics for generously taking on the project and creating our lovely app.

A well-deserved plug: Freeport Metrics is a local web software development company and IT consultancy with teams in Portland, Maine, and Warsaw, Poland. They develop mobile and web applications for established companies (that’s us now!) and start-ups.

So download our app (iOS only right now, sorry Android users!), take it for a spin, and let us know if there are any more features you’d like. !

Friday, July 11th, 2014

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Our location. Just a few feet from this sign, the wrong side of the sign. Shhh. But who could resist that sea of Rosa Rugosa?

There’s photographer Emma Sampson (below), knee deep in flowers.

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Shooting Ashley (below).

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Note the perfect evening light: Soft, golden, deep shadows, and a bit of mist. A photographer’s dream and rare to come by. 

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By the way, that shawl is Lostren, not yet published. But will be soon.

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Emma checks photos with Ashley. Let’s see. Did we get it?

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Sister Bay-4034

If you aren’t familiar with Paula Emons-Fuessle, let me introduce her. You should know her.

Paula is host of Knitting Pipeline, a knitterly podcast, host of Knitting Pipeline retreats (one right here last year!), and a consummate shawl designer: Piper’s JourneyEllison Bay, Hyla Brook, Gills Rock, and the winsome Lullabye Rain.

Her latest wrap is pretty Sister Bay, designed for our 2014 Shawl Week. It’s crescent shaped, has a lot of garter stitch (love), and a pretty, contrasting-color, simple eyelet-pattern border (detail below).

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The version here is worked in Chickadee, colors Camel and Birds Egg. Please note that the shawl was photographed wrong-side out, meaning that the purl bump row at the color join is more forthcoming in the photos than it would be photographed on the other side. My fault. So hard to keep track of everything on a shoot. But you can just make out the right side in the detail picture above, no purl-bump ridge showing on the section under Kathleen’s hand.

We actually shot another version of Sister Bay a week or so earlier. This one in Chickadee/Iceland and Egret. But as (bad) luck and lack of attention would have it, we again featured the wrong side (can we call it the ‘other’ side?) in all the photos. We didn’t run these pictures because we’re completely out of Chickadee in the heathers (word has it that they’re in the making and will be back in stock soon). But see how lovely the shawl is in these other colors?

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All of this is a long introduction to Paula’s knitalong. See her announcement below. And let us know if you have any questions or want color suggestions. Can’t wait to see all the FO’s!

From Paula:

Greetings!

You are invited to join the Knitting Pipeline Group on Ravelry for a knit-along for the newly released shawl, Sister Bay. Sister Bay is suitable for most skill levels. It would be a suitable project for new knitters who want to try a bit of lace and texture. The lace is easy to memorize and if you make a mistake it is easy to go back and fix it.

What is a Knit Along aka KAL? A knit along is usually a group of knitters who are knitting the same design within a specified time frame.

Why would you join a Knit along? It is fun to share your progress and enthusiasm with other knitters. Also, if you have questions there is a built-in group of friendly people to ask and learn from. You will also meet new knitting friends online and they will encourage you along the way. Oh, yes, and there are prize drawings at the end of the KAL!

How do I join? Gather your pattern, yarn, and needles together and join in the Sister Bay KAL Thread on Ravelry.

You can read about the Sister Bay KAL on Knitting Pipeline (blog) or listen to the Knitting Pipeline podcast Episode 177.

I have created the Sister Bay Progress Tracker (PDF) for those who like to check their progress and have the project divided into weekly assignments.

You can read all the details in this Ravelry Thread.

Start date is July 20

Finish date is by midnight on Sept 1.

Follow the Sister Bay Progress Tracker for an assignment for each week of the KAL. Each assignment is about 25% of the total knitting. The chart shows % accomplished for the body of the shawl so can keep track of yardage.

NOTE: When in doubt follow pattern not tracker! You have to purchase the pattern for the Progress Tracker to make sense. The pattern has been tech edited. The Progress Tracker has not been edited.

Week 1 starts July 20
Week 2 starts July 27
Week 3 starts August 3
Week 4 starts August 10
Bonus Week starts August 17 (extra week to catch up when life gets in the way of knitting)

Post your photos in the Sister Bay KAL Prize Thread by Sept 1.

Tag your project sisterbaykal, please.

I hope you join in our Sister Bay KAL!

 

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Texo peek cropped-2189

Anjali M. uses textured pattern in her Texo Shawl. In Tern/Syrah.

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Sister Bay-4092

Nothing like a holiday to get in the way of previews. Darn.

But never too late for the next one. This: Sister Bay in Chickadee by Paula Eamons-Fuessle, colors Camel and Birds Egg.

 

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

lamassuy blog

Lace. So elemental. Lamassu by Leah Thibault in Sparrow/Blue Spruce.

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Shawl pile-4483

Summer is so here–and we have shawls for you. Time for our annual shawl week. This year, however, we over-knitted a bit. Hence, we have more than a week’s worth for you.

(Hope you like shawls as much as we do.)

A few peeks are in order. First up today is a little number in Piper designed by Melanie Berg. So breezy!

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Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Alicia Plummer and Melissa Schaschwary do stripes (easy ones) in Kestrel.  Above is Alicia’s Adam’s Multi-Way Wrap in colors Cove and Sans. It’s perfect summer knitting; Alicia says, it’s ‘brainless.’ But it’s not boring, placed stripes and bias construction (makes good drape) make it interesting.

Melissa’s swingy top North Fork (below) is knitted from the top down. The back is shaped with a few short rows and side slits at the hem keep it relaxed in fit around the hips. Colors from the top down are Sand, Senza, and Porpoise.