ktog x maman nyc

We have the wonderful good fortune of being connected to amazingly creative people in awesome jobs! Andrea DeMaio is the sister of Kate's sister-in-law, Karen. Besides being a sweet, positive, and generous friend and a talented baker, she is now the marketing director for Maman, a small chain of French-inspired cafes in New York City and a few other locations.

Since Karen is familiar with our work and has done freelance design for Maman (check out their gorgeous menus!), she suggested we approach them to design a winter window display featuring our knits. When we looked at their images and style, we were inspired by their blue palette and floral and snowflake motifs, all based on French countryside toile prints. Their cafes are warm and inviting and we were excited to add our own cozy knit artwork to complement their atmosphere.

 Karen illustrates beautiful floral designs, and we've always thought it would be fun to translate her drawings into knit work. She drew some floral and bunny shapes that we used for color work panels in the Soho window.

Karen illustrates beautiful floral designs, and we've always thought it would be fun to translate her drawings into knit work. She drew some floral and bunny shapes that we used for color work panels in the Soho window.

We were providing window displays for their 3 major cafes in NY, one in Soho, Greenpoint, and Tribeca. We wanted each to have their own defined style but still work together overall. We used our trademark bobbles as garlands and vertical hangings, and experimented with a new open sphere design. 

It was so much fun to drive up to the city, install the windows, sip coffee, and laugh all day with Karen and Andrea. We met Elisa and Ben at the Tribeca location, and were blown away by their hospitality. They were so generous, enthusiastic, and friendly! It was obvious that their spirit imbued each cafe with a delightful uniqueness and charm, shown in their creative decor, family photos of happy children, and more bunnies than we could count!

We are honored that we could use our passion of knitting to contribute to the beautiful mood of Maman.

SOHO

 The Soho display incorporated our trademark cream bobble garlands, and some fun smaller items that we think captures the essence of everything Maman.

The Soho display incorporated our trademark cream bobble garlands, and some fun smaller items that we think captures the essence of everything Maman.

 A few coffee mug covers to keep the hands cozy! (How beautiful are Maman's custom designed cups?!)

A few coffee mug covers to keep the hands cozy! (How beautiful are Maman's custom designed cups?!)

 Fun with colorwork!

Fun with colorwork!

 We love bunnies, coffee, and bobbles!

We love bunnies, coffee, and bobbles!

TRIBECA

 We invented these open sphere hangings for a graphic look at the Tribeca location. 

We invented these open sphere hangings for a graphic look at the Tribeca location. 

GREENPOINT

 These hanging bobbles create more of an interior cozy feel at the Greenpoint Maman.

These hanging bobbles create more of an interior cozy feel at the Greenpoint Maman.

 Our favorite loopy bobbles!

Our favorite loopy bobbles!

Knit the Trail Install

The day began with Lace and I hitting the James F. Hall Trail at 7:30 am. We set off for the skinny trees with some sidewalk chalk and a measuring tape. We began by marking each tree to match each knitted piece to its corresponding tree. Once we were satisfied with our placement, we picked up coffee to share, and headed for the end of the trail to meet the Yarnivores from the Newark Free Library. 

 Photo by Katie Yandell

Photo by Katie Yandell

 NFL Yarnivores

NFL Yarnivores

The NFL Yarnivores arrived at 9 am at the fan tree right near the Delaware Technology park at the end of the trail. It was a chilly morning, so we supplied them with some fresh Dunkin' coffee and went to meet our faithful friends to install the skinny trees. 

 Photo by Katie Yandell

Photo by Katie Yandell

We handed out colorful sewing kits, threaded our darning needles, and ventured into the woods to match our knitted pieces to the trees. There was something so wonderful happening. Our vision of these skinny trees from months and months ago began to take shape. It was like the woods awoke with pops of color as each tree was completed! It was incredibly cheery, even though it was such a frigid morning. I was so happy, I hardly felt the cold! Verna and Angie came to our rescue at noon, and finished the skinny trees for us. Lace and I had to leave for a very special and important baby shower that afternoon (Maddie's!). We planned to return to the trail at 4:30pm, and finish the install. 
During the shower, it began to snow. Yup, snow. It had gotten colder than in the morning! So when we returned to the trail with Verna, her husband Adam (who was the best support ever!) and Marta, the task looked daunting; about 8 feet daunting! 

 Photo by Plum Speckled Photography

Photo by Plum Speckled Photography

 Photo by Plum Speckled Photography

Photo by Plum Speckled Photography

Our next install was the 5 big striped trees in Kells park. Each one is 5-6 feet around, and 7.5-8 feet high. We brought the two ladders we had, our lovely, time-consuming knitted pieces, and began sewing the stripes in their corresponding colors, working from the top of the tree down to the trunk. It was tedious and slow pace work. Adam was our superhero here. He held ladders for us, made a coffee run, kept his 'tank' warm so we could thaw our hands out periodically, cheered us on, ran between the trees supplying us with yarn, using his flashlight on his phone to shed light on our shivering hands and the stitches, and even climbed the ladder himself to help us get the trees started! God bless the man. The devotion and persistence these friends showed Lace and I leaves me a little speechless. We quickly realized that bringing our designs to reality was a bigger task than ourselves. We do not know how to thank each friend sufficiently for the time donated, and for every stitch knitted! 

 Photo by Adam Ayers

Photo by Adam Ayers

We finally finished the 5 big striped trees by 9 pm and decided to go home. Lace and Marta had been working on the two gradient trees while we finished the striped trees. It felt like a scramble, so we could finally get out of the cold! The warmth we felt when we finally got in our cars, was so welcome! 
The next day, Lace and Pete sewed the rest of the gradient trees together. (Way to go, Pete! A jack of all trades, you are!) Then, Lace and I spent 5 hours out on the trail working on the two small weeping cherry trees that afternoon. Still, we were not finished! Later on in the week we came back a couple time to sew random branches on, and finally on Wednesday morning before the artist walk, we completed the trees! While we were sewing during the day, we had so many trail walkers, runners, and bikers stop and talk to us about the installation. We had so many positive reactions, it was incredible to hear! Overwhelmingly, we realized that our main goal was accomplished through the installation: joy, cheer, encouragement, and surprise. 

 Photo by Plum Speckled Photography

Photo by Plum Speckled Photography

Lace and I are so grateful to everyone that came to help with the installation. After a very long weekend of installing the trail, we know that we never could have done it by ourselves. This fact is the component that exposes the bare bones of a community installment. The scale of this design was big, and each knitter/crocheter played a part in bringing the dream to life, just like every stitch and every piece sewn together. Thankfulness is not enough to describe our feelings about this installment and the wonderful outcome. The involvement we experienced from these friends, family, and local knitting groups completely warms our hearts and fills us with happiness!

Enjoy the trail, and let us know what you think!
#knitthetrail
 

Knit the Trail

It's the beginning of a new year, and with that comes new goals and projects! (While we could determine to be better bloggers, let's face it, we'll probably just spend all our time knitting!) 

At the end of 2015, we proposed a public art installation to the City of Newark. We are happy to announce their support for our display that will decorate the trees in several areas along the James F. Hall Trail, which follows the railroad line in Newark, and is the most frequented trail in Delaware.

So many people in Newark value this trail, and have their specific attachments and emotions that go along with the time they spend there. Whether they run, bike, play tennis, or take their kids to the playground, the trail brings members of our community outside together. For the two of us, we've spent hours running the trail and hanging out with friends and our children. This project was inspired one summer evening while we were running together. The idea of seeing something new and surprising along different points of the trail really excited us. Winter brightening toward spring is such an optimistic and promising time, and we hope this display will be as surprising, playful, and inspiring as nature itself.

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Another aspect of accomplishing a project of this scale is that it offers an opportunity to connect with other local knitters. We're excited to have old and new friends join us, and if you're interested in contributing, email us for more info! We have supplies and would love to get you involved. After all, knitting together in love is our thing! 



Winterscape

Last January, while at Vogue Knitting Live NYC, Kate and I met the creative director of Lion Brand Yarn Studio.  She invited ktog to be a part of their Featured Fiber Artist Gallery located in the studio. 

This was so exciting for us because Lion Brand is often the yarn we go to for our projects.  The very first sweaters we made together were in LB Hometown USA, we use the Martha Stewart Extrasoft Wool for almost every baby sweater we make, and we're smitten with their Alpine Wool right now.

Kate and I discussed some ideas and I began work on a new art display, Winterscape, to hang across the gallery wall at the Lion Brand Studio.

 Loop stitch bobble

Loop stitch bobble

Winterscape Bobbles will be on display at the studio until the end of January.  Inspired by the winter season, it has a palette of cream and white yarns.  Shape and texture are the main focus, taking the viewer across the wall, up and down the slopes of a zig zag.

Pinterest inspiration board

We've knit our bobbles before, but instead of using size and color in a random way, this piece was all about using the bobbles to form a bigger image.  I loved getting a little more technical with the gauge and measurements, making sure everything lined up properly.  I wanted the textures of the bobbles to convey the feel of being in the mountains or city on a snowy day, but still offer a cozy warmth.

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It's been fun to see the way different viewers relate to certain aspects of the piece.  Some have a favorite bobble, others like the zigzags, and some enjoy the shadow play the most.  For me, it's a contemplative journey to study the piece up close, following the lines of the pattern, and then step back for the full effect.

Pete and I installed the bobbles this week, and even met the president of Lion Brand, David Blumenthal!  It's been a pleasure to work with Gretchen and Mark from Lion Brand, and I can't wait to get back up to NYC to visit the studio (and my bobbles)!

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