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 Tour

Knit the Trail is displayed over 1.72 trail miles in Newark, DE. It was knit (and crocheted) by over 35 women. 47, 550 yards of yarn were used... that's almost 27 miles! 32 trees along the trail were yarnbombed. 

Follow along, starting at the Delaware Technology Park, for a more in depth look at the installation.

NFL Yarnivores Tree

Knit and crocheted by: Deborah Ryszka, Maggie Adams, Donna Dantinne, Heike Clouse, Elizabeth Wickersham, Morgan Wiebke, Michele Faucett, Varina Eisenhower Caton, Tami Ring-Kuchenbeiser, Theresa Hill, Megan Conklin Ridgely, Maria LeClair, Barbora Simacek, Megan Cobb

One of the first groups we approached about getting involved in the project was the Newark Free Library yarn group. Last winter they warmed up The Student statue outside the library, so we were excited when they eagerly agreed to be part of our yarnbombing display. We gave them the yarn they would need and told them to do whatever they wanted with this fantastic tree! It has been a pleasure to get to know these ladies. They do everything with enthusiasm, and I'm sure this won't be the last work of yarnbombing Newark sees from them!

From the Yarnivores:

Each person who participated in this project created their own unique piece of knitting or crocheting. There are large pieces and small pieces. Some did very simple stitches in one color while others used multiple colors and complex stitch patterns. These pieces were created by educators and scientists, stay at home moms and actors, administrators and retail workers, high school students and retirees. This piece reflects our love of yarn for all the possibilities and potential it holds. We are the NFL Yarnivores and we meet each Tuesday, 7 pm at the Newark Free Library- come join us sometime!

Trees at Pomeroy-James F. Hall

Knit and crocheted by: Carol Maurer, Kathleen Robinson, Laura Mackey, Linda Henker, Khea Bright, Paula Jennings, Marta Weber, Angie Bramble, Victoria Blansfield, Kim Givens, Mel Johnson, Hannah Brilliant, Jalisa Anderson, Amy Coleman, Lacey Koczera, Aevyn Koczera, Elisabeth McDowell, West Park Elementary students

These skinny trees were our first design for this project. We thought that coming toward an area and seeing little pops of color would be surprising and fun. We love that they can be viewed from different paths of the trail, and hope they add a touch of whimsy to your walk.

This was a great way for individuals to contribute to the project. With over 22 completed trees, we had women who speedily whipped 2 or 3 off the needles in no time, and friends who worked together to create one. We took knitting looms to West Park Elementary School's Art Night and taught students (and parents) how to use them. They did several inches of two trees that were then finished by other knitters. Several ladies from the Newark Arts Alliance Loose Threads group accepted 'the tree challenge' to knit or crochet for this display. These trees are a perfect example of coming together with others to create something bigger than you could do alone!

Trees at Kells Park

Knit by: Kate Groop, Lacey Koczera, Verna Ayers, Marta Weber

We wanted something big to stand out as the central point of the trail walk. These trees are each 50 to 74 inches around, and each blanket we knit is 7.5 to 8 feet tall. 

There are 3 organized striping patterns, and 2 more random arrangements between them. Each one took 60 to 80 hours of knitting. We are all faster knitters after doing these, and they kept us cozy while working this winter... So much to the point that we may have also taken a few naps under the blankets as they grew bigger and bigger.

Fun fact: The middle tree has 182 knit stitches per row and 34 rows per color block. With 14 color blocks, there are 86,632 total stitches!

Gradient Colored Trees near Newark History Museum

Knit by: Lacey Koczera and Marta Weber

When we were first working on designs for the trail, we made this small card with all the colors arranged in this ombre pattern. After looking at if for so long we decided to take it to a larger scale. 

From far away these colors are seen as they smoothly flow from dark to lighter to bright again. As you get closer though, the striping can be appreciated as a more detailed transition. 

These trees add a powerful solidarity of color that is visible from the trail and the train tracks.

Phillips Park trees

Knit by: Kate Groop, Marta Weber, Lacey Koczera, Sharon Quinney, Tori Pennington, Bethany Crecenzo, Jalisa Anderson

These were the last design added to the trail. But really, it's like these branch-y trees were just begging for it! They are fun and spirited, and add a random pop of color at the end of the walk. Hopefully you get to view the bright colors while the soft pink blossom are in bloom.

We'd like to add a special thanks to the City of Newark Parks and Rec. They have been a fantastic team to work with. We appreciate their passion for making our city a wonderful place to live and play!

Much thanks to the Delaware Running Co. for sponsoring part of the project. They joined with us as a business supporter, but were also a huge encouragement as we brought something new to Newark. They have planned a specific running course to pass through and view the work, and we love their commitment to supporting the local community!

Thank you to Jessica Geiger of Plum Speckled Photography, for spending a lovely morning with us and for capturing these images! 

Thank you for taking the time to enjoy our installation along the James F. Hall Trail. We hope it's brought a smile to your day! Use #knitthetrail to share your experiences with us all!

Lacey Koczera & Kate Groop

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! 



Lacey: Knits of 2014

This past year was an interesting one for knitting.  The Winterscape Bobble display took up most of my summer and autumn, but there were a few other projects I completed in the meantime.  

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Winterscape Bobbles- These strands are each 10 feet long and took a total of 240 hours to knit! 

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You know stripes are our favorite! This year I did a baby-sized one, a colorful size 5 for Kate's daughter, and an adult version for me! Measurements and math are coming a little easier as I learn more and more!

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Aevyn was fun to knit for this year!  Sometimes it's a specific need that we meet, like with the ballet wrap (her studio is freezing!); and sometimes it's just fun to knit with a chunky, bright yarn, like the little cape. The loop stitch sweater is a more artistic design that squeaked in with the years end.  It was a really fun project that I'll write more about later!

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Scarves are always an easy project to carry in the purse. I wear this seed stitch cowl every day, sometimes all day! Of course, the girls needed their own! We taught an arm knitting class at a local library, so I ended up with a demo scarf... quick and easy!

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There were a few special little projects that I knit up in between the bigger ones. I did a fair isle Christmas ball for my mom to give a friend, some stripe-y hats for Kate's newborn twins, and the loopy bobble ornament. Kate and I knit bow ties for a summer wedding, and I also did a lapel rose and pocket square for my handsome husband. 

I have no idea what this year will bring, but I hope 2015 is full of soft yarn and good friends to knit with!

Last Minute Festive-ness!

There are 6 more days until Christmas!  Some people have been finished shopping and had their decorations up the day after Thanksgiving (some started earlier this year, and we're not even going to mention them)!  Others will get to the whole Christmas shopping thing in about 4 days.  But you may find yourself with things about done, just some finishing touches needed.

We have the perfect solution for present toppers, hostess gifts, and unique ornaments.

The Loopy Bobble!

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We knit these as part of our Winterscape Bobble display that is still up at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.  We're drawn to it's cozy texture and the possibilities for creativity are endless!

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There are several tutorials out there for the loop stitch, but this is our favorite from Wool and the Gang.

You can personalize the Loopy Bobble in so many fun ways.  Use double stranded yarns to create a more dimentional look.  Use thinner yarn and smaller needles to make a tiny Loopy Bobble.  By that same idea, go HUGE!

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Mistletoe Bobble!  I must admit, I kept saying 'retake', because those kisses are so sweet!

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You can get started in our Pattern pages, or look it up on ravelry!

Instead of going loopy trying to fight the crowds these next few days, just knit a Bobble instead!

Merry Christmas!

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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Tying the Knot

K: My younger brother Justin  got married! I love him so much. He has one of the best personal styles I have encountered, and he is just as interesting to talk to. No one that has met him has anything negative to say about him, ever...and that is very rare nowadays. I can't say enough great things about him. And to say the least, his wedding was magical. Especially because he married Karen Demaio. 

  (Thanks to Andrew Larason for snapping this beautiful shot of the bride and groom!)

 (Thanks to Andrew Larason for snapping this beautiful shot of the bride and groom!)

L:  Creativity exudes from everything Karen and Justin do.  They are both super talented artists, as well as such kind, genuine people.  Karen has been so supportive and encouraging of our ktog adventures! 

K: Karen is a friend, who has been a huge inspiration to me with knitting. She and Justin together communicate love for the arts, and they appreciate the art that others create. They are humble in that they want to promote others and share in the joy of creation. They are collaborators, like joyful kids, fun, and so artistic, it's pretty ridiculous. Ridiculously charming, that is.

About two months before the wedding, Karen asked Lacey and I if we could pull off knitting seven ties for Justin and the groomsmen. She wanted us to be a part of her overall look for the wedding! We were pretty intrigued, because we have never knit ties before. Karen had a particular peach-orange in mind, so we began the search for the perfect color.
 
I took Karen to one of my favorite yarn shops, Stitches with Style which is right in our area! We picked up a yarn called Kimono, a linen blend. We played with the idea of color-blocking, concentrating the peach at the bottom of the tie, with the rest of the tie cream-colored. Over the course of a month we knit, tore out, knit some more, tore out, and kept knitting. 
 It was such a process!

 L:  After doing some test samples, at 2 inches wide, we started to realize the tie was going to be a bit bulky under a shirt collar, especially with the knot.  Our first full length ties had a decrease down to 1 1/2 inches right before the knot would be made.  It was at this time that the original idea with the peach on the bottom was traded in for a design that was mainly peach, with some cream stripes toward the bottom of the tie.  We also decided to make the whole thing 1 1/2 inches wide, decreasing down to one inch for the last ten inches of the tie.

K: Each tie was 56 inches long, and we knit the ties in stockinette on size four needles! As you can imagine, knitting stockinette for that long can drive any knitter crazy! However, Lacey and I learned more about ourselves as a knitting team through the whole process. She is amazing at colorwork and tying in ends, two things I don't have the patience for at all.

L: And Kate is insanely fast, so she could speed along with all that peach!  I knit the first 15 inches, then passed the ties on to Kate to finish. 

K: We completed the ties much faster that way!  We also wanted to professionally finish the ties, so we had tags printed for the tie stay in the back of the tie! The ties turned out even better than we expected, and looked great! 

 K: My brothers from left: Jon, Brett, Jeremy, and Ryan

K: My brothers from left: Jon, Brett, Jeremy, and Ryan

 K: My brother, Jeremy!  He wears this tie well!

K: My brother, Jeremy!  He wears this tie well!

 Just a little close-up of the tags we had printed for the ties!

Just a little close-up of the tags we had printed for the ties!

K: On their honeymoon, Justin and Karen did a little photo shoot of Justin wearing his tie with this olive green H & M suit... and we absolutely love these shots! Thanks, Karen and Justin!

 This is a favorite shot of one of the ties! 

This is a favorite shot of one of the ties! 

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 What a cool guy! Did I mention  Justin  is a professional yo-yo/ performance artist? 

What a cool guy! Did I mention Justin is a professional yo-yo/ performance artist? 

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K: Lacey and I are both thankful for the opportunity to be a part of such a special day for Karen and Justin, and we hope to collaborate more with them in the future!

L:  Congratulations, Karen and Justin!  Thanks for sporting our ties!