Allyson Dykhuizen is a knitwear designer, teacher and blogger at the website The Sweatshop of Love. She has also launched Holla Knits, a three-times-a-year digital knitting design collection. The first issue came out in the spring of 2012, and you can learn more about it below.I wanted to talk to Dykhuizen about her projects, her use of both indie yarn and more mainstream options (all the patterns in Holla Knits are worked in a yarn from Knit Picks as well as a hand-dyed yarn) and our common love of Pinterest.
About: First off, what was the idea behind Holla Knits?
Allyson Dykhuizen: I was complaining one day about how there weren’t any publications or sites dedicated to fun, unique, fashion forward, modern, youthful knitwear design, and it clicked. Hey! Do it yourself!
About: Why did you want to show patterns both in an indie yarn and a more mainstream yarn?
AD: I’m really passionate about making knitting affordable and accessible to everyone, and that includes affordable yarns. Most of my patterns use yarn like Knit Picks and Lion Brand, and that is something I wanted to continue doing with Holla Knits. But there is such an amazing world of hand-dyed yarn out there that I wanted to explore as well. So each pattern is knit up and shown in both an affordable, accessible yarn and a hand-dyed yarn. And using two yarns also gave me an opportunity to show each pattern in two different sizes, which I know is so important to all knitters!
About: What has the response been so far?
AD: Really great! Holla Knits has over 100 subscribers and patterns have been selling slowly but surely. The Fall/Winter collection is in the works, and the Accessories collection has had more submissions than both garment collections combined! Attention is growing, and the FOs that have been trickling in are beautiful. I couldn’t be happier!
About: What’s your favorite pattern in the first edition?
AD: Romp Around the Clock, because it is so adorable and surprisingly wearable that I think it set a fun note for the entire brand. (From Sarah: Check out it and other patterns on Ravelry.)
About: What’s in store for Holla Knits in the future? I know you just closed submissions on an accessories edition. Do you plan to keep garments and accessories separate in the future or combine them into a single issue?
AD: Keep rolling! I’m already working on the three collections for 2013 and hope Holla Knits keeps getting bigger and better. I’m very firm on the pricing structure for collections and individual patterns, so each collection will stay strict on Spring/Summer garments, Fall/Winter garments, and Accessories collections.
About: You use Pinterest boards to educate designers on the sorts of things you’re looking for for your publications. What’s been the response to that and how else do you use Pinterest to get the word out about your designs?
AD: Pinterest is an amazing tool for building mood boards. I specifically signed up for Pinterest when I started Holla Knits exclusively to share themes and ideas about Holla Knits. Now, of course, I use it for pretty much everything in my life! I’ve gotten a lot of design submissions from designers following my Holla Knits Pinterest boards that I recognized from clothing that I’ve pinned, so it’s working and making life easier for me and knitwear designers everywhere, I think.
About: Tell me about Sweatshop of Love and how that site and Holla Knits go together. (I love your tagline, by the way!)
AD: Thanks so much! I have fun with it! The Sweatshop of Love is my personal site where I’ll continue to design for, and blog and teach from. Holla Knits is a collaborative site that I run that will always include my Sweatshop of Love patterns, but other designer’s patterns as well. They work hand in hand because both sites are ME!, but are as exclusive of each other as I can keep them.
A Look at the First Holla Knits
I got a chance to check out the first issue of Holla Knits and it's a lot of fun! It features six patterns, including four tops, a vest and a romper.
Umbre Love is a loose-fitting tee worked in stripes and a slip-stitch pattern for a stained glass effect. Romp Around the Clock is a one-piece top and shorts combo with textured stitching around the waist and hips.
The cute Put a Belt on It is a vest with a belt worked in a contrasting color and features cables on the back, while Finishing School is a shapely sleeveless top with a sailor collar. The collection finishes up with In a While, Crocodile, a simple tee embellished with optional crocheted sleeves, and the Holla Back Tank, the mullet of knitting designs, with a straightforward front and a zigzag lace back.
The patterns are mostly for intermediate knitters, and the choice or two yarns -- which also allows showing different color options, design choices and sizes -- is a really nice touch that makes it possible to see how these patterns work for different people and styled in different ways.
I for one can't wait to see what's next from this fun publication!