Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Interview: Allyson Dykhuizen

(Photo: KnitPicks.com)

One of my favorite knitwear designers is at it again! Allyson Dykhuizen has just released a new pattern collection entitled, "Vintage-Inspired Baseball Knits." OK, I must admit, my knowledge of sports is very limited, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover her patterns for this collection are incredibly versatile and completely customizable!

From the diehard baseball fan to .... one whom when they hear the word "base" only a former high school flame comes to mind, rest-assured, there's something for everyone!

What's more, Allyson took the time to answer some Q&A about her new pattern collection. Read on to find out what inspired it! 
 
Please tell us, how did the idea for a baseball knitwear collection come about? 

A couple years ago I was visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown NY, and there were a lot of these old beat up team sweaters in cases throughout the museum, and I really wanted to know more about them. When I got home I couldn't find anything! They were this lost part of baseball history. But I loved the idea of having a hand knit team sweater based on these old designs, so I went about researching and designing sweaters based on those designs. 


I'm always amazed by how quickly you come up with your designs. How long did it take you from  conceptualizing the idea for this pattern book to actually publishing it? What came easy? What was more challenging?  

 Thanks! It took about a year and a half from conception to publication for the book. I pitched the idea to Knit Picks and they really loved it, so I started designing and knitting up the samples last summer, so that was the big load of the job, and that was finished last August, and it had just been tweaking and editing on Knit Picks' part after that.

The  "Georgia Peach" cardigan is adorable! It reminds me of the movie, "A League Of Their Own." What are your favorite movies about baseball? Were any of your patterns inspired by them? I absolutely love "A League of Their Own", and it's for sure one of my favorite movies! I'll be in love with Bill Pullman until the day I die because of that movie. I cry every time I watch it! I also have great memories of loving all those amazing kids baseball movies that came out when we were kids, like "Rookie of the Year" and "Angels in the Outfield". Sharing those movies with my kids someday will be a fun part of being a parent.

I wanted to design a pattern for the collection based on those cute little uniforms they wore in "A League of Their Own", but it just never came together. It was always too costumey, and I wanted all the designs to be really wearable and functional. So instead I designed the Harnett Tank, which is like a fun striped racerback tank top, and it's named after Ann Harnett, the first woman to join the All American Girl's Baseball League.

Can someone who doesn't follow baseball still enjoy knitting and wearing these patterns? What styling / modification tips would you give? For sure! I think, especially Trolley Dodger and The Georgia Peach, have a really fun vintage sporty feel, so whether you are really into baseball or just want a fun old school sporty sweater to wear in your personal favorite colors, you can totally rock those looks. All the designs are really an ode to an old school sport world, which I think anyone with an interest in vintage inspirations would appreciate.

If you could knit for any Major or Minor League baseball player, alive or dead, who would it be. What would you knit them and why?

Hehe I love this question. My all time favorite baseball player is Ty Cobb, who The Georgia Peach pattern is named after, so I would for sure knit him some high socks to wear with his uniform. I like to imagine that even though he had this reputation for being a super jerk, he would really get a kick out of a fan knitting him some hand knit socks. AND there are a lot of Venezuelan players on the Detroit Tigers, my favorite team, so I would love to knit them all mittens with old english Ds on the hands for those cold early spring Midwestern games.

Do you enjoy watching / playing any other sports? If so, are you inspired to create a pattern book for it as well?

I love football as well! And I have been doing a little research about vintage football sweaters, which are really fun and costumey! So yeah, I'm kinda rolling that idea around in my brain.

Baseball season is right around the corner! Are you excited about or going to any games?

I'm so excited! Yes I'll be going to many many games I'm sure. The first spring training exhibition game was yesterday so I was following the action on twitter as it was being live tweeted, so it got me even more pumped. And baseball means the end of winter, so that is always really exciting, too!


To check out Allyson's "Vintage-Inspired Baseball Knits" pattern collection and other designs, click here!  She also blogs over at TheSweatShopOfLove.com