Thursday, September 22, 2011

Etsy Shop Profile: Kouture Crochet


Today we have the opportunity to meet Karia of Kouture Crochet an Etsy shop that carries handmade crocheted items.  Karia is quite an inspiration.  Read her feature and visit her shop where you'll find some beautiful crochet items for Christmas gift. Ten percent of sales go to the Clifton (NJ) Animal Shelter to help care for abandoned animals.
Where/when did you learn to crochet?    I learned when i was 14. My mother taught me at home.  

Merino Wool Scarf, Men's, Women's, Luxury Green Scarf, Men's Scarf, Charitable DonationWhat are some of your favorite designs and yarns?   I really prefer simple designs. Simplicity in design is also part of what creates a luxury product. The challenge with working with simple patterns is that any faults, errors and imperfections stand out like a soar thumb. As a result of this, much care must be taken to maintain even tension and stitches. A simple well fitting tailored suit will indeed cost much more than an off the rack trendy outfit. The challenge is the same for crocheted works. In order to meet this challenge I had custom wood crochet hooks made that are perfect for my own hands that help me maintain even stitches throughout. The result, I think is well worth the effort. I love the art of the design challenge and the production challenge. It is why designs are simple.


Any THREE Merino Wool Cup Sleeves, Crochet, Custom Handmade, Charitable DonationYou use only natural yarns and strive to make luxurious items. Explain the difference between natural and other yarns.  Synthetic yarns are great for a number of uses. There are usually far less expensive than natural yarns. Acrylic yarns are made from petroleum based plastics, so they are very hard wearing. Caring for synthetics is often a simple matter of which setting to use on your washer/dryer at home. Natural fibers require more attention and careful maintenance. Careless maintenance of natural fibers can cause felting, shrinking or worse. However, even the softest “Baby” acrylics lack the softness of some of my favorite natural fibers. Every natural fiber has different qualities, but in general there are more breathable, are better at retaining heat, are lighter in weight than synthetics. Alpaca is lighter and offers amazing warmth at a faction of the price of other natural fibers while still being wonderfully soft. Alpaca is also immensely strong. I use the scarps from my retail projects to make cat toys that don't fall apart. Cashmere is lighter still but offers as much warmth as alpaca. Notably cashmere is slightly softer than alpaca and has a drape that makes it perfect for luxury sweaters. There are many more fibers wool, silk, camel, quvot and many more. 
Large Blanket, Crochet, Contrast Border, 50in x 60in, Pure Alpaca, luxury blanket, Made-to-Order, Charitable Donation
How would you describe your creative process?   I design every pattern myself. I do not use templates or store bought patterns. My process is at once a free flowing process and a historical and intellectual process. In designing my ties, I studied ties and cravats. I believe that if I want to create something that is timeless i need to know the styles that have passed the test of time. I take that information and then begin the design process. 

What does "handmade" mean to you? Is there anything else you'd like others to know about yourself or your shop?  I have Dandy Walker Hydrocephalus, a congenital brain malformation. Even though this prevents me from driving or having a regular 9-5 job, I started this shop in hopes of both following my passion as an artist and as a means to support myself without depending on outside or government aid. 

Camel Skinny Tie, Pure Baby Camel Hair, similar to Knit Ties, Exclusive Tie, Charitable DonationI have been crocheting for 17 years. Often crochet is seen as a source of work with products far removed from luxury. My goal is to create exceptional crocheted items that are luxurious yet subtle, simple and refined. I use only the finest 100% natural fibers. The result is a marriage of the wonderful and unique texture of crochet with the refined quality of the couture houses of Paris high fashion.   I am always looking for new and exciting fibers to make luxury products. Today I scored some wonderful hand dyed 50% alpaca/50% merino wool that I am going to use for some ties! 
Also I have been donating 10% of the proceeds to a number of charities. Currently 10% of proceeds are donated to the Friends of  Clifton Animal Shelter where I adopted my two lovely cats.



Say hello to Karia here or visit her Etsy shop Kouture Crochet.  Her beautiful crocheted items are already marked at a great price but knowing that part of the money also helps a wonderful charity just adds to the spirit of giving, don't you agree.

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