Twinkle twinkle

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007 | All Things, Events, Family

After my adventures — or sometimes: misadventures — in crochet class last summer, knitting seemed like the logical next frontier. So tonight, J and I took part in a knitting circle event, hosted by Wenlan Chia of Twinkle Knits.

We met at the Rockefeller Center Anthropologie, which not coincidentally, carries Chia’s popular clothing line. (Her signature knits are also available at Barneys New York, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. ) The airy space was decked out with about a hundred white wooden chairs, divided into sections for “beginner,” “intermediate,” and “advanced” knitter levels. No question there as to which group I belonged. J gamely joined me in the newbies area, though as the night wore on, she would emerge as the clear ringer of our section.

Knitting circle

We were each provided with cloth knitting bags containing one fluffy skein of Twinkle Soft Chunky wool, and either a pair of bulky wooden needles or a set of fat circular needles. Chia provided an introduction, describing how she began her fashion career as a self-taught knitter, creating her own designs while at FIT when she was unable to find just what she wanted in stores.

Chia launched her Twinkle line in Fall 2000 with a collection of modern-shaped handknit sweaters and accessories. In February 2002, her ready-to-wear clothes made their runway debut at the “Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion” show, earning praise from critics and audiences alike. Since then, she has shown each season at the Bryant Park tents during New York’s Fashion Week. Her Fall 2007 collection featured a neutral palette and prints inspired by 1950’s abstract expressionism. Chia has since expanded her line to include a home collection, Twinkle Living.

The knitting lessons began, and instructors demonstrated the steps using comically giant props: a ball of oversized yarn, hot pink plastic needles and their own arms. Tonight’s projects were chunky-chic scarves of varying levels of difficulty, culled from Chia’s pattern book Big City Knits, and divided among the knitters according to expertise. Chia and her assistants spent most of their time working with the beginners, providing one-on-one attention as needed. And some of us needed it quite a lot! Even J was pressed into service.

Wenlan Chia

Rather disheartening, by the way, seating the beginners across the aisle from the experts – look at ‘em go! But good fun was had by all anyway. The cases of sparkling hard cider and trays of warm, gooey cookies helped, certainly.

Knitting circle

By George, I think I’ve got it!

I can knit

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