Meet Our January FiberFriend: Tiffany Banks

1. What is your name and where are you from?

Hey there! My Name is Tiffany Banks I am the owner and creator of Wood Antler & Bloom.  I was born and raised in Baltimore, MD where I still reside.   

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2. What is your craft? How long have you been crafting? And how did you learn?

I am a knitter and have been at it for about 14 years now.  I can’t believe it’s been that long! I actually taught myself to knit by using a how to-book that I purchased from a craft store located across the street from my University.  So the story is, when I was 18 I went away to college at Delaware State University in Dover, Delaware.  I was a new student and I was placed in upperclassmen housing on campus because the University had run out of space in the freshman dorms.  I was having trouble meeting people (the upperclassmen I lived with already had their friends) and I was quite miserable for the first couple of weeks.  I had always been crafty growing up so I decided to go to the craft store, nearby campus, to find some projects to occupy my time.  I found a how-to-knit kit in the sale section.  The kit came with everything you would need to get started, a skein of yarn, needles, a finishing needle, a cable needle, and an instruction book.  Initially I had trouble maneuvering two needles.  I used a technique where I would pull each stitch over using the cable needle.  It was painstaking but I completed my very first project, a pair of pink arm warmers, using that method.  It took quite a while before I caught the hang of it but I was invested in it from the beginning.  Thirteen years later, I’m still knitting, creating my own patterns, and running a knitwear company.  

It’s funny, I ended up transferring from that University the next year.  I often look back on the time in my life with a sense of gratitude.  I probably would not have started knitting if I didn’t experience that very lonely period in my life.  Knitting has enhanced my life and I am forever grateful for the way in which it was introduced into my life.   

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3. What is your favorite project?

My favorite project is actually not one of my own patterns.  It’s a fisherman’s sweater pattern that I purchased at the 2012 New York Sheep and Wool Festival.  It was my first ambitious project.  I loved the look of cables but was intimidated by the idea of knitting a whole cable sweater.  Add to that, the fact that I was terrible at following patterns, which is part of the reason why I started writing my own.  It took over a month to complete the sweater but I was so incredible pleased with the end result.  To this day it is one of my favorite sweaters to wear.

 

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4. Who is your crafting inspiration?

My crafting inspiration is Wenlan Chia, she a fashion designer and knitwear pattern writer.  She created the brand Twinkle by Wenlan, which was the object of my obsession for years!  When I first discovered Twinkle I felt that the brand embodied a since of whimsy, edgy, high fashion that I had not seen before in knitwear.  Wenlan’s books Big City Knits and Town and Country knits really helped me think outside of the box in terms of designing my own patterns and creating a lifestyle around the pieces that you create.   

While I absolutely love each and every design of Twinkle by Wenlan (I really do!) what I love even more is the multifaceted business she has created.  Wenlan has published several knit pattern books, a sewing pattern book, hosted knitting workshops, created a contemporary ready-to wear clothing line, and introduced lifestyle products into her brand.  Ultimately it is the type of business I seek to build with my brand.

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5. What advice would you give a fellow knitwear designer who has just begun her crafting journey?

I think it is about being yourself in every respect.  Knit whatever you want, use whatever methods you choose, create new methods, use whatever fiber, knit wherever you want.  Crafting is your time for you, and only you!  There are no rules, do whatever pleases you.  I feel this exploration, in sense helps you discover your voice and style within knitting.  

I would also add, if you have a desire to take your knitting beyond a hobby and you are contemplating starting a business don’t rush it!  Everything in due time.  For years people would tell me I could earn extra income by selling my knits.  I knew it was something I had an interest in but I didn’t let others push me into staring something I was completely ready for.  Take time to really hone your craft and your ideas, you will know when the moment is right.  

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6. How can we connect with you?

You can find me on Instagram @woodantlerandbloom, facebook https://www.facebook.com/woodantlerandbloom/,

my website http://www.woodantlerandbloom.com ,

tumblr  https://www.tumblr.com/blog/woodantlerandbloom ,

and I’m Baileybanksknits on Ravelry.  

267d6d80-484c-4607-a955-aed4f46d4933Thank you for sharing Tiffany!

 

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