Of a Kind

Aaaaand, Annie Larson made a baby present that absolutely deserves to be displayed in a shadowbox when those feetsies get too big. —erica

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Degen’s Guide to the Coolest Knitters Around

This is Lindsay Degen’s clan.

We had no idea how astonishingly rad and creative knitting had become until Lindsay Degen—the woman behind a top-notch knit line herself—broke it all down for us. Here’s a helpful guide to the players who are earning the art form the respect it deserves. —carlye wisel

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Sam Jaffe is one of my favorite knitters out there. She’s in Chicago, and she does installation-based work. She makes everything from really large-scale knit sculptures to two-foot, 3D wall hangings that kind of look like mandalas. We collaborated on the set for my spring/summer 2013 fashion show together, and we just really enjoyed each other”

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Liz Collins was my knitting professor in college, and she has this group called Knitting Nation that performs at places like MoMA and the Contemporary Art Museum in Boston. Her work is awesome. It attacks issues about the knitting world and the fashion world in different ways.”

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Jessie Hemmons is one of the more prominent yarn bombers out there—she covers massive areas overnight in knitting. I don’t even know if she has licenses to do it sometimes, but she’s one of the best. She even knitted a bikini for a statue of the Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo.”

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Joe Segal is playful with colors and likes things that are kind of crafty. But at the same time, he knows the most modern, complicated knitting technology out there today—he can program a knitting machine, which is rare. He was actually on Project Runway, which was amazing! His playful line is called Pretty Snake—he does this design of these crazy cats with 3D eyeballs that’s awesome.”

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"I really like Of a Kind favorite Annie Larson's work. We've never met—and I've never felt her work—but we have an intern in common whose name is Ann Larson. I know. She's also an awesome knitter!”

Like what you see? You’re going to love Lindsay’s creation: a super-fly hand-knit tank!

Liz Collins photo by Arthi Sundaresh, Title: KNITTING NATION Phase 7: Darkness Descends, Year: 2011, Artist: Liz Collins; Jesse Hemmons photo courtesy of Conrad Benner.

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The Insider: Jen Rubio

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Jen Rubio spends her days as Warby Parker's social media guru, but when she’s out of the office, she’s probably out of town. The supremely stylish frequent flier globetrots so often that her Delta status is one we’ve never even heard of. Don’t worry, though: You can always find her @jennifer in the Twitterverse—yah, check-out that first-name-handle radness. —carlye wisel

Q: When you’re on a trip, do you always find yourself buying a certain thing as a souvenir?
A: I am actually old-school, and I write postcards every single place I go. One of my friends has postcards from, like, 30 different countries from me on her fridge. My thing: Whatever the picture is on the postcard, I write it there.

Q: What’s the most embarrassing thing on your bookshelf?
A: The most embarrassing is probably that I don’t even have a bookshelf right now because I move so much. The actual only bookshelf I have in my apartment is a print of “The Ideal Bookshelf” hanging up. It’s the fashion one. I do read! Books are hard to pack!

Q: If you could have access to anyone’s wardrobe, whose would you pillage?
A: Miroslava Duma. She’s amazing. We’re also both 5-feet-tall, so everything would already be hemmed! I mean, I could say Taylor Tomasi-Hill, but then I’d have to fuck around with a tailor. So, nope! I could just put on Miroslava’s pants and be fine. She’s one of those people who gets a bob, and then I’m like “OH, I’m gonna get a bob!”

Q: Does the bob work out?
A: No! Never! No one ever sees a bob on a celebrity and gets one and has it work out. It just doesn’t work. This is probably my most embarrassing beauty-related story: I have a very round face, and I saw some celebrity with a bob. I got it, and it looked so bad—so atrocious that the next day I sat in a chair for 11 hours and got a weave.

Q: What?!
A: My deepest, darkest secret is that I had a weave! It’s really expensive because it’s real hair. I know a lot about weaves. I literally walked into this place and was like, “I need long hair.” It takes a long time—they put hundreds of strands in your hair. I guess you could do those Jessica Simpson clip-ins, but…no. If I’m getting a weave, I’m going all-out!

Q: You own a slew of Of a Kind editions.
A: Yeah! In the beginning, I had maybe seven out of their first ten editions. I have all of the Claire Vivier ones, and I have all the Erica Weiner stuff—I’m very loyal to my Of a Kind designers. I actually have a crazy Of a Kind story. I bought the very first hat Annie Larson did, and I was so excited. I worked at this agency and told everyone, “Guys! Only 25 people have this hat, it’s amazing!” And a week later, my co-worker Kyle’s like, “Oh, I saw someone with your hat on the train.” And I was like, “No you didn’t! I’m telling you, only 25 people have it.” And he goes, “No, I swear! I took a picture for you, since I know you’re obsessed with that hat!” And he shows me this picture of this girl, and I lost it. I was like “Oh my god, you’re my hat twin!”—of course not even thinking that Of a Kind’s early customers all lived in New York. I had a blog at that point, and I posted this girl’s picture on my blog and blocked out her face. And a girl comments on my blog, “Oh my god, that’s my sister!” and e-mail introduces me to her sister. We never actually met up, but this girl lived in Brooklyn, she had the same hat, and we’re like, hat soulmates.

Get to know more peeps we think are thebomb.com right over here!

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Recommended Reading: Annie Larson x Design*Sponge = AWESOME

Twelve ways to improve your morning? Dive into this rundown of Annie Larson’s dozen of-the-moment obsessions over at Design*Sponge, DUH. And, while you’re there, heck: Troll the archives. —erica

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Get Cookin’: Suzanne’s Best Brownies from Annie Larson of ALL Knitwear

Hard copies of our cookbook went up for sale this morning! 45 recipes for $6?! Get on that. To tempt you further, here’s what it takes to whip up Annie Larson’s fave (polka-dot) brownies, bound to make your weekend approximately 83% more delicious. —erica

“I found my brownie recipe on the Internet after trying many others with disappointing results. I made a few changes right away, like using vanilla extract instead of almond and reducing the amount of sugar. For a while, I was baking sweets every Sunday, and the brownies were in heavy rotation. For a little flair, upside-down chocolate chips make great polka dots.” —annie

Ingredients
2 ½ sticks unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cup + 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, cold
1 cup flour
Chocolate chips (optional)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the butter, cocoa, sugar, and salt in a double boiler. Mix until fully melted and hot to the touch. Remove and let cool until mixture is just warm. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring to combine after each addition. When the batter looks shiny, thick, and well-mixed, add the flour. Mix in slowly, then beat batter 40 times with a wooden spoon. Pour the batter into a greased 9x13-inch pan (or an 8x8-inch pan for thicker brownies), and spread it evenly. Top with chocolate chips if you’d like. Bake 20-25 minutes.
Get the other 44 recipes right over here…

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The 25 Of a Kind Designers You Should be Following on Instagram

Here’s your chance to get in on a road trip with the Upstate ladiez, peep a Society for Rational Dress photo shoot, and scope out Brook&Lyn’s newest materials. It’s this thing called Instagram. Heard of it? DUH. Of the 15 million users, these are the vets who get our seal of approval. —kate barrett

Ace & Jig - @jennnnnnnnna

Alex & Eli - @anna_zeman

ALL Knitwear - @annieleelarson

Ann Yee - @theannyee

Blanca Monrós Gómez - @blancamonrosgomez

Brook&Lyn - @brookandlyn

Clare Viver - @seevivier

Collina Strada - @collinastrada

Cursive Design - @cursivedesign

Dirty Librarian Chains - @dlcbrooklyn

Dusen Dusen - @dusendusen

Erin Considine - @erinconsidine

Forage - @foragebowties

Gabriela Artigas - @ladyartigas

Laura Lombardi - @lauralombardi

Louisa Parris - @louisaparris

Mctega - @semclellan

Partners & Spade - @partnersandspade

Rachel Nasvik - @rachelnasvik

Rachel Rose - @rachelrose8248

Society for Rational Dress - @societyforrationaldress


Sophie Monet - @sophiemonet

TOMTOM - @tomtomjewelry

Toujours Toi Family Affairs - @toujourstoi_familyaffairs

Upstate - @kalenk

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A Year in…Studio and Home Tours

A slew of our designers were kind enough to play host.

Not to hate on Cribs and its entertainment value or anything, but sometimes it’s more appealing to explore the pad of someone with taste—who keeps more in the fridge than Dom and Perrier. In the last 12 months, these are the designers’ living quarters and work spaces we were lucky enough to invade:

+ Hillary Taymour’s (Really, Really) Amazing Home (see pic above)

+ Kalen Kaminski and Astrid Chastka Think Big in a Really Small Space

+ The Symmetry Goods (Home) Office

+ Kathryn Bentley Busts a Move

+ Peek Inside Blanca Monros Gomez’s Brooklyn Home

+ Sara Gates Shows Off Her Space

+ Erica Weiner’s (Three-Story!) House

+ A Tour of Annie Larson’s New Brooklyn Pad

Until 2012, you can get a whole 25% off the editions these designers made for Of a Kind—just use the code NEWYEARNEWGEAR on any purchase over $40. You’re welcome!

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A Tour of Annie Larson’s New (Brooklyn!) Pad

The designer just made a big move—and already feels at home.

“I’ve wanted to move to New York ever since—well, for a long time,” says Annie Larson, whose career started at Target HQ in Minneapolis, where she eventually launched her poppy knitwear line in 2009. “This place is just so exciting—nobody can deny that.” What’s also exciting is that she and her artist BF, Eric Carlson, scored themselves a borderline-palatial Bushwick, Brooklyn, home ideal for live-working and headed east in October. “We came out to look, and we found a place in the first half day. We just went shopping for the rest of the time,” Annie adds. Take a look at how they’re settling in.

Don’t miss out on the fantastic hats Annie knit us from her new home studio! Click here to score one of 44.



“This is sort of our office. My computer is the desktop, and Eric’s is the laptop—we sit on either side, like relationship corner.”



“That graphite drawing is one of Eric’s pieces. He does illustration, he does book design, he does physical installations, and he’s done skateboards and snowboards. We really had to pare down our record and tape collection when we moved—records are especially heavy. John Lennon is always on heavy rotation, and George Harrison has been getting some more play recently. I love classic rock, almost exclusively. Eric has more diverse taste.”



“We don’t have that many closets, so before we left Minneapolis, we bought 12 of these uniform white boxes that we call our deep storage. We each have six. I have one that’s called the Fashion Time Capsule. I’ve wanted to throw away so much of my old work over the years—stuff from college, stuff from before college, stuff I was working on when I was at Target—but I’ve dissuaded myself from it.”



“That crazy quilt has been in my family a while. We’re trying to figure out how to store shoes—that’s been a major issue.”



“There are some pretty amazing rugs on Etsy—I bought this one there. I found an acrylic one from the seventies in the shape of a tiger that’s so amazing. I had it in my basket, but when I showed it to Eric, he wasn’t into it at all. I think that if he came home and saw a tiger in our apartment—if it was already there, which it very easily could be at any time—what would he do, throw it away?”



“That’s my studio. I actually got rid of like 60% of my yarn stock before I left Minnesota. I recently bought a new knitting machine and some software. Now I do all my patterns on a computer and plug the machine in. It’s amazing—I can do so many different things.”



“The cast-iron rack actually came from my parents’ basement. We did a major sorting out of our hangers before we left. I got all of our hangers onto one rail and walked through like, ‘This one’s gone, this one’s gone, this one’s gone. We’re not keeping any that are electric blue, we’re not keeping any that are white, and we’re not keeping any that are thick.’ My whole theory of moving is not to move anything we don’t want.”

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Meet ALL Knitwear

Even as her business grows, Annie’s still making everything herself.

Annie Larson had never knit anything when she bought her 1980s sweater-creating contraption in January of 2009. “It looks intimidating and cumbersome, but it’s doing this activity with this uniformity and consistency that’s difficult for humans to achieve,” says the Wisconsin native who started her career in Minneapolis and made the move to Brooklyn in 2011. “I was really fascinated by it. While it does seem intimidating in certain ways, in others it’s pretty explanatory—it makes sense how it works. It’s not a machine that’s full of mystery. Once I started, I didn’t want to stop. I just wanted to learn everything so fast.” 

And so she did. Within a matter of months, the 27-year-old quit her job at Target HQ where she had worked on design for the juniors Xhilaration line and men’s sweaters—and where she first developed an interest in knits. Turning to work on her label ALL Knitwear full-time, she quickly developed a light-hearted but bold aesthetic—“optimistic,” as she puts it—using all cotton yarns. “It’s really different from making clothing in a more traditional sense—you know, cutting out shapes from fabric. I’m really interested in the process of actually constructing. That’s what I do everyday. It’s fun for me,” she explains.

Check back tomorrow for our second ALL Knitwear edition. And get on our email list to make sure you don’t miss it!

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Saveur x Of a Kind: Helen Rosner & Gabriella Gershenson Dive Into the Of a Kind Cookbook

Listen, our beat is fashion, not food. But since our designers love to cook, and we love to eat, we decided to put together a little PDF cookbook (that you can get for freezies just by signing up for our newsletter). We feel damn good about the result—especially considering peeps with real chops are giving it a kitchen workout. Behold: Helen Rosner (editor of Saveur.com) and Gabriella Gershenson (Saveur senior editor) whip up Annie Larson’s delicious-looking pancakes.

THEIR TAKE:

Here’s the truth: this was not the best looking dinner we’ve ever made. But we didn’t pick these sour cream pancakes for their beauty, we picked them for other reasons: their homey, comforting flavor, their ease of assembly, their unimpeachable gastronomic affinity for a side of bacon and maybe also a side of sausage and, okay, maybe a fried egg or two (and lots of maple syrup).

This recipe, Edna Mae’s Sour Cream Pancakes, turns out to have something of a serious internet pedigree. ALL Knitwear designer Annie Larson tells Of a Kind that she borrowed the recipe from Wiksten designer Jenny Gordy; we’re pretty sure Jenny got it by way of Deb at Smitten Kitchen, who herself adapted it from The Pioneer Woman, who was responsible for picking it up from its primary source: her mother-in-law, Edna Mae herself. We decided to keep the chain going, and made our own slight adaptation: Where everyone from Edna Mae on down calls for vanilla extract, we went with a teaspoon of vanilla powder—fine-grained vanilla seeds that look like coffee grounds, have a cleaner, more subtle vanilla flavor, and have the additional (and, as we quickly realized, not quite desirable) effect of turning the pancake batter a muddy yellow-gray-brown.

Unattractive as the batter may have been, once it hit the griddle (copiously greased with high-fat European-style butter), the kitchen filled with the smell of pancakes. Ten minutes earlier we’d put a rasher of Edward’s of Surrey, Virginia bacon in the oven to crisp (unable to choose between the many delicious varieties, we settled on peppered smoked bacon and cinnamon apple cured bacon, both delicious); five minutes after that we started their coarse-ground pork sausage patties in the skillet. It all finished at exactly the same time, and while we let the bacon cool enough to handle, we cracked a few eggs into the sausage-fat–coated skillet and fried them up. Dinner was served: salty bacon, savory sausage, runny egg yolks, and these ugly, exquisite, buttery pancakes drenched in maple syrup. We ate every bite. As dinners go, it was the best breakfast ever. helen and gabriella

MAKE ‘EM YOURSELF: Edna Mae’s Sour Cream Pancakes by Annie Larson of ALL Knitwear

Ingredients:
7 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
½ teaspooon vanilla
Butter
Maple syrup, powdered sugar, and/or whatever else you like for toppings

Directions:
Stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the sour cream, stir in gently. It’s okay if the texture is a little lumpy. Whisk together the eggs and vanilla in another medium bowl and stir in the sour cream mixture until just combined. Melt the butter in skillet over medium heat and pour batter ¼ cup of batter onto the skillet. Cook 2 minutes on first side or until bubbles appear on surface. Flip carefully, cooking for one more minute on the other side. Makes approximately 10 pancakes.

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