We are so happy to welcome Carrie Bostick Hoge of Swatch Diaries and Quince and Co. to the Whitknits.com blog! Carrie lives in Falmouth, Maine, just outside of Portland, and is the Art Director for Quince as well as a prolific knitwear designer. Carrie has been kind enough to donate some incredible prizes to two lucky winners in a drawing at the end of the month. Gift and drawing information is at the end of this post, but no skipping ahead! Enjoy this lovely interview with Carrie! We are very proud of it.
First of all, thank you SO much for agreeing to this interview!
Many of us know your design work and knitwear photography. Can you tell us when you started knitting and when you started taking photos and how the two converged?
After a few lessons throughout my childhood (from my mum), knitting became a serious hobby in my early twenties. Actually, it was just about the time that I was graduating from Parsons School of Design for Photography that my interest in knitting grew. The two first merged on my blog, where I have been photographing swatches and yarn in my studio for years now. Professionally, the two didn’t merge until I worked for Classic Elite and I was asked to shoot a Curvy book. I had no idea what I was getting myself into!
The model that you work with a lot for Quince, Chloe (I think?), is stunning. The photos you have taken of her are elegant and timeless I think. Can you tell us about how you found her and how you two have developed as model/photographer? I count 16 designs by you with her as the model. (Readers, see below photos of Chloe with links to the patterns)
I met Chloe at Whole Foods, actually. I saw her working there one day, looking stylish and intriguing, so I sheepishly asked her if she’d be up for working with Pam and I. I’m so glad she said yes for Chloe is so easy and wonderful to work with. We have had (at least I think so) great “chemistry” together right from the start.
Did you go to school for photography or design or are they both just hobbies that became a career?
As I mentioned above, I studied photography in college. I never really figured out what I wanted to do with the skill, though, and I struggled to figure this out. I tried photographing weddings and parties and family portraits until I gave it all up for a short time to pursue other avenues. I worked as a a barista, a shop girl, a florist’s assistant, a gallery owner, and a stylist. I wore many different hats before finding my way behind the lens again. In 2006 I met Pam Allen who hired me to work as a stylist for Interweave Knits. Little did I know this job would give me the opportunity to try my hand at knitwear design at (which I knew nothing about at the time) and, eventually would bring my photography skills back to life professionally. Pam has had a major impact on my life and I’m extremely grateful.
What camera(s) do you use?
I use a Nikon D700.
You currently work for Quince in Portland, Maine. Can you tell us how you scored such a cool job?
Basically, I just follow Pam wherever she goes. She left Interweave to be the Creative Director for Classic Elite Yarns and I was just lucky she needed an assistant, so I took on that position. Pam and I used to have long car rides down to the CEY headquarters (in Massachusetts) for our company meetings and we’d often find ourselves dreaming of a utopian yarn company. So, it’s a little devious to say but, that’s how it happened. We both left CEY in December of 2009, started working on Quince in January of 2010, and launched the website later that year in July. It‘s literally a dream come true.
We just interviewed Leah Thibault who is also in Portland and we all know that Hannah Fettig and Cecily McDonald are there as well. Can you talk a bit about the community and why it seems to be a haven for fiber and other artists?
I’m so thankful to have so many talented colleagues in my area! I really don’t know why there are so many fiber people here in Portland, except that there is an abundance of beauty and inspiration to be found in Maine. It’s a nice community of creative folk here. I’m so happy to be a part of it.
Peaks island is my family’s summer home and I always think your photos are taken there! Have you ever done a shoot on peaks?
Never as a photographer, but as a stylist for one of the Interweave shoots. It would make a terrific location for a Quince shoot, though! It’s such a neat place. Someday we’ll have to get out there.
When I look at your designs, the word that comes to mind is clean. They are simple designs but perfectly enmeshed with one detail that gives it character. Would you agree with this? Can you tell us what your design process is? Do you design for the yarn or does the design come to you and then you pick which weight?
Yes, I think you’ve described my style quite nicely. I like to create wearable silhouettes that feature one design element. I guess that has always been my approach to style in general—keeping things simple, thoughtful, unique and slightly beautified. My design process often begins with a stitch and a yarn that I’m interested in using and what it ends up on and how usually comes later. There’s typically a long period of “mulling it over” before I can commit to the final piece.
Just to make us all jealous, can you tell us if you can help yourself to whatever Quince yarn you want at any and all times? If so, that would be the best job perk ever.
Ha! Well, now that our office and warehouse are in separate locations, I order my yarn just like everybody else! But yes, I have access to the yarn at a discount and it is the best, if you don’t mind me saying so. I used to get it for free, but I felt bad since we’re such a small company. So now I have a nice employee discount.
How did you team up with Twist Collective?
Kate contacted me last year about collaborating and I was thrilled. We’v had a great time working together. I think she’s had fun traveling down to Maine for the shoots, too. It was definitely exciting to get a sneak peek at all the designs!
Jared’s so sweet and asked me to participate in his curated collections, Wool People. We have know each other since my CEY days when I laid out his Made in Brooklyn book. Both being photographers and knitters and would-be graphic designers–we have a lot in common. Jared has a wonderful aesthetic and it’s fantastic seeing my designs presented by another pair of eyes. I am so glad you like Benedetta! I’m really happy with this sweater and fortunately Brooklyn Tweed sends the garments back to the designers. I look forward to wearing this one.
Can you tell us about the addition of your beautiful daughter to your knitwear design repertoire? She clearly inspires you to knit amazing garments. Are Clementine and Odette collections inspired by Immie? Where did those names come from?
Oh, my little darling. Yes, she’s had quite an influence on my knits. I really love knitting and designing for her. It felt so natural after she was born so make things for her—it’s all I want to do! And seeing the stories come to life during our photo shoots is incredible. She almost becomes the character—a little girl Clementine or Odette. It’s so fun. The naming of Clementine was easy since it fit so perfectly with the stories color palette—3 shades of orange. And, Odette was just a pretty name I liked.
Can you show us photos of your stash and your work space?
Sure, but I’m warning you, it’s a crazy, cluttered space at the moment. I’m not as organized as I’d like to be. Maybe someday when I have more free time…
We love these photos! Also, a snow covered shed/studio might be every knitter’s dream come true…
If you could knit anything for yourself, what would you knit and what yarn would you choose?
Cirilia Rose’s Aidez in Osprey is in my queue right now. Hannah Fettig knit one in Osprey and I’ve been wanting to copy her ever since I saw it! I’d also like to make Scrollwork, the hat from the latest Wool People, in Shelter.
Just wanted to share with our readers a few of our favorite designs of yours!
Luna Scarf (look at this amazing light!)
and here is a photo of the Family Mittens…
She has also donated one copy of the Clementine Collection which includes the patterns pictured here:
Please make sure to read the entry rules below.
**To be entered into the drawing, you must be subscribed to this blog. If you are already subscribed and enjoying our content, please share it with your friends. If you are not subscribed, you can do so using the subscription box on the upper right side of this page. Once you enter your email address, you will receive an email with instructions to activate your subscription. This is a double opt-in process to guard against spam. If the email does not show up in your inbox, please check your junk mail or spam folder. You are not subscribed or entered into the contest until you respond to this email.
On February 1, a random number generator will be used to select the winner. The winner will be notified using the same email address as your subscription. Please make sure that you add Nancy@Whitknits.com to your address book. Winners will have one week to reply to the notification email before a new winner is selected. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you and good luck!**