I am a designer of knitwear and knitted textiles with a past in the performing arts.
Attracted to and inspired by luxurious fibers, I love looping yarns and manipulating them into interesting shapes, getting the visual rhythm going, repeating a motif.
I love the fact that a knitted textile can be created with just a single thread. The design is executed, and the yarn end is passed through the final loop. The knit fabric, a physical documentation of a beautiful and complex idea, is complete.
It was on a trip to Japan in 1983 (performing in the Broadway show Sophisticated Ladies) that I first became aware of the sweaters of Kansai Yamamoto. These were like no sweaters I had ever seen before: intricate stitches, bold fiber combinations, unexpected accents. By 1984 I had my very first knitting machine, a Bulky 8, which I dutifully packed and brought with me on the next road trip. I began designing and knitting my first sweaters while on tour, inspired by the wild designs I had seen the year before.
The next twist of my showbiz career, as a member of the electronic music group Silicon Soul, brought new development to my knitting. Between gigs, I studied draping, pattern making, machine knitting technology and design at Parsons School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology, at home in New York City.
O! Jolly! gradually evolved in the late 80's, alternately as a line of "fashion forward" knitwear and a creator of fiber art. The photos on the left are from this time.
During the 90's my knitted stitch patterns were purchased by leading fashion designers and retailers including Alexander Julian, Ann Taylor, Armani Exchange, Club Monaco, Federated Stores Product Development, Reebok, Jones Apparel Group, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
With the new millennium came my knitting/design hiatus in order to have the time to homeschool my son. It was also a time for conceptual design and forging plans on what was to come.
January 1, 2011 marked the reestablishment of O! Jolly! in SoHo, New York City. I'm very happy to be designing, knitting, sewing, and blogging (Crafting Fashion and Knitting in the fastlane) about machine knitting and working with knit fabrics. I'm on the adjunct faculty at the Fashion Institute of Technology, teaching Introduction to Knitwear Design to fashion design majors. I also teach at the Textile Arts Center. You can contact me or find me on social media here.
In April of 2018 I introduced How to Cut and Sew a Sweater, the first and only in depth, online course on the topic. My workshop is for sewing enthusiasts who are unsure of how to work with these beautifully textured, stretchy, and sometimes challenging, fabrics. Step by step I teach the ins and outs of working with sweater knits, while the student completes a beautiful pullover sweater to wear and enjoy.
Much of my design energy goes into developing fabrics for professionals and home sewing enthusiasts alike. My sweater knits are available in my online shop and at Emma One Sock. (Search keyword O! Jolly!)
As always, I'm eager to collaborate with others, to teach, and to learn.