This week, we’re introducing you to friend and fellow knitting fanatic - Vanessa Knits. She wows us with her approach to craft and constant cheery instagram posts. She adores a chunky knit and loves process as much as we do - in fact she is a self-confessed queen of ‘frogging’ - undoing a knit and starting again. We know what that feels like - the process dictates the journey! Read to find about more about her approach. 


The Endery: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Vanessa Knits: My name is Vanessa Coscarelli Black and I’m a wife, mom and knitter residing in New Jersey. Vanessa Knits Family  I come from a long line of various makers — tailors, shoemakers, chefs, painters, contractors — most everyone in my family has some sort of skill that requires their hands.  And I think that’s pretty great! I started my career in finance and while I learned a ton during my time in the corporate environment, I knew that long term, it was not the right career path for me.  I slowly transitioned my hobby into my small business and never looked back.


TE: How did you learn to knit?

VK: My mom taught me the only stitch she knew, the knit stitch, back when I was in college.  That produced a whole lot of garter stitch scarves! With the help of YouTube, I taught myself other stitches and technique and slowly got more confident with my skill set.


TE: How does knitting help you?

Vanessa KnitsVK: Knitting is something I do daily — whether for work (self-publishing designs, knitting physical products to sell, collaborations with yarn companies, etc.) or for pleasure (I’m currently on a sweater knitting fix)!  I don’t remember the last time I simply sat down to watch tv — if I’m sitting, there’s knitting on my lap. Knitting an easy project helps me relax at the end of a long day. Knitting stretches my imagination when I’m tasked with designing something new and innovative.  Knitting challenges me to push my skill set when doing the math for a new design (yes, there’s LOADS of math involved)! Knitting is simply a part of my daily existence and I cannot imagine my life without this craft in it!


TE: Tell us about how you deal with your ‘ends’ - the leftovers when you’re done with knitting. Do you have any creative ways of dealing with them?

VK: I’m quite stingy when it comes to fiber waste because the longer I’m in this industry, the more I’ve learned about how much goes into getting the yarn into my hands.  When designing, I’m cognizant of the excess of each skein and deliberately attempt to have the knitter use as much of the full skeins as possible. If I happen to have a significant amount of a skein leftover after completing a project, I may add tassels or pom poms.  If that’s not feasible, I’ll save the yarn in my stash and use it for color work in another project or for a scrappy project of similarly weighted yarns. I don’t ever recall throwing away yarn — waste not, want not is definitely my thought on this!


TE: Why is craft important in today’s society?

VK: Our society has become so tech dependent (addicted, I would argue) that I honestly worry that the next generation won’t know how to do simple tasks without first consulting Google.  My six year old son is already showing signs of being very creative and good with his hands. Fostering a love of art in whatever form a child is drawn to (fiber craft, painting, pottery, etc.) is something I think will be crucial for them to break out of this technology focused society we’ve sadly created.


TE: Tell us something interesting about yourself that most people don’t know.

VK: I’m an only child, a first generation American and the first in my family to earn a Master’s degree.


TE: How do you feel when wearing a handmade garment as opposed to something mass produced?

VK: There is absolutely NO comparison!  Vanessa Knits Everywhere HatAs I said earlier, I’m on a sweater knitting kick at the moment.  This week alone, I’ve broken out my hand knit sweaters and worn FIVE in a row.  Doing so takes me back to what I was doing when I knit it. It reminds me of the yarn shop I visited to source the yarn.  It encourages me to try an even more complicated pattern next time. It really makes me immensely proud to wear a garment that I knit with my own two hands.  


TE: Why do you think The Endery is important?

VK: There is entirely too much waste not only in the fashion industry, but in this world all together.  I love that The Endery is creating beautiful garments and accessories with deadstock yarn that otherwise would have gone to waste.  The mission is important and I am excited to see it grow!


TE: What is your experience with alpaca?

VK: It is one of my favorite fibers to work with.  The breathability of the fiber coupled with the warmth it provides simply cannot be matched.  In working collaboratively with Pichinku Yarns as well as Amano (both companies are based in Peru), I’ve had the opportunity to design many pieces with this beautiful fiber.


TE: And finally, what is your favorite piece from The Endery’s Alpaca Series I?


Vanessa Knits Everywhere HatVK: Do I really have to pick a favorite?!  The Everywhere Hat is a staple in my wardrobe because I can grab it on a cold day (or a bad hair day, let’s be honest) and run out the door.  The Covert Cardigan is probably my favorite garment because it’s business in the front — and party in the back (sorry, I had to)! The pops of color in all the pieces are fun, modern and timeless.  I love them all!

November 21, 2019 — Ellen Saville