Maine, United States

Making No. 2 / FAUNA Contributor Feature: Cal Patch
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Making No. 2 / FAUNA Contributor Feature: Cal Patch

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Enjoy an interview with Cal Patch, designer of the Nyla Hat for Making / FAUNA:

Note: The instructions in print contain an error.  The pattern state 112 yards of yarn required, it should read 170 yard.

Tell us how you got started in your craft.

I began my adult life with the intention of being a fashion designer. but i quickly learned that working on the clothing industry wasn't for me, primarily because what i love is MAKING things, not writing up specs and waiting for a sample to come back, made by underpaid workers! sorry, i'll derail the ranting right there. so my original career has veered off and followed an organic path of ways to support myself while pursuing my maker tendencies and love of fibers.

What is unique about your designs?

I think coming from a clothing design background influences what i create, and brings in a perspective beyond just the craft world. That said, i reject the notion of "fashion" and its implication that a piece could be "in" or "out" of style. i think style is personal and once we figure out what we like to wear, based on comfort, practicality, and aesthetics, we should stick with it. our style may certainly evolve over time, but not every 6 months.

Tell us about a challenge in your making that you've had to overcome.

I love to mix and layer techniques, so ideally i would draft, sew, dye, print, crochet and embroidery on every piece I make. and therefore each piece might take months or a year to complete! Ultimately this isn't at all practical and since I do sell clothes as part of my living, I've had to learn to simplify.

Why are you excited about the project you designed for Making?

I am SO excited about the Nyla Hat for about 100 reasons! But I'll limit myself to just a few: One is that I'm a bit of a Crochet Crusader, always trying to show people that crochet is gorgeous and you really can crochet with NICE yarn. So i love that this hat doesn't look like traditional crochet, and might lure people in before they realize it is, and by the time they do, it'll be too late to back out because they are *hooked* (apologies, i can't help it)! It's also fun that it's reversible and can be worn with the fleece-y side in or out. And I'm thrilled that it's my first design for women in MAKING, though i can see it working for men and littles too, and i explain how it's easily adapted to other sizes.

What's your favorite color?

I love all colors except black, which technically is the absence of color. My color preferences do rotate over time though, and I'm currently obsessed with plums and oranges and natural sheepy browns...

If you could collaborate with three people, who would they be and why?

My Dream Team might include Natalie Chanin, because she has single-handedly inspired thousands of women to pick up a needle and HAND-STITCH their own clothing, which I'd have thought not possible, Rei Kawakubo, because she's a radical thinker and design genius, and Daniela Gregis, because her clothing is so fresh and timeless yet completely wearable.

What currently inspires you most?

Everyday life is my constant inspiration. I'm always thinking of what I wish I were wearing at any given moment, based on where I am and what I'm doing.

Thank you, Cal!