Vickie Howell is the host of DIY’s Knitty Gritty, author of New Knits on the Block and the brand spankin new Not Another Teen Knitting Book, and also my good friend. Vickie and I are in the Austin Craft Mafia together, co-hosts of Stylelicious, practically neighbors and both red headed so who better to interview her on her book tour. Leave it to me to get to the bottom of such hot burning questions as “what was your hair spray of choice in High School for super stiff and big bangs”.
Not Another Teen Knitting Book is Vickie’s latest venture into the world of writing and the projects are cute enough to make me want to put down my jewelry making tools and pick up a pair of knitting needles (and I am nowhere near my teens!). Oh and actually if you didn’t think jewelry and knitting could be friends take a looksie at page 111 and the Year Book Staff bracelet that Vickie and I did together. There are adorable knitted Eiffel tower dresses, guitar straps and even fingerless gloves knitters of all ages are going to be pleased as punch as once again Vickie shows the world that knitting can indeed be edgy and hip.
JEN: You are always so awesome and supportive of your “familia” within the Austin Craft Mafia, even in Not Another Teen Knitting Book. As I mentioned you and I collaborated on the Wire Photo Bracelet, are there any other cameos in the book by ACM members?
VICKIE: Well, you know what they say, about a familia that crafts together! My ACM compadraes definitely collaborated on this project. Hope Perkinshelped me out with some of the make-up, Karly Hand did the photo styling for the interior of the book, and Susann Koheane lent us one of her shirts for the “Populars” shoot. I’m working on a new book now, Catwalk Crochet that Tina Sparkles is contributing too, so the family trend continues–I love my creative friends!
JEN: You have all the different high school cliques labeled in Not Another Teen Knitting Book: Granolas, Jocks, Exchange Students. If we were to go back in time to your high school what crowd would we find Vickie Howell running with? Where you actually knitting as a teen?
VICKIE: I was really crafty when I was a teen, but I wasn’t knitting then. I did some sewing, crocheting and a lot of card making. As far as groups go, hmmm…I guess most of my friends were cheerleaders and jocks but I also hung out with the drama and dance kids. I went to West High in Southern California, so there were also a lot of skaters/surfers that were my friends too. To be honest, I can’t bare to put a label on who I was back then. Ironic, eh?
JEN: In your high school picture shown in our project “Wire Photo Bracelet” I can see that you had large stiff bangs, like all the other teens of that era. What was your hairspray of choice? Any tricks to getting your bangs just right?
VICKIE: Aqua Net all the way! The key to the perfect high-bang is the curl-spray-dry combo. First you take a curling iron, pull it to the tip of your bangs and use it to hold your hair straight up while you hairspray the heck out of it. Then, still holding your bangs with the curling iron, simultaneously blow-dry the hairspray. Some singeing may occur but hey, it’s all in the name of big hair.
JEN: Not Another Teen Knitting Book is your second venture as an author. I know there is something in the pipeline for you, so go ahead and spill the beans to everyone about what you are currently working on in the realm of books? What other books could we find Vickie Howell projects in?
VICKIE: I’ve recently contributed to two cool books: Tease: 50 Inspired T-shirt Transformations by Superstars of Art, Craft, and Design (several other Austin Craft Mafia ladies also designed for that one) and Vogue Knitting’s Crochet Bags on the Go. I’m currently working on 3 more books of my own and am acting as a consultant on the Knitty Gritty book, which is due out in January.
JEN: In Not Another Teen Knitting Book you have a totally updated hip knitted Best Friend Wrist Band. Back in our days you went and got a pair of Be Fri and St Ends dangle rings. Who was your best friend in High School? Did you sign off on notes to each other with the salutation BFF 4/Ever or LYLAS (Love Ya Like A Sis)?
VICKIE: I didn’t really have one best friend in high school per se, but the person who was always in my life in one respect or another (and still is), was Sacha Bryant. I opted for the B/F/F 4Ever option.
JEN: You have gone from being a stay at home mom in California who learned to knit as a hobby to a rock star crafter and knit goddess with your own TV show, books and more. Did you ever think you would be knitting on the Today Show? Did you always have a master plan for world domination or are you totally surprised at your life?
VICKIE: Aww, thanks. I think that I’ve always had a plan for world domination of sorts, but not necessarily via knitting. I had always wanted my own craft show but always figured that I’d probably end up producing rather than hosting. It’s safe to say however, that it never even occurred to me that I’d be knitting on live television in front of a home audience of 10 million people. My life is silly sometimes, and I feel really lucky.
JEN: Flipping through Not Another Teen Knitting Book, I love all the adorable little illustrations. I know how you chose Dave Lowe to be your illustrator, but why don’t you let the rest of the world in on this little behind the scenes trivia.
VICKIE: This kind of goes hand in hand with your first question. Whenever possible, I like to work with my friends. I get a kick out of seeing a finished project printed with my name side-by-side people I know–it’s like creating little bits of “family” history. Dave is our set-designer extraordinaire for Knitty Gritty, Stylelicious and your new show, Craft Lab. I was thrilled when he agreed to illustrate for me!
JEN: What kind of car did you drive when you were a teen?
VICKIE: I wish that I could answer this by saying something cool like a Karmen Ghia or an old Mustang but really, I drove my dad’s old mazda sedan. I rode that car until it literally had to be towed away from over-use. When I graduated I got a cobalt blue Toyota pick-up, which I emblazoned with one lone “Hole” sticker.
JEN: Did you have a knitted steering wheel or seat belt cover like the project in Not Another Teen Knitting Book?
VICKIE: No! I don’t think I even knew they existed—I would’ve totally wanted one!
JEN: What heart throb adorned the walls of your bedroom in your teen years? Flipping through New Knits on the Blocks all the projects and even the book name is a play on an 80’s song title so I know there must have been some New Kids or Wham posters smiling down at you.
VICKIE: I didn’t really do the celeb poster thing—my mom was very anti putting celebrities on a pedestal—but I was really into Johnny Depp, Madonna and the members of Duran Duran and Depeche Mode. I also went through a brief Jon Bon Jovi stage, but I’d rather just pretend that never happened. Oh, and I totally had a crush on Andrew Wrigley from Wham. Where is he now?
JEN: When I was a teen the local Taco Bell was the awesome place to meet after school and hang out. Where did you go after school, and don’t say home to study because we will know you are lying.
VICKIE: I usually had some form of a practice after school and then had to go straight to work at one of my various jobs, so I didn’t get to go to any hang-outs very often. When I did though, we’d all meet up at this burger joint called Steve’s or down at 2nd Street in Hermosa Beach.
Thanks so much to Vickie for stopping by the Naughty Secretary Club blog on her tour. Here is a list of where she has been and where she will be this week on the rest of her whirlwind tour.
T 6/27 http://knit1.typepad.com/
W 6/28 http://www.naughtysecretaryclub.com/about/blog.shtml
Th 6/29 http://www.shelterrific.com/
F 6/30 http://elizabethlenhard.typepad.com/chickwithsticks/
Sa 7/1 http://www.pink-world.co.uk/blog/
Su 7/2 http://peptogirl.blogspot.com/
Also be sure and check out Vickie tomorrow morning on The Today Show. She is up in NYC as I type preparing to knit on live television in front of a bazillion people. We whipped up a fresh Wire Photo Bracelet just for her to take on the show. Try to pay attention to her knitting and not focus too much on the custom jewelry I made her to wear. Rumor has it she is wearing a pair of Naughty Secretary Club Revamped Vintage Earrings as well as a necklace I whipped up using one of a kind collage papers by Vickie and I’s friend the super talented Traci Bautista. So be sure and tune in tomorrow morning to cheer for Vickie, grab your copy of Not Another Teen Knitting Book and knit along!