Nancy Cook is the talented, multi-faceted knitting genius behind Wool and Violets, our partner in a capsule collection of luxury knitwear just launched in Australia. We caught up to hear more about her journey with knitting and other creative pursuits which include being a DJ, playing guitar in a band called Megasparkle, and curating vintage clothing for her label, Crash Doll Vintage.
1. Thanks for being so amazing and knitting these treasures for the Hearth Co audience. I’m curious, which is your favourite piece in the collection?
My favourite are the Winter White sweaters (Editor’s note: that’s jumpers for the Australians!). They are so soft and dreamy. I would wear it over a white slip dress and carry a silver sparkly bag in the evening with silver shoes or a black vintage handbag and black pumps.
2. Tell us a little about you and your love of handknitting...
My love for hand knitting really took off after the birth of my first child, Matthew, though I had learned a few years prior. Being home with small children I would find quiet and creative expression through all the tiny stitches and enjoyed watching the pieces grow. I taught myself more and more difficult patterns and then started creating my own. I would often stay up until one or two in the morning just to finish something, and start something new when I woke.
3. You're part of a lovely creative collective there in Maplewood; what's that done for your own artistic journey?
I was always creating, designing and making art on my own for many years. I am lucky to now live in a town filled with creative people.
My friends in Maplewood have collaborated with me in so many ways. I would say the creative journey really began to take off in my town for me with the Blue Scarf Collective - a feminist art group that was started by Sherry Sacks. We did two amazing art shows together that I also DJ’d at. I then began working in small business curating pop ups, art shows, music shows, seminars, tastings etc at Maplewood Mercantile. I continued to make art and show it. A few years back I began collaborating with other musicians, learned guitar and bass guitar and put out an EP with Megasparkle in 2020. I sew and design clothes a lot and enjoy hand stitching. And, I continue to work with bands and musicians putting on music shows for my town on a monthly basis.
4. Your other passion is vintage clothing. Tell us a bit about your latest enterprise, Crash Doll Vintage!
Crash Doll Vintage is a business I began one week into Covid. Knowing that I would not be able to keep my 3 jobs in small business and do my event planning, I had to think fast on my feet. It was a natural choice for me as I have always loved fashion and vintage clothing. The business has brought me so much joy, creative expression and opened many doors for me. I started doing open air markets in September of 2020 and then was given an opportunity through Chashama to bring my business and all my art to NYC- they gave me a 3,000 square foot space on 14th Street which was wonderful. I was awarded a grant and a second opportunity in Bryant Park. Many local businesses in town have supported me and allowed me to do pop ups in their stores. Currently, Crash Doll can be found in two locations in Maplewood and one in Montclair.
5. Any handmakers you're loving and following right now?
Oh, I love so many makers. It’s so hard to pick! I always enjoy seeing what my friend, Hollie Velten-Lattrell is up to. She has been creating paper mâchè vessels, large toile fabric heart shaped pillows and recently started 'Spaces', an interior design venture that is colourful, whimsical, bright and happy.
Love this. Thanks so much Nancy!
To read more about the luxury knitwear capsule collection for Hearth Co. go here.