KOEL Stories

Brand Highlight: Cocoknits

KOEL Stories
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What makes Cocoknits different from the rest is their drive to create products that help enhance and simplify the crafting experience. We were inspired by the brand’s thoughtful and considerate resolve with crafters in mind, developing a line of tools that are equally as functional as they are suitable for everyone. One such product that fits the bill impeccably would be their elegant and contemporary Accessory Roll. A fit-all-in-one pouch, you’d never have to worry over losing small and dainty notions. Open it up to reveal all the contents you need, and once you’re done, simply fold it back origami-style - your little ones are safe and secured. 

Based in Oakland, California, Cocoknits was founded by Julie Weisenberger in 2007. She ran her own knitwear company in the 1980s, designed sweaters for yarn companies and magazines in the 1990s, and is now the proud owner of her own pattern and tool company. She designs her crafting tools and accessories by first putting herself in every maker’s shoes, understanding the issues faced by the yarn-making community and works out a way to solve it. That is the reason why Cocoknit’s products are intelligently produced and of the highest quality, a must-have in every toolbox.

Learn more about Julie and the wonderful team of women behind Cocoknits, their all-time favourite tools in the Accessory Roll, and how they are spreading the love for the Making movement! 

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1. Tell us more about CocoKnits and how it started.
Our founder, Julie Weisenberger, learned to knit and completed her first sweater in college while studying at the University of Salzburg in Austria. Shortly after college, a shop owner fell in love with her designs and asked if she could sell them as a finished knit. Julie later found knitters in Ireland and sold her hand-knit designs in Henri Bendel, Nordstrom, as well as many other smaller boutiques. 

Eventually, she shifted to focus on designing for hand-knitters and conducting knitting classes. Her goal is to create customised patterns comfortable for all shapes, sizes, age and preference. After many years, Julie has developed her own Cocoknits Method of knitting, which is a top-down, seamless method that incorporates English Tailoring, set-in sleeves and customisable options written into the patterns. 

Throughout her journey, Julie has also designed tools and notions to help simplify the making process. Every item is a direct result of fine-tuning her personal approach and transforming every step into a delightful experience. To give one example, Julie often knits on-the-go and wanted a way to keep her from losing small knitting supplies. She then incorporated a metal element on her items and created the Maker’s Keep - a magnetic slap-bracelet which is capable of holding stitch markers, row counter and needles. 

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2. We love that all your products are not just beautiful, but functional as well! Share with us some of your best sellers.
We think it’s helpful to have tools designed for makers, by makers. Every item is a direct result of Julie creating something for herself, either because the products on the market weren’t suitable or doesn’t exist. Our top three products are: Cocoknits Sweater Workshop, Colorful Stitch Markers, and Colorful Stitch Stoppers. 

The story behind our Stitch Stoppers is the perfect example of our product development process.  Ever since Julie started knitting, she had an issue with needle tip protectors coming off while in a bag or from the force of too many stitches on the needles. She wanted something soft and flexible that would allow needles to slide into them rather than protrude out. For years, she made use of earplugs as an alternative and poked holes in them to fit her needles, but realised she required different sizes. That’s what prompted her to design our stitch stoppers in a variety of colors and size. 

Our book, Cocoknits Sweater Workshop, includes eight exclusive patterns, along with Julie’s 30+ years of knitting wisdom and tips on customising sweaters that will fit an individual comfortably. 

Our Colorful Stitch Markers aren’t just beautiful - we chose the colors so you can mark your pattern sections distinctly. The colors correspond with our Cocoknits Method, which follows an easy worksheet consisting of colored lines to help map out your knitting and keep track of your stitches.

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3. We think the accessory roll is a dream product for every maker. Tell us more about the inspiration behind it. 
As creative folks, it’s easy to make a mess of all the little items. We found that organizing our tools makes the entire creative process a much more delightful experience (this way we’re not spending extra time digging through all of our stuff to find that one teeny-tiny tool!). We designed it to fit most of our smaller items perfectly, but it’s great for a variety of little items from needles, beads, pencils, embroidery floss, wood carving tools, the list could really go on forever! We also keep extra Accessory Rolls around for jewelry, hair accessories, ear buds, chargers, and other small items that can be challenging to organize. 

4. Things you would find in our accessory roll would be…
Our Leather Cord and Needle Stitch Holder Kit, Stitch Markers, Stitch Stoppers, Cable Needles, Tapestry Needles, a Yarn Snip, an extra phone charger, and some rogue bobby pins. 

5. Things you would find in our project portfolio would be…
Sweater Worksheet Journal, a moleskin for extra notes and sketches, our phone, freshly sharpened pencils, and clippings from magazines for inspiration. 

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6. The Cocoknits team favourites?
Julie:
My favorite is whatever I am currently using! I always have my Project Portfolio with me, filled with the latest knitting or crafting magazines, my kindle, my worksheet journal, and a pencil.  The Project Portfolio is great for keeping all my essentials close to me while I’m traveling. I also get great satisfaction using the Leather Cord and Needle Stitch Holder to grip my sleeve stitches when knitting a sweater from the top-down. Even using the smooth, colorful stitch markers make the process of knitting such a joy! I could go on for days on end. 

Jennifer: It’s simple, but my favorite tool is the Knitting Row Counter. I always think I can remember the row I’m on or which increase, but I would inevitably get distracted and forget. Row counter to the rescue! I keep it by my knitting area on a Maker’s Keep, and it’s easy to wrap that onto the handle of my project bag while on-the-go. Since it has a lock at the bottom, the numbers will not jump ahead of my progress.

Jessica: The Accessory Roll. The pouches are the perfect size to fit all the tools I require. I love how I always have my Cocoknits tools, a pen, nail file, and chapstick in my bag whenever I need it. It also makes it easy for me to transfer from my WIP project bags.

Jane: The Jumbo Stitch Markers and Stitch Stoppers! I had no options for my US 19 bulky knitting before them, and now I can knit more complex patterns while keeping track of my stitches.

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7.  Most popular pattern? 
Our Emma (Version B) is our most popular pattern and happens to be the front cover image of our Cocoknits Sweater Workshop book! It’s a classic, a blank slate that’s perfect for first time sweater knitters and experienced knitters alike. We’ve seen this design as an open gauge t-shirt, filled with unique color work and with added cables. That’s the beauty behind the Cocoknits Method designs, you can play around with it and make it your own.

8. Thoughts on the yarn trend?
Well, as knitters, we think that yarn has always been cool. What we’re really excited about is the Making movement. It’s a breath of fresh air to see people trade their electronic devices for time spent on making things with their own hands. We think that handmade craft is vital for wellness, specially so in the current fast-moving environment. Crafting stands for something bigger than the finished product; it’s a stance for a slower, more mindful and delightful way of living. 

I am excited that makers are becoming more discerning about where their yarns come from.  Many of us not only love wool, but specific breeds of wool - cormo, romni, rambouillet. It’s not enough to simply buy yarn off a shelf; we want to know how its dyed and who spins it. Hopefully, this interest and passion will help the wool industry to thrive!

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9. What can we look forward to from CocoKnits in the next 2 years or so?
Right now, we’re focused on welcoming a wider variety of makers. We want to share the beauty of organising and simplifying. At the end of the day, we all love the process of making things. You can expect more colorful and ingenious tools, and Julie’s needles haven’t stopped clicking in 30 years, so more inspiring patterns are well on their way. 

Photo Credits: KOEL Magazine & Cocoknits