Knitting together creative opportunities
Kristin Nicholas in her Leyden Glen Farm studio. Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »
Kristin Nicholas work Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »
When Mark Duprey and Kristin Nicholas decided to get married, they moved to Pepperill and then Groton and she worked for a yarn company in Lowell while Mark worked at various sales jobs before moving to a 1751 Cape-style house in Leyden in 1999.
They raise their lambs primarily for meat, selling the 2,000 pounds or so of wool sheared from their sheep each summer to a New Hampshire farm that has it woven into blankets on Prince Edward Island. Nicholas has a reputation in her own right as a designer and knitting expert.
She maintains a studio in their Leyden Glen home — about two miles from the Bernardston farm as the crow flies — but a five- to 10-minute drive around East Hill. There, in a space featured in the current issue of “Where Women Create” magazine, Nicholas writes books on knitting, develops courses on knitting and embroidery and designs yarn.
She’s had nine books published on knitting, embroidery and stitchery, with another two embroidery books underway. Her knitting and embroidery patterns are sold on her Kristinnicholas.com website and elsewhere on the web and she designs two lines of yarn: “Color by Kristin,” a Peruvian-spun blend of wool, mohair and alpaca in 26 colors she adds to each year, as well as Regia’s “Garden Effects,” a sock yarn.
On top of that, Nicholas teaches knitting and crocheting on PBS’s Create channel — there’s even one on how to knit a mink stole — as well as on the Internet sites Craftsy and Creative Bug. Plus, for the past five years, she’s done studio workshops, attracting people from as far away as Arizona and Minnesota who follow her “Getting Stitched on the Farm” blog and her online and on-air courses.
“I’ve been in the needlework industry since 1984 and most people think of me as a knitwear designer because I’ve designed hundreds of sweaters,” says Nicholas, who travels to Detroit for the PBS shows and recently traveled to Colorado for the Craftsy classes on crewel embroidery. “I have a following. People can buy a class (online) anywhere in the world and take a lesson from me.”
Nicholas has even designed a signature “Garden of Family Farm Life” line of wallpaper murals for Casart. Her images of a black lamb bleating on a hand-knit red striped sweater or a white lamb decked out in bright pink sweater with a trim of crochet flowers are among the farm-inspired note cards she sells online.
And Nicholas does her own gauche illustrations and photography for her books and also designs and photographs the lamb recipes she develops for the farm.
“People don’t know how to cook lamb,” says Nicholas, 53, who occasionally helps out on the farm as well. “The key to demand is I have to keep developing recipes.”
Mark adds, “My job is raise animals. Her job is to make me look good, because she’s good at marketing.”
On the Web:
— RICHIE DAVIS