Continuing our wonderful series on some of the artists we work with here at LYCC, and to coincide with the launch of our workshops (on which more later), we are introducing the incredible Miriam (Mizz) Evans, also known by her company name 'Mizzknits'. Mizz specialises in knitting in giant yarn and her chunky, soft blankets and cushions can be seen on many an Instagram interiors page as their go-to accessory. She has also developed quite the following of her own...
After knitting for nearly her entire life, it took a rather nasty leg break for Mizz to pick it back up and recognise it as a business. Although admitting that "it was never much more than scarves or little wonky blankets for my dolls" when younger, this passion for wool lit something in her, which years later came back to keep her sane. "When I broke my leg a few years back, and was laid up for several months, friends suggested all kinds of crafty things to keep me busy, including giant knitting. I'd never heard of it, but I ordered a big ball of bright yellow giant yarn, looked up some YouTube videos, and was hooked!"
After months of obsessive making and frogging it out ("rip it, rip it"), remaking, and working out that you can do all the things with giant yarn that you can do with regular knitting (or crocheting), Mizz made her friend a big blanket in long, looping stocking stitch, in the brightest emerald green. That friend happened to be Katie Woods (Instagram: Come Down to the Woods) and, very quickly, requests started pouring in.
Mizzknits then grew organically, with opportunities coming that Mizz couldn't possibly turn down. Most importantly, at the core of it she says, " I really love making these wonderful woollies" and that love is what is constantly driving the business forward. Soon, she started doing workshops and found that sharing arm-knitting was so much fun. "It's been crazy busy (September to December, our home is taken over by boxes and wool!), but I still have total flexibility and control over my workload, and I love it because it's all mine."
After a succesful few years, Mizz went to on to meet Alex of LYCC after being gifted a candle (Serenity). The two stuck up a conversation and when Alex opened her city centre premises, she began stocking some of Mizz's work. Alex had always seen LYCC as something of a hub and a place to come and feel serene, and decided to share some of Mizz's workshops with her own crowd. The pandemic - of course - put a slight delay on the launch of the two business women's workshop, but finally, after a 16 month delay, the workshops are starting this week.
Starting tonight, Mizz will be sharing how to create a blanket using just their arms as tools. Teaching the main techniques: how to cast on, how to create the stitches, how to cast off, finish and care for the blanket. There are lots of colours to choose from, and no one has ever left without their own finished piece. There's always laughter and a feeling of achievement, it's fun AND relaxing, and a lovely way to spend a few hours without any other distractions. This will be the first of many workshops, so register your interest here.
For all upcoming knitters starting out, we asked Mizz some quickfire questions:
What is it you love (and think others do) about knitting?
There aren't many things in modern life that calm my mind. It feels like there's always more being poured into my brain – from people, podcasts, music, tv, devices. But when I'm knitting (and I have a pretty strong knitting with needles thing going on too – it's not just the giant stuff), I have to concentrate just enough on what my hands are doing, that my mind is free to neatly file away all the other things flying around. And who doesn't like to gaze lovingly at their finished bubble stitch sleeve?!
What wool do you use?
For the workshops I use giant acrylic yarn from a Yorkshire based company called Woolly Mahoosive. They have a stunning range of colours and it's a good price point for starters (giant yarn is really expensive). I use merino wool for most of the items I sell ready-made – it takes a lot of processing by hand, the knitting bit is a small fraction of the overall making, but it's pure luxury.
Any tips for starting out?
Ooof I don't know! I'm still winging it! Probably... don't say no when an opportunity presents itself. If it sounds good, say yes then work out how later.
So there you have it. To follow more of Mizz's amazing knits, check out her instagram and website.