“Out of the mouths of babes …” This Maker will say “out of the mouths of my teenage daughters …”
A graduate of FIT in New York with degrees in Fashion Design and Textile Production this Maker designed sweaters for a living. Working for 15 years with several design houses, both import and domestic, she especially loved working with the knitting mills in NY. Taking time off to raise a family, she became distanced from the changes happening in her industry.
In 2012, her daughter took an old sweater out of her closet, wore it, got many compliments, and duly turned to her mother and said she should start designing again.
Please meet Karyn Villante.
Her daughter’s challenge resonated and Karyn started looking into the possibilities of working again. Things had changed since Karyn’s years in the industry. Those mills that were left standing did not offer ‘small batch’ runs. Karyn knew she needed to find a knitter, a dye house and a finisher. Even if she got over those hurdles, would any of these master artisans work on a small order? The realities of the times were stacked against her and with her daughter’s challenge egging her on, Karyn persevered. In 2013 Karyn starts her new business under the name of MADE*HERE NEW YORK
The knitting process is quite technical and All New American has tried to simplify it. The company works in small batches which allows it to be nimble in design and efficient in manufacturing. Karyn’s process starts by her sourcing odd lots of yarn that would normally be tossed into a dumpster by a larger manufacturer.
There are several ways to dye yarn.
Piece Dying – Large rolls of fabric from the knitter go to a dye house and get dyed in large vats.
Garment Dying – The garment is dyed in garment form in a vat similar to that of piece dying.
Yarn Dying – Image bellow – Cones of natural yarn go on a perforated spindle and then into the vat.
For the above processes there are only 2 such dye houses left in New York!
Sometimes, if the odd lot of yarn is old, it gets brittle making it difficult to knit. It would break. In this case, the yarn needs to go through a backwinder where a small amount of wax is applied to the yarn.
Another machine, not used often as it is quite labor intensive, is the one below. Its job is to loop neck trim onto sweaters. It actually ‘knits’ the collar onto a garment rather than sewing it. However, it requires an operator to initially ‘loop’ each needle perfectly. Time consuming and expensive.
Working with real people, being hands on, and having a relationship with the person making the product are what drive Karyn to continue designing and making sweaters regardless of the headwinds surrounding American manufacturing.
Below, a knitter counting stitches with a pick needle and tape measure – getting it right for production.
A master knitter putting the finishing touches on their chunky cable throw.
And finally, the most exciting moment for Karyn is when she sees the knitdowns come right off of the machine.
MADE*HERE NEW YORK makes beautiful, quality American Made products.
This Jewel Neck Cable 100% cotton sweater, with a picot edge trim, has great attention to detail.
Their sense of color is exquisite. Storm and French Blue piles of sweaters
made out of Supima Oeko-Tex and Leeds Cotton certified grown in California.
Their beautifully constructed cotton blankets make you want to wrap yourself into them.
Each sweater comes with a handwritten tag with a different quote from a famous New York woman.
The saying below seems fitting from one of New York’s strongest and most determined women.
Or this one from Eleanor Roosevelt – “Do one thing every day that scares you.” And Karyn has!
Karyn is Doing, making sweaters and blankets in the USA. She keeps researching better ways to produce high quality American Made goods and how to use the best American factories have to offer.
All New American is delighted to present yet another ‘Made in the USA’ company. Since 2013, MADE*HERE NEW YORK, a small business located in New York, NY has been manufacturing beautiful knitwear, in small batches. The company is designed to give consumers an outlet to shop with a conscience and Karyn can be proud to be part of the American community that is fuel for the engine that makes America great.