Olympic Knitting
Today's thoughts

Alabama Studio Style and chat with author Natalie Chanin

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My copy of Alabama Studio Style written by Natalie Chanin and published by STC Craft|Melanie Falick Books arrived last week.  To say I had been anxiously awaiting its arrival is an understatement.  Natalie's first book, Alabama Stitch, is among my favorite craft books.  It is jam-packed with inspiration and projects unlike any other craft book I own.  I was hoping that Alabama Studio Style would be just as wonderful and I am not disappointed.  It is absolutely beautiful to look at and the range of projects and recipes is fantastic.  They include a skirt, tunics, dress, tops and many items for the home.  I am already dreaming about what I am going to make first.

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I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to chat with Natalie about the book.  Here's what she had to say.

Erin:  How did you decide on the projects that make Alabama Studio Style so beautiful?

Natalie:  I think that we learned a lot about putting a book together with Alabama Stitch Book.  There was just so much that I didn’t know that first time around and I was very naive about how difficult it is to make a book!  With Alabama Studio Style, I knew that we wanted to include a dress, more home furnishings and recipe sections.  From there, I made a layout board on the wall that pretty much indicated each page in the book – this was something I did not understand the first time around.  With Alabama Studio Style, I feel that the book as a whole was very thoroughly planned.  I collected fabric swatches, colors and techniques together for almost a year before ever starting to make the projects.  After I felt that we had a good flow from color and style, we started making projects, writing instructions and putting together the recipes sections to go with the projects in the book.  From there, everything just started to fall into place.

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One thing that I absolutely adore about the new book is that there are a few projects with little or no embellishment (like the plain tank).  Did you make a conscious decision to include some simpler pieces this time?

Natalie:  That’s a great question!  It was a very conscious decision to include the plain garments – we call them Basics in our studio.  The garment patterns included in Alabama Studio Style are really my favorites and the pieces that I wear everyday and work into my wardrobe. While I love very embellished tops, skirts and dresses, I also love the simpler pieces for everyday living.  For example, the camisole tunic is one of my favorite pieces at the moment. I love to wear it over pants or a skirt and then to layer other pieces over and under it for these colder days.  A little secret: I sleep in the camisole tunic – very comfortable and looks great.

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Erin:  Oh, now I am going to have to make one for a nightgown too!  That's brilliant.  Alabama Studio Style has stitches and techniques that compliment the ones covered in your first book, Alabama Stitch, but that also work really well on their own.  Was it important to you that the techniques in both books could be used together as well as separately?

Natalie:  Thank you, I am so happy to hear you feel this way! It was really important to me that the books work both as individual books and as an intimate part of one another at the same time.  We worked really hard towards that goal.  I can’t wait to see how people interpret the two, take the information and then move beyond.  

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Erin:  The possibilities do seem endless!  I think that is why your books are so inspiring.  Just like Alabama Stitch, Alabama Studio Style is a visual treat.  What inspired you to chose the color palette for these projects?

Natalie:  I wanted the projects to really feel like part of a whole.  I did tear sheets, and fabric swatches and thought about this for almost a year.  Alabama Studio Style is also such a part of my home and personal life – most of the book was photographed in my kitchen and living room - that many of the color palettes are also very personal to me and the colors that I choose for everyday living.

Erin:  It's very obvious to me that you love what you do - it's evident in both of your books.  I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.  Thanks, Natalie!

. . . . .

You can also have a chance of winning a copy of Alabama Studio Style (or the STC Craft book of your choice) by visiting STC Craft|Melanie Falick Books and commenting on this post.  To read more about Natalie's book, follow her on her blog tour and visit her blog.

Thanks for visiting.  Back here soon.



What a cool book will for sure check it out (and loved all your brilliant questions : )



I have both of her books and LOVE THEM! I was honored to be a participant in one of her Weekend Workshops, too! I highly recommend going to North Alabama to learn from her! It was a weekend I will never forget!


I've been looking forward to this book. I love the first one, such beautiful inspiring photos, even if I haven't finished my skirt from it yet.

Meg Evans

Oh, man, I haven't even gotten around to starting the many projects that I want to make from the first book! I'm adding this new one to my wish list!


What a great book. I will have to check it out! Love your header Erin.


That skirt is amazing! How exciting that you got to do an interview with Natalie!


Thanks, Erin {& Natalie} for a wonderful interview!! I can't wait to get my hands on her new book! I also loved her spread in Southern Living... my sister's work was also featured in the Feb issue and as I turned the page and saw Natalie I was as excited {shhh, don't tell my sister} to see her spread as I was my sister's! Natalie represents the women of Alabama with grace & dignity and I'm always delighted and proud that she is proud of her hertitage and her home! My husband studied anthropology at Auburn and we have mutual friends with Butch, her husband. And, I can even say I've had the pleasure of being chauffeured by him through the streets of Auburn in his hearse! :) Thank you, Erin for a wonderful interview--- please be sure to show us any of her projects that you tackle. You are an inspiration!!


I adored the first book and have been steadily collecting jersey knits...I can't wait to get my hands on this one!!

Chelsea  Slaven-Davis

I had no idea she had a new book coming out -- it looks like a good one, indeed! +Chelsea


Oh good heavens! You know I've been drooling over my copy of ASB for a year now and still haven't done a project. I've got some sort of nervous block when it comes to handstitching.

OK, I hereby pledge that (if I don't win a copy) I will make a project out of ASB before I purchase the studio book. There, that should do it. Nothing like depriving myself of a pretty book to get me over a fear.


Thanks so much for the interview! I wholeheartedly agree about the book being fantastic! I got Alabama Studio Style last week and I have been carrying it around the house reading it cover to cover. I just LOVE it! Great inspiration, great projects...and just a great lady.


Fun interview. This book looks terrific!


When Alabama Stitch came out I was scared of knits. Now, like you I have overcome some of that fear. I would love to try out some of the things in the new book. Thanks for doing the interview.


Loved the interview. Can't wait to get this book.

Vintage Chica

Erin, loved seeing your photos of the book over on flickr...had to come by the blog to read more. Can't wait to get ahold of it in person.


Oh my! I didn't realize another Alabama book was out-- I owned the Alabama stitch book before ever owning a sewing machine...their reverse applique t-shirt skirts made me learn to sew. So excited-- thanks for sharing such a cool interview!


She really inspires me to finally sew more wearable things.

beth billups

i'm currently working on my bloomers skirt...it's slow going but it's going!


beth billups

oh and- great interview! can't wait to check out the projects in this one...

Erin | house on hill road

i think you hit the nail on the head: wearable.  i agree!

Erin | house on hill road

you are going to love that skirt! mine is one of my favorite things in my closet.

Account Deleted

holy crap, i want to make everything you've highlighted! thanks for the interview, erin!!!

Angela Loomis

This New England crafter is really looking forward to getting this book and making some of these great items - I especially loved seeing the tank in your interview - I'm always looking for that great basic item that can multitask from office to home to BED!

Jill G

Would love to own this book. Thanks for the great interview Erin, it's so helpful to get the inside scoop on the projects!


I forgot to comment yesterday, but this was a great interview. I loved reading the inside scoop from Natalie. Did you get to talk to her in person? There are so many great (and yes wearable!) patterns in this book. I need more cotton jersey.


Oh my! I have had my eye on this book. I would love to win a copy. :)
Thank you for the chance.


I would love this book. It looks interesting. And I could always learn new things.



Thanks for sharing the interview! It is so fun to hear from the authors about the books - as well is to pour over the pages themselves :)

Molly Irwin

Erin, thank you for such a thought-provoking post. I value the insight into process that Natalie Chanin used from a creative and practical point of view. This book has been on my wishlist and you've re-inforced that desire with each paragraph. If you offered a 'favorites' button on your blog this post would be in that category for me to re-visit over and again. And I will.


Erin, does the second book cover the techniques in depth as her first book does, or does it assume that you already know everything? In other words, is this a stannd-alone book or must it be bought with the first one?

Erin | house on hill road

It's a stand alone book.  They both cover all the pertinent basic techniques and each one has different ones that build on those basics.

Erin | house on hill road

thanks molly!


i adored reading this post. the pages of these books, look SO beautiful. you are inspiring me to craft.
: )


Thanks Erin and Natalie. Can't wait to see this book; there are so many things I want to try.


Haven't seen this one yet!
I love the skirt with the circles!


I adore Alabama Chanin's fabric techniques, and I love love love the work ethic they practice! Thanks for this interview! :D

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