A Daddy Lion Legs piece is unmistakeable -- thick knitting stitches run diagonal and in tube-like formations, brightly-colored fabrics clash pleasantly with muted yarn. And the designs -- all one-of-a-kind, made-to-order pieces -- come from a single knitter, Jennah Black. What started out as a hobby is now a part-time job, and Black hopes to make it a full-time thing, as she knits every spare moment she can wrangle.
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"I'm trying to turn it into a small business for myself," Black explains. "It kind of just started out as a hobby. I lost my job two years ago and I didn't want to just sit on my ass."
"I learned from an old lady at a nursing home where I used to work -- she taught me how to knit," Black continues. "She gave me her very first pair of needles. I just fell in love with her and the art, and just had to keep teaching myself."
Though relatively new to the age-old craft of knitting, Black shows real talent, and conspicuous style. Specializing in headwear, she's found ways to make hats and scarves into one comfy, wearable piece. She also knits chunky headbands and exaggerated, handkerchief-patterned neckwear adorned with big buttons. "With all of my first orders, I made them with a pattern. Then I re-did them the way I wanted them to be. Now, a lot of my stuff I design myself. The patterns took too much of my concentration -- I wanted to be watching Lost," Black says with a laugh. Originally just taking orders from friends, she worked partly off of request, partly from inspiration. "I've found that I do a lot better with orders if people kind of give me an idea of what they're looking for," she notes. "I go from there, designing the rest -- I really go deep into their personalities."
Recently branching out with a Daddy Lion Legs Facebook page and with a website in the works, she's starting to get orders from people she may not know personally. But Black is game for new orders from new clients. "I get orders weekly -- it is a lot of fun. I have a job now, but it's part-time. I'm basically like an old grandma on my free time, crocheting and knitting in my underwear at home," says Black.
And the origin of the brand's name? "A daddy longlegs' body looks like a lion's head -- literally," she explains. "Like, if you examine the spider, that's what they look like. So I thought, I'm going to call it Daddy Lion Legs and have (the logo) knitting with all of its legs. I came up with it with a friend of mine, and then threw the name at Kayln (Heffernan, Black's girlfriend), because she's really good with computer stuff, and she designed the logo."
For now, Daddy Lion Legs pieces can be ordered through Facebook; Black says she's been talking with a local artisan-based business about carrying the brand in a physical store. In the meantime, watch for Black's alter-ego, Ghost Face Knitta, yarn-bombing a piece of public art near you.
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