[music] staci - we're here at the youtube la space,in los angeles california. and when i was planning this trip, i wantedto get the real knitting scene in la. and i asked facebook where i should go andwho i should talk to, and judy graham's name came up several times. you might know judy from her youtube channeland her website, which is knitting tips by judy, she has videos out. but the thing i'm really excited to talk withjudy about, and what really makes her a los angeles icon, is that she is who the moviesand tv talk to when they want something hand
knit, custom designed, or custom designed and knitfor tv and movies. so she has some good stories to tell, hi judy.thank you for being here. judy - hi staci, thank you for asking me. staci - yes, she drove all the way out hereto the space so we could sit outside here. being from texas, this is a real treat forme, to be outside and not sweating in the summertime! judy- right! [lauging]
s - so you have the youtube, your youtubechannel, and your website, but you've been in knitting business much longer than thosetwo things, right? j - oh, absolutely. before all the technology. want to hear my story? s - yes! well, the name of your company is topaz knitwear. j- topaz knitwear. but basically i started knitting when i wasthirteen years old, many many years ago. and i just always knitted.
got married, knitted, you know. had babies, knitted. s - lifelong knitter. j - lifelong knitter. at at one point, i was living in new york,and we moved to new england, where i opened a little craft store. where we sold supplies for weavers, glassbeads, pottery, you know, all that. and i started experimenting with weaving yarnsthat were very thin and fine. to see what i could come up with.
and i have one to show you here. s - okay. j - of one of the very early knits. s - this is knit, not woven, though. j - this is knit. s - wow! this is gorgeous! j - and it's made with rayon bucle yarn, onthe finest needles. s - how many years ago did you make this? j- this is about, uh, 38 years old.
s - i'll tell you, this looks like somethingi'd see in interweave knits. it is high fashion right now. j- right, i know. things come around, andgo around, yeah. s - the stitches are so tiny. j - the stitches are tiny, it's two pieces,increase for the little cap sleeve. s - right. j - and sewn together at the shoulder, andthe two side seams, and that was it. so, then i moved to la and i met someone whowas an actress, and she knew my knits, and she said you should bring them down and showthem to the costume people.
so i had a little basket of maybe six or sevenknits, i don't call them sweaters, i call them knits. j - and i went to the costume designer, itwas for a show called rhoda, i don't know if you remember it. s - i know rhoda! parker's smiling, too, offset.he knows rhoda. j - it's a spinoff from mary tyler moore,and rhoda just wore outlandish hippie clothes. s - yes! like things on her head. j - things on her head, and scarves, and everything. so, anyway, the costumer designer said, great,i'll take them.
s - wait, did you bring them in there to bringthem to them? j- no. s - you expected to leave with your knits? j - no, i brought them in to sell. s - oh, you did, okay. j - and she took them. and said, oh, thisis great, i'll buy as many as you can make, as fast as you can make them. so do-do-do-do-do. s - hahah!
j - there i go. s - you were hand knitting. j - i was hand knitting. j - and hand dyeing, you know, doing the wholespiel. s - wow. j - so, eventually that costume designer introducedme to other costume designers, and more and more. and i was just, i was considered the sweaterlady. s - the sweater lady.
j - and i was, you can't do this anymore,but i would go to the studio, take out a big black garbage bag, and just go from one stageto another and say do you want this, you know. and then people would say, well, i like this,but i need it two inches longer, two inches shorter. s - you were talking with the costume people. j - i was talking with the costume people. and, you know, can you make it in yellow,instead of blue, you know, just little changes, so it was just getting beyond what i coulddo by hand. s- right.
j - so, i put an ad in the paper. this was before craigslist or facebook oranything. s - in the newspaper. [laughs] j - newspapers! remember newspapers? so, looking for knitters. and everyone thatanswered my ad was a machine knitter, and i had never heard of a machine knit. j - knitting to me was this! j - so, i started interviewing people, andeventually hired people that could transpose my handknits over.
s - they can actually take the handknits thatyou write and put them into machine knits? j - no, they would take the actual sweater,you know, and copy it. j - without my writing, because patterns aretotally different on paper and machine. s - right, they would be. j - i never learned how to use the knittingmachine. s- you havent? i don't know how to use iteither. j - no, it's beyond me. it's like you do this. s - so this is really interesting. you, youto this day use machine knitters, but you don't do the machine knitting yourself.
j - correct. s - you hand knit the sample. j - sometimes. sometimes i knit a sample,sometimes i just get a photo a picture, a drawing, the drawing can be on the back ofa post it. or it can be really big. i'll show you... s - well, let's talk about, yeah, let's showsome other knits. will you show this one? because this, when people here at the youtube space havebeen asking me about this interview i have today, i say her name is judy, and give alittle thing.
and then all i say is freddy krueger sweater. and everyone is "ohhhhhh!", that's who you'retalking with! [laughs] j - well this is all i have left of the original. s - this is enough! yes, this is enough! werecognize this, and we're all scared! [laughing} j - it's really funny, because i had no ideawho freddy krueger was or the whole cult thing. s - well you had to make a sweater beforehis first movie, right? j - well, no, actually there was a first movie.i thought i made the sweater for the first movie.
j - but i found out from all these fanaticsthat are out there, that i did not. s- oh, yeah. yeah. j - the first movie did not have stripes onthe sleeves. s - that's a sleeve! j - this is a sleeve! [laughing] j - so, from the second one on. and this wasmade out of acrylic which is, the company has been out of business for ever, but afterthis first one they switched to wool. because it had to burn and tear, and you know.
s - right. oh, we all know what happens tofreddy krueger in the movies! j - so the last movie, they actually changedthe colors. s - oh! j - and i'm going to show you something. this is what i got. i'm going to take it outof the plastic, i think you can see it better. s - okay! j - can you see that? good, so they wanted it darker, and deeper,and... s - [laughs] creepier!
j - creepier! and so they came up with thesecolors. which are just totally, totally different. s - well, when was this last movie? j - about four years ago. s - okay, because as a teenager, i rememberthese being the creepy colors. j - uh, huh. s - okay, yes. j - so this was the first time it had changedin all these years. even when this acrylic was not being used,it was always bright red and olive green.
j - so that's my freddy... s - do you know, somebody, when i asked onfacebook and people were suggesting that i talk to you, and there was a little freddykrueger discussion. someone said that they made a happy littlechristmas stocking. and when they finished knitting it, they werelike, oh no! j - [laughs] s - it looks just like freddy! so. j - i do get emails often saying, can youmake me a freddy krueger sweater. i always say no, i can't, because i don'town the franchise.
j - but i can make you a red and green sweater.or you can make yourself a red and green sweater. s - that's what i tell people. i'll teachyou to make it, but i won't make it for you. j - yeah. s - so, you had to make a lot of these. j - oh, my gosh. the last one, this one, ithink there were 68. s - 68! s - okay, i've read your whole website, andi have not heard that number! s - because, well even in the pictures whereyou see freddy krueger, its shredded. j - burned and shredded.
s- so you hand over these beautiful sweaters. j - beautiful. s- and then all 68 of them are torn to bitsand a mess. well, that is exciting! what a thing to haveon your resume! because everyone knows this. s - wow! j - barbara streisand. this was probably oneof the biggest thrills of my life. she was working on a movie, and i was makingsome knits for the movie, and the costume designer said, you know she has this idea. she wants to do a little concert in her home.
very casual, just wants a skirt and like aturtleneck top. no big deal. so would you like to do it? and yes, of course. i met with barbara. now i usually do not meetwith the actors or the actresses because i don't want to get involved the, what i call,minutia. j- of it all. but i did meet with barbara. and she said yes, i just want like a turtlenecktop, and a long skirt with a slit up the side. and i would like for it to be silk. okay,fine.
so, i found this beautiful silk and wool yarn,and i made this outfit. s - oh! nice! which camera should we show this to so wecan get this clearly? look at that! i know this album cover. j - yeah, and you know it was on billboards,and it was on the cd, and, you know, the magazines. s - let's hold this up, you can see this. i recognize this. that is great and beautiful,and such a lovely drape on that silk. j - yeah, beautiful, beautiful. s - and this picture that you've been holdingup is actually an autographed "dear judy"
picture. and you went - there is more of this story. j - yeah, so my husband and i went, were invitedto the dress rehearsal. and we had to go to a secret place and geton a bus, and be taken on winding roads so that we wouldn't know where we were going. and when we got on the bus, the costume designersaid, by the way, two other people have made outfits for her, so we don't really know whatshe's going to wear. s- oh. j - so i said, okay. so we get to her house[laughs]
s- yeah! j - and it's like an amphitheater in the backyard. j - and it was very casual, but it was ratherlarge! and anyway, it's going to start, and the smokemachine starts, and the curtain opens. s - that's kind of a fancy house. i don'thave a smoke machine in my house. j - no, i don't, you know, i used to haveone but i got rid of it! s- hahah! j - anyway. the curtain opened, and i sawone leg came out, and then i saw white, and it was in fact the outfit.
s - the outfit! wow, and that slit on that leg, that is great. j - and after that, she became by best friend. and she wanted this outfit in every color,we switched to cotton. because she wanted every color, and she wantedone for her new york house, and one for her la house and it was like many many many. but then she found a new best friend. and her name was dia...donna karan? s - oh, have you ever heard of donna karan?
j - she made sweaters, also! j - so it was bye bye judy! s - so here we are in los angeles, droppingnames! look at this! okay. j - so that's my barbara streisand story. s - wow! that is great! that's something! j - that's what i was given for forrest gump. s - forrest gump's striped socks. j - yes, it was on the cover, you know, thebillboards, everything with his little socks. of course, i got a little more information.they wanted stripes, fair isle, red, blue,
you know, whatever colors. s- wait - so it was several pairs of socks? j - it was several pairs of socks. but onlyone made it to the screen. s - but it's also in the movie poster. j- it's on the poster. s - were those hand knit? j - those were not hand knit, no, they weren't. because they couldn't be. because, again,they needed multiples and fast and quick. i think somewhere i have a picture of thesocks, i'd have to...
s - well, anybody can right now google forrestgump, and look at the movie poster. and he's sitting there in a cream coloredsuit, i think. j - i think so, yeah. plaid shirt. i also made some other things for that film.i made sally field's bed jacket that she wore when she was dying. j - that was beautiful pink angora. and a couple of sweaters, and that was a funmovie. s - yeah! that is great! well, if you ever get bored, you can alwayslist this on ebay and see how much this little
piece of cardboard is worth! j - you're probably right! this is another autographed picture that ihave of chevy chase. s - [laughing] ohhh! and what movie is this? j - this was for vacation. s - right, okay. he's such a dad in that movie. and it's a black and white picture, and it'sa hip length cardigan.
j - yeah, tweed, shawl collar, basic old man'sbookstore, kind of. and it says, to judy, how about the turkeyin the sweater! s - i get it now! turkey in the sweater, becausehe's carving a turkey. j - so that's one of my fun mementos. s - yes, that's very cool. hopefully you cansee that well. j - a photographer came to my house. s - ooooooh! j - and he was there for three hours, tryingto find the perfect shot. and finally i took the knitting needles andlike stabbed them in my head, like get out
of here already! s- because you were so frustrated [laughs] this says "mother of purl", with "purl" beingspelled the knitting way, celebs go nuts over judy graham's knits. let me show this picture here. j- that's before my hair turned white. s- you had bright red hair! s- that is great, and then there's a pictureof, this is really small to see, but it's from the tv show friends.
tell us about that. j- i made a lot of things for friends, everyweek they would buy something new. it was for all the different characters, itwas great. s - were they telling you what they wanted?or were you making things. j - i was at that point i was making things,my own designs, and schlepping them to the studio. j - and then, like i said before, they wouldsay, well, it's nice but i'd like it in red, you know. courtney cox only wears red, and phoebe onlywears earth tones.
j - it was like that. and then a couple more pictures. s- we have whoopi goldberg here. in... j - burglar. burglar i think was the nameof the movie. j - and of course freddy. s - and waterworld? j - waterworld. s - okay, do you have things from waterworld?it's actually going to be hard to see these pictures on camera.
s - ooohhh. and the husband and the dog. j - and the husband and the dog. this is not from waterworld, but it's fromthe same designer that did waterworld. s- wow. this makes you think waterworld, becauseof the colors. j - i know, and this is the drawing that igot. with a little note on the bottom, can youdo this? s - can you do this! well they gave you a nice drawing! j - they did! it was really, really nice.
and they wanted it very thin, and very sexy,and so, i used... s - do you know what movie this was for? j - this was for the postman. s - the postman? j - you probably don't even remember it. itcame and went. s - i remember an italian movie called ilpostino. j - no, no. this was with kevin costner. s - i want to see if parker nods about thepostman. j - but it's a little dress. i don't havemany things left over, but i made it.
s- this is such tiny stitches! j - and this is actually the same yarn thatmy scarf is made out of. s- okay. j - which is... s - a thread! j - [laughs] yeah! but this is knit very tight, on the tightesttension that the machine can get. this is of course, knit very loose. s - very loosely, yeah.
s - that's great. so, did you have to make more than one ofthese? j - yes, many more. and then i thought, oh,these are gorgeous, they should sell in stores, they're beautiful. but, you know, it didn't. [laughs] s - and then you were probably on to the nextthing, anyway. j - on to the next thing, yeah. i did have a line that i sold in stores fora couple of years. but it was before the gap, and all that, whenpeople were willing to spend a lot more for
hand knits, for hand made sweaters. s - well, people are still willing. j - still, but it's a lot of work. you really,you need the name. and i didn't have the name at that time. thiswas a long time ago and just thought, well, i've got enough going on. s - well, this trunk of exciting stuff tellsme that you had a lot going on! j - yeah, let's see. s - i can see in the trunk to see what's comingup! [lauging}
j - i brought this for no other reason thanto say it was touched by george clooney. s- oh! can i touch it, too? j - [laughing} yeah! s - can i take this home? put it under mypillow? s- touched by george clooney, and staci perry. s - wow! that was funny that you brought that,judy. j - oh, i just thought well, you know. s - were you making a sweater for him? j - it was actually a scarf.
s - okay, now i've had my brush with greatness. j - right, right, there you go! j - this was for how the grinch stole christmas. j - lots and lots of hats, which i made allby hand. because they could be as crazy as they wanted,they didn't want any duplicates, they just wanted them all to be, you know, christmasy,but different. j - so, can we see that? yes, okay. yes, i recognize. well, i can picture in myhead that movie and the hand knits. because it's chrstmastime, and it's cold.
j - yes, christmas. um, this is kind of funny. this was for a commercial. i was asked tomake a sweater for a beer can. s- okay, what was the story that there wasa sweater on a beer can? j - i have no idea. s- did you see the commercial? j - no. s- really? wouldn't you - i would have goneto great lengths to see that. j - yeah, like okay. whatever you want. s - yes! did you have to make like 800 ofthem?
j - no, just one. s - one sweater for one beer can. j - one sweater for one beer can. s - tell us about this one. j - that was for a british airline commercial. and the idea behind it was that they're alwayson time, but no other airline is. and there was a woman on board that had abag of yarn, and she taught everybody how to knit. and they had to wait so long before they tookoff, that everyone made something. a hat,
a scarf, mittens, whatever. s- so in the beginning everyone had nothing. j - nothing. s - they had to wait so long, all using thesame yarn, that there is a ton of all these things in the same colors. j - right. s- but at least they traded yarn, so theyhad stripes, at least. j - right, yeah. j - right, right, so.
s - that's funny! j - so, it was really, you can't see here,but, lots of different things. s- that's great. okay. j - so, let's see. this is for the movie mousehunt. and the premise was that he gets his suittangled in a machine, and it all comes apart. so it was a suit, a vest, and a tie, thatwere all knitted. and as you know, when you knit you start atthe bottom up, and it unravels from the top. but no, no, no.
s - you had to knit top down. j - top down. s - let me show this picture. j - it really looked like a suit that wasoff a rack in a store. i was so proud of it. s - yeah, in knit. it does! s - and so it all came apart? j - all came apart! and that was really funto watch. s- that's great! christmas sweaters.
j - this was for hot in cleveland. and they were doing a campaign, and they calledme and said we need some ho, ho, ho sweaters. s- and all the ho ho hos completely perfectlyline up, with the three differently - j - that was the problem! [laughs] they're all different heights. s - yes! j - but the ho ho ho had to all be lined up. this was for an ad campaign, it was on a billboard,it wasn't in the show. the only one i did not make was betty's, theblue one.
s - yeah. i can see that. but this is all custom, the snowflakes arein different spots. j - this was kind of where i started. s- [laughing} j - i had some old yarn that i just wantedto use to see how it would work. s - oh, that's great. j - and just made lots of different variations. s- i can see that you have the ho. j - the ho, and the ho.
s- and the ho, and the ho. and then you have the different snowflakepatterns that you used in the sweaters here in this piece. j - so some of them had it across the top,some across the bottom, you know they all had to be different. s - gosh, this is so beautiful. j - isn't it beautiful? s - it really is. j - it's amazing what can be done on knittingmachines, i have to say.
j - so, there was a lot of anxiety over this. with the sizes and everything. s - how much time did you have to make these? j - i actually had a month, which was amazing. s - [exaggerated sigh] thats amazing?? j - but, of course, they changed their mindevery two days. oh, i don't want anything on the sleeve! oh,yes i do want something on the sleeve, you know, like that. s - yes, there are things on the sleeves inthis picture.
j - this little sweater, that looks like it'smade for a child, s- how pretty! j - is made for an actress. i'm not supposed to talk about the shows thati'm doing until they've been done. but i can only say that it's on the highestrated show on cbs, and the character's name is burnadette. s - i know exactly what she's talking about! j - and the story behind this - s- she's a tiny actress!
j - she is tiny! look at this, how tiny. and it doesn't even, it's not tight on heror anything. j - so the story behind this was, they cameto me last year, and they said, we have an actress who has a sweater, we got it at bloomingdale's. it was a special bloomingdale's only. and we haven't been able to find anymore. she loves this sweater, do you think thatyou could copy it? we've tried other people, we've gotten manyother things, nothing has worked. i said, well, i'll give it a try.
but i've never used this kind of stretchyyarn. s - yeah. j - so, made one. after searching everywhere for the perfectyarn. made one, and they said, well don't get tooexcited, it probably won't work. but, anyway. s- because it hadn't worked so many times. j - it hadn't worked so many times. but they called me and they said, she likesit!
and we want to get some more, can you giveme the color card so we can make a few more choices? so i did, and they chose several colors, andif you watch that show, you'll see that she's wearing one every week! s- i won't miss it now! j - and now, this is a new season, and they'vechosen more colors, and we're on - s- is this one of the sweaters that you'resending on to her? j - yes, this is for her, and she will getthis next week. j - this is the little picture that i got.
s - somebody gave this to you. j - yes. and they wanted me to make this hat. and it's for a costume, custom costume companythat makes things for parades and cartoons, like minnie mouse, mickey mouse, kind of thing. where all the characters have large headsand small bodies. j - so, i thought oh, cute little hat! s - cute little hat? wait, part of it's missing. j - part of it's missing.
but they gave me this form. s- [lauging] j - i haven't delivered it yet. so it hasn'tbeen totally put together. if i pull this it will go in. so this is the cute little hat! s - tiny cute little cartoon hat! j - i've made a lot of things for this company,they've done parades for despicable me, and they wear a lot of knits in that movie. j - do you have any questions?
s- questions? i'm too flabbergasted to askquestions. no, really what i want to talk about is - youand i have been talking multiple times over the past few weeks. and judy has not only her knitting tips byjudy youtube channel, you also have a video blog. j - video blog. s - this morning i saw your video blog postabout the scarf - j - the sweater that didn't work out? s- yeah, you had a piece of it, it was becauseof the industry that you're in, working with
the knits and the costumers and everything,somethings on, somethings off. something has stripes, something doesn't.something has a snowflake, it doesn't. or we're making it, we're not doing it. the actress gained weight, you know, whatever. j - yeah, you know, you want my job? you knowhow it works! s - i'm busy. from reading your website and listening yourvideo blog is so good that way because, we're both in the same umbrella industry. you are doing something very different withall this, and hearing about what it's like
for you is great. j - it's really interesting. and i just fell into it. you just never know. s- this was the one, you had the friend thatknew the person working on the costumes who made the introduction. j - right, right. and it just mushroomed. s- wow.
j - yeah. and i tried to retire, thought iwas retiring ten years ago. j - but that didn't work. s - the phone kept ringing. j - the phone kept ringing. and now i'm in the position where i can sayyes or no. if i want to go on vacation, i say no. j - but it's just fun and exciting and different,and keeping me going. s- and you're clearly very good at what youdo, so that makes you feel good about doing it too, i'm sure.
j - yeah, i thank you. s - yes, you can nod, you're good at this! s - obviously! j - i mean, basically, i just instinctivelyknow when i'm talking to them, what yarn should be used, what tension should be used. j - should it be thick, should it be thin. s- did you say that you've been knitting howmany years? j - uh, sixty? s - i hardly ever meet anyone who's been knittinglonger than i have.
j - well, i'm older than you! s - yes, i'll be, i'll catch up to you. j - i mean, you don't stop knitting, do you? s - no, you don't stop knitting. i mean it's just sort of what you do, allthe time. j - you know, always working on something,or other. j - and learning all the time. i mean, when i started my website, i thoughti knew a lot. but then, when people would write to me andask me questions about a certain stitch, and
what is that? s - is that when you started the instructionvideos? j - that's when i started, yeah, yeah. well when i heard about youtube. s - well, judy. i've had a lot of fun talkingwith you today. thank you for coming out here. i'm going to give everybody links to you'rewebsite and your youtube channel in the video description field, just below the video. so you can find judy and keep up on what projectsshe's doing for hollywood! because you always have something going, right?
j - always seem to have something going. s - very good. well thank you so much forcoming out. j - thank you for asking me, it was fun! s - good, good! s - look at all of this! i'm the only onewho gets to see this! j - there's tom. s - ahh, there's tom hanks and his socks![laughs] oh, and the bed jacket. j - and the jacket, right. and then this wasa poncho for his girlfriend.
s - jenny. oh, this was early on. this was just the sleeves. s - just the sleeves of this dress. j - yeah, and then this was just the apron. j - we're going back in time! s - we are! s - we're back to 1993 right now. j - i can't even remember these things. s - oh, why is this sweater so big?
j - why is this sweater so big? in one of the movies, in the 80s, freddy blewup! it was like ten feet wide, this way, and sixfeet this way. and these were my wonderful, my first crewthat i ever had. s - it's like, it's as big as seaming togetherafghans. j - yeah! s - okay, let's look at the rest of these.because i want you to tell me about what, this is like the thing for blowing it up orsomething? j - well, this was it on the form.
and it was me, standing there, to show thesize, and the person that's working on it at the costume house. s - golden girls? what do you have from there? j - i just made tons of stuff for them. s - oh, okay. j - this was the first movie that i ever madeanything for. s - i just watched this recently. j - really? s - uh, huh. like i think i saw it as a veryyoung adult, and then i just watched it again
recently. it kind of made more sense to me. j - this was the sweater that i made, formarybeth. s - okay, the blue one. wow. j - it was a rayon bucle, drapey. s- yeah. wow, okay. s - [laughing] did you make these? j - yeah. this one, this. s - okay, now we're jumping even further backin time. j - dynasty.
s - dynasty! j - we are going back! s - yes! you've been doing this for a while! j - this was valerie. valerie harper in chaptertwo. this was me modeling it, in my much youngerdays. [laughs] i don't know why we're going back this far! s - well, because i wanted to see it! j - this is george clooney's sizes. i havethis thing about george clooney! s - i do, too. that means that you are anamerican woman with a pulse.
j - 5'11". s - is he only 5'11"? j - this is your life! this is what i feellike! [laughs] j - going through all this old stuff! s - this is so great. [whooshing sounds]