Bestselling New York author Nicky Epstein proves that you never completely outgrow your childhood – nor do you forget its ‘magical’ moments. The former Nicky Quinones, a native of Spelter and Victory High School grad, has been knitting since she was seven years old. Taught by her mother and grandmother to both knit and crochet, she began making Barbie doll clothes for her own dolls in her early childhood. Little did she know that it would someday become her career!
“No, I definitely did not wake up one morning thinking I wanted to become a knitwear designer,” she confessed. “It just transpired over the years and I’ve been presenting knitwear fashion and how-to books for thirty years now. I’ve done a few crochet books as well, but I still prefer knitting as my personal favorite.”
Her latest book, ‘Enchanted Knits for Dolls’, features some of the most glamorous costumes you will ever see for 18-inch dolls! She slipped back into her childhood for inspiration and the result is spectacular designs including storybook characters such as Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty … a few adventure favorites like a genie and a pirate … some mythical creatures like Peter Pan, a wizard, and a dragon … along with some creations all her own – such as the Forest Bride, a Gnome Girl, Madame Vampire, Dream Genie, Whimsical Witch, Mystical Mermaid and more! There are 25 costumes in all.
Three Barbie fashion books were done earlier in her career, and now with the growing popularity of 18-inch dolls, she certainly aims to please in this, her third book featuring ‘over the top’ costuming for 18-inch dolls. Also included in the book are a few one-size-fits-all instructions if you want to make your child matching costume items.
Although some of the projects require a little more investment of time than others, she tries to make it as easy as possible for knitters to duplicate exactly what she has created. The book offers complete instructions in addition to telling what kind of yarn is used (including the name brand). Ms. Epstein notes, however, that knitters can feel free to use any yarn they choose as long as they use the same gauge, which is most important.
There is also an entire section in the back of the book that includes how-to-knit and easy-to-do patterns for little girls. She stated, “I learned to knit at a very early age, and these simple patterns I hope will encourage other young girls to learn this skill. It has offered me a very successful lifelong career, and who knows – it might inspire some other unsuspecting young girls to pursue knitting in the long term too!”
No doubt, you will be amazed at all of the “over the top” things Nicky does with yarn and embellishments in her newest release! It is hard to beat her attention to detail in these costumes. From jewelry to knitted boots to hats and hair adornments, it is easy to see that she loves what she does.
“I love to shop for the accessory items, and many things I find through online browsing,” she continued. “I also visit craft shops and have a ball just looking around. A lot of thought goes into the details, and what I can’t find, I make! It just takes a little imagination. For instance, some of the bracelets that complement the costumes are actually wine glass charms and fit right around dolls’ wrists! I also suggest using old, broken jewelry you may have lying around. I often string old tiny pearls on elastic thread for a necklace, which is what I did on the Forest Bride doll in my new book.” On a roll now and offering creative insights left and right, Nicky added, “Decorative pushpins or even nice upholstery pins make wonderful earrings! And, believe it or not, I used plastic toothpicks for the teeth on the Madame Vampire costume! It just comes down to being a little creative with what you can find.”
Epstein says that she had FUN with the book! And she spoke nothing but high praise for her art director, 62-year old Joe Vior, whom you might not think would enjoy laying out a doll book! “But,” she said, “I believe he enjoyed it just as much as I did and it comes through loud and clear in the book’s artwork!”
Nicky is already promoting the newly released ‘Enchanted Knits for Dolls’. She just attended a Knitting Guild event in Buffalo, NY, and then she and her dolls immediately flew off to Chicago to attend Vogue Knitting LIVE where the book drew very positive reviews from the nearly 10,000 people attending. Some buyers were anxious to get started making gifts for daughters and granddaughters. Doll collectors were equally as excited; and some folks admitted to Epstein that the book is so beautiful, they simply want to put it on their coffee table!
She will soon leave for London where she will promote the book at Alexander Palace during its Knitting & Stitching show, a five-day event that draws approximately 55,000 attendees.
“People come to London for this event literally by the busloads,” Epstein noted. “This is how popular knitting is in Europe! However, it is even more popular in the U.S. New York City alone has 23 yarn shops, so this is NOT a lost art by any means.”
During a prior visit to England, Epstein appeared on QVC there, promoting one of her doll knitting books! She had 600 copies available for sale for that appearance; they sold out in 15 minutes!
“Knitting truly is an art form,” she concluded. “It is more than just a hobby. And it is very therapeutic, not only keeping your hands busy, but your mind as well. It is a good avenue to pursue to keep your creative juices flowing!”
It is obvious from her work that Nicky has no problem keeping the creative juices flowing. She always presents original and imaginative work. Her philosophy is that knitting should be fun, and Nicky Epstein DOES make it fun! Her book even includes a few “fun” recipes … such as Magical Star Wands, a candy wafer-based sweet treat befitting any princess … and Witches’ Brooms, a healthier treat (not at all wicked in the calorie department!) using carrot strings and pretzel sticks.
The doll costumes in ‘Enchanted Knits for Dolls’ are full of fantasy, color, and ingenious imagination! Epstein is the fairy godmother of knitting, making every little doll’s wish come true! And stay tuned … she is already putting her magical powers to work on her next book that will feature toy animals.