Judy Gregory - knitter, yarn sales rep and costumer for film and TV – was commissioned to create the cozy by an advertising agency for a print ad for Zurich Insurance Group in the UK.
The concept of the ad was simple: “When you truly love something, you protect it in the best way.”
I asked Judy about the project…
How much creative input did you have?
The client in England had a yarn they wanted and sent a small photo of a cable pattern. I simplified the cable pattern and shifted some of the stitch counts a bit to accommodate the large gauge of the yarn. After making a series of swatches, they ended up not liking the first yarn, and took my suggestion of using Kraemer Yarns Mauch Chunky Roving. Kraemer is one of the lines I represent and I knew we could get the 32 lbs of Mauch Chunky Roving and 20 balls of Mauch Chunky yarn though the mill and shipped in time to make the deadline for the shooting schedule.
We decided to use a VW Beetle as the photo car. I was happy because it’s a small car! They wanted a car that looked “European”. The photographer, Nick Meek, had just shot a VW campaign, so it was a choice he was very happy with as well.
How did you do it? How much time did you have to do it? Did anyone help?
The Production Company had a “fit car” delivered to my house so I could take measurements. I knitted a pound of the Roving as a swatch and used it to determine how much fiber to order calculating how many square feet of the car would be need to be covered. The off side of the car was not covered, only what the camera would see.
We were working on size 35 needles and the cable length was 32” so the car cover needed to be worked in panels. I had 2 friends from my knitting guild Jewel City Knitters help with the knitting.
The design part of the project took about a week and a half. After the design decisions were made and received the fiber, the knitting took 11 days start to finish. At the end of each day I would email photos of the days’ progress to the Producer and then be available at 6:30 the next morning in case I was needed for the conference call with the client in England. They asked me to go to Florida for the photo shoot so I could take the cover as luggage and deliver it in person. They didn’t want to ship it and take the risk of it getting lost or subjected to excess heat and moisture which might cause it to felt.
What happens to the pieces afterwards?
The client took the cover back to England intending to use it for display purposes. For the print ad they digitally changed the cover from the original grey to blue to match the company logo. A month later the Producer called me asking if I could knit the off camera side, to make it a full car, and dye the grey cover blue as it appears in the print advertisement. Because of the large size of the piece we decided to make another one that would be a full car and the correct color of blue, rather than take a chance dyeing it.
The second car cover, which was just completed, was knit in a only 9 days. This time in addition to calling upon my knitting guild friends, 4 knitters from the staff at Kraemer Yarns also knit a panel each. This cover was used for display in Zurich Switzerland at a big car show where the European car companies debut their new models.
This project was unique and seems to capture people’s imaginations. Even if they know nothing about knitting, they understand what an endeavor it is to knit for a car. Who knows, this may not be my last car cover.