Twinkie Chan

There’s something different about San Francisco scarf designer Twinkie Chan. Several things actually. First, there’s the way she talks. Twinkie doesn’t say things like “Look at that” and “My parents said.” Instead, she says, “Take a gander” and “The parental response was.” The speech pattern is most likely the result of her San Francisco day job. She works (using her legal name, which isn’t Twinkie Chan) in San Francisco at a job that requires more than passing knowledge of the literary world.Next, there are her tattoos. Holly Ellis, at Idle Hand in San Francisco, did the cupcakes on her stomach and most of her sleeve, which features fl ying strawberries, circus animal cookies, and frozen desserts. Misha, at Zulu Tattoo in Los Angeles, gave her a red licorice bow on the small of her back. And Clifton Carter, at Tattoo City in San Francisco, did the hearts on the backs of her calves. “I appreciate typical tattoo art on other people,” says Twinkie. “But I do like showing people it doesn’t have to be scary. Tattoos can be cute, and you can make this medium your own.”

Finally, there’s Chan’s work with yarn. “I learned to crochet from my friend’s grandmother when I was 8 or 9, but I didn’t start making scarves until a few years ago, after I got addicted to buying hand spun, hand-dyed yarn,” she says. Now she crochets and sells colorful scarves, mittens and pins that look like sushi, salad, spaghetti and meatballs, and every other food you can imagine. “I think it’s the way my brain works, but some of the yarns, to me, they already looked like food. Like a yellow fluffy yarn just looks like scrambled eggs.”Her crocheting “hobby,” has spawned a retail website, international sales, an appearance on the TV show Uncommon Threads and even a feature in Glamour Italia. And while her custom designs, such as the Wavy Bacon Strip Scarf and heart-shape Sugar Cookie Pins, sell out quickly, success comes as a surprise to Twinkie Chan, who hasn’t considered pursuing her crochet business full time. “Sure I’ll spackle breakfast cereal onto a picture frame … and I once made a turkey hat for an ex-boyfriend. But I don’t think of myself as an artist,” she says.

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