Friday, June 26, 2009
This week I am spotlighting another shop that both knitters and crocheters have an interest in, and that is one that has stitch markers for sale. Not all projects need them, but for those that do, stitch markers make it so much easier. So, let's meet Beth of Needle Bling. As always, you can click on the title Knitters and Crocheters on Parade to go to her shop.
Needle Bling is such a cute name for stitch markers. How did that name come to you?
I love the term 'bling' for jewelry -- it's so descriptive -- and at some point I saw a post that referred to stitch markers as 'jewelry for your needles'. I thought 'needle bling', and when I was looking for a name for my shop, that just seemed perfect.
You sometimes sell hand dyed yarn in your shop. Do you own sheep or have access to them?
No. Actually, I'm allergic to sheep's wool in even the smallest percentage. And it really is the wool I'm allergic to -- I use a lanolin-based hand lotion regularly. At one point, someone sent me an angora/wool blend yarn, not knowing that I was allergic to wool. I thought she did know, and since angora is one of the fibers I want to play with when I'm rich and can afford it, I took the yarn out of the package and fondled it for a couple of minutes without checking the ball band. The angora was 80% of the yarn, and it made the yarn so soft I didn't feel the wool itch right away. Once I felt it, I checked the ball band, said a few nasty words and washed my hands. About an hour later, I had small white blisters on my fingers. Anyway, the yarn I sometimes have is usually alpaca. When I sell yarn that I've dyed, it's usually because I was trying a new technique and the results aren't my cup of tea. That doesn't mean it's ugly yarn, just not one that I'd knit with. I recently dyed a couple skeins of llama/silk blend yarn that I purchased at the local knit and crochet festival, and I'm not immediately thrilled with the result. I'm giving it a bit of time before I decide, but it may end up in the shop.
When did you learn to knit and crochet, and who taught you?
I learned knitting in grade school from my mom, but didn't know about knitting patterns, or stitches other than basic knit and purl. I made a lot of scarves! I tried it again in college, but again, only knew knit and purl, so lots more scarves. A couple of years ago, I was looking for something creative that would be new to me. I was in JoAnn Fabrics and happened to wander into their yarn department. I found books of patterns and different stitch patterns and the knitting bug bit again. It had been long enough that I literally had to re-teach myself how to knit.
I had never tried crochet before this year. I went to the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival in February, and they had a free 'Teach Me to Crochet' class. I've made one crochet project so far, an afghan to raffle for a science fiction group I belong to. I literally finished it the night before the weekend get-together it was being raffled at. It took 3 1/2 months, and it will be quite a while before I tackle another crochet project. Knitting is my favorite!
You stated in your shop bio that you are having so much fun knitting. What motivated you to make and sell stitch markers rather than knitted and crocheted items?
I enjoy knitting, but I prefer to knit for myself, my friends, my family and charity. Years ago, I made glassware decorated with fine sterling chain and semi-precious gemstone beads for the art shows at science fiction conventions. I still have a lot of the gemstone beads, as well as the wire and silver accent beads. I've some of the chain, too, but that doesn't lend itself to stitch markers. I started by making stitch markers for myself, and for the Random Acts of Kindness group on Ravelry. Then I found out about Etsy, and things just grew from there.
Are you considering selling knitted and crocheted items?
No, I'm a slow knitter, and I'd rather give the items I create to people I know, or knit them for charity.
What kinds of things do you like to knit?
I like small one-skein projects like fingerless mitts and hats. I just recently found alpaca sock yarn with no sheep's wool at an Etsy shop (Wild Fire Fibres), and purchased 4 undyed skeins. Once they're dyed, I'll be teaching myself to knit socks!
You live in Pennsylvania, have the Amish had any influence on your craft?
Not really. In Pennsylvania, the Amish are primarily located near the center of the state, and I'm in south western PA, near Pittsburgh.
Currently, I'm playing with dyeing silk scarves. I'm probably going to open up a second shop on Etsy to sell them, since they don't exactly fit under the name 'Needle Bling'. I'm looking for a great name for the shop, but I'm having problems with it. Any suggestions? :)
So if you need some stitch markers, her url is