Friday, July 31, 2009
This week I am enjoying getting to know Velvet Dishon who has a shop on Etsy and 1000 Markets. As always click on the Title Etsy Knitters and Crocheters on Parade above to get to her Etsy shop. Besides her two shops Velvet is involved with her local Knitting Guild. Last year she was the secretary, this year she is co-chair of the altruistic projects. Their favorite charity to support is Project Linus, who supplies blankets to children of trauma.
Velvet what is your background?
I am a former Army Brat that grew up pretty much in Northern Virgina with a short detour to Japan for 4 years, and Florida for 18 months. I graduated from George Mason University with a BS of Early Education, but spent most of my professional, in the "real" workforce, as an Executive Assistant. I have an 8 year old son, a husband with whom I'll celebrate 15 years of marriage with October 8th, my Grandmother "Nana" who is 94, one shitz tuz dog of also 15 years called Piggy, another dog named Ruby, a cat Tinkerbell, a hampster named Squeekers, and assorted fish at home. I have told my son that the "ark" is full, he'd like another cat. I also play hand bells at church.
Velvet, you began knitting as an adult, what prompted you to take up this art?
I have always liked knitting and the look of knitted items. I grew up in a home where mom was always crafting and encouraging us to craft and experiment. When I finally found an acquaintance from Canada and found out that she could knit I asked her to teach me. 14 years later we are closely bonded friends, she was even my birthing coach (her "real" job is a nurse) I also have obsessive compulsive tendencies with attention deficit and knitting is one of my coping mechanisms.
Are you involved in other crafts?
I dabble in just about anything, and am usually game to try any new craft at least once. I have tried everything from painting t-shirts & stamping to counted cross stitch and latch hook rugs. I have concluded that knitting is my niche. My scrapbooks look like a demented 5 year old has constructed them.
How did you become involved in the prayer shawl ministry?
There was another knitter in church that heard about the ministry and asked me to participate. When my family changed churches, I started a new one in the new church. We are up to a team of 4. The prayer shawl ministry is truly a blessing both for the receiver of the prayer shawl, and also the creator. We don't discriminate and have both knitters and crocheters. We are a very loose group, and only have 2 rules. 1) pray over your shawl as you are creating 2) find your own personal blessing doing the task. Creating the shawls is a gift and a joy, and when the project is stressing you out, put it down. No bad "karma" allowed. We do not follow any particular patterns. Pretty much just whatever "floats your boat".
What is your favorite fiber?
I really like alpaca, bamboo, soft wools. But I am usually on an acrylic blend kind of budget.
What is your dream project?
I have a pattern for a medallion backed shawl shrug that I would love to do in a soft alpaca or wool. I would also love to discover a quick way to knit the beautiful lace shawls that can fit through the eye of a needle.
You crochet also, which do you prefer?
I prefer to knit. I have some nerve damage in my left wrist, and I'm left handed. Knitting is more of a straight motion and doesn't irritate the nerves as much as the rolling kind of twisting motion of crochet.
What else is Velvet all about?
I love machine (aka loom) knitting. I own three, and have borrowed one. I am totally in love with the process of being able to create a knitting item in the matter of several hours rather than weeks or days by hand. And my opinion is that loom knitting still counts as knitting because my hands are all over those needles and fibers. And there still is a lot of traditional finishing that goes into a loom knitted item. For me it has what has allowed me to have an etsy shop that is cost effective, practical, and consumer priced. Must be my Scott-Irishness coming out. Incorporating both handknitting and loom knitting into my etsy shop allows me to have a happy harmony.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Everle Young of Kneat Knit Creations opened her Etsy shop on June 23rd of this year As you will see in our interview, she loves the challenge of working with different materials. She sent a few pictures that show the kind of things that inspire her, one of which I have included. So, meet Everle.
How close to the beach are you, and do you get any inspiration from the ocean?
I am originally a native Californian, from the Monterey Peninsula, to be specific. I've lived here in Newport News, VA since June 2006 so I've experienced the beach and ocean from both sides of the country and have a lifelong fondness for the beach and ocean. Strangely enough, though, despite my environment being predominantly beach, sun and ocean, I seem to find my inspiration in the flora and fauna found out here in this part of the country. I have never experienced the seasons until I moved out to Virginia. I never experienced seeing leaves change color and fall. I never experienced snow. And I have never seen so many different types of plant and animal life until I moved out here. So would have to say that the seasons and the beauty of the flora and fauna that I have experienced out here in Virginia have proven to be a source of inspiration for my creations.
You learned to knit when you were 13, how did that come about?
It was in the late 1970's when I was in junior high school (better known now as middle school). During that period of time, the school system was so much better than now that schools were able to afford additional classes dedicated to subjects outside of the typical academics. One of the classes was a knitting course that I signed up for and was accepted to the class. My first project was an orange garter stitch scarf, and my instructor saw that I had a talent with the needles. I've continued on and off throughout the years, but as of the beginning of this year, I really started exploring and developing my skills.
Do you crochet?
My knitting instructor did give us the opportunity to dabble with crocheting, but I really didn't get into it. Perhaps sometime in the future I may take it up again.
What contributed to your decision to open an Etsy store?
When I started to take my craft seriously at the beginning of the year, a friend of mine whose sister has a store on Etsy gave me the site address and encouraged me to open up a shop once I had some inventory to post.
What fibers are your favorites to work with and why?
I am surprised to find that I enjoy working with non-traditional fibers. I enjoy working with the Bernat Boa, Bernat Matrix, and Lion Brand Trellis- the more thread-like fibers- because they're challenging in the sense that the I need to make sure that the threads/fibers don't twist and that I need to be conscientious of not allowing a stitch to drop because picking up dropped stitches is very challenging with these types of threads/fibers.
Are there any fibers that you would like to work with but haven't had a chance?
I would love to work with wool, mohair, cashmere and, if I can eventually afford it, alpaca.
Where do you see your store and your art in 5 years?
I anticipate having a larger and diversified inventory still dedicated to the craft of knitting. It is also my goal to eventually develop my own patterns that are unique to my personality and style so as to contribute the spirit of originality which manifests itself within the Etsy site.
You can check out Everle's shop by clicking on the title "Etsy Knitters and Crocheters on Parade" above.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Nikki Ross is a knitter and twitter friend that keeps me in stitches most of the time. I love to hear about the hilarious things that go on at her house. Her sense of humour always brightens my day. Then I have to tell her all the hilarious things that happened at my house when I was still raising boys. She is very close to nature in a very sensible way and has taught her family many traditional crafts.
You and your family live in the country and participate in so many different hand crafted arts. Were you raised on a farm?
Sort of? I grew up in Ohio. My grandfather owned several acres within the city limits, but he had a large garden, apple orchard, and several dozen free-range chickens. He also owned 31 acres in the county, where he grew what he called "Government Corn", more food for the family, raised hogs and steers. Every year my grandmother, who raised me until age 12, "put up" the produce from the garden for use in the winter months. Every autumn we had the hogs & steers butchered and quartered, and my family got together for 3 evenings of cutting & packaging beef. When I was little we lived "in town" in a house my grandparents owned, and when I got older we moved out to one at the corner of his acreage. Lots of room to explore the fields and woods, and sled in the winter!
In addition, I spent several summers in NC, in the Boiling Springs area outside of Murphy, where my grandmother owned a house with a couple acres next to her brother, who owned a commercial eggery. He had 22,000 hens!
Knitting, spinning, sewing, quilting, Richard makes soap, did you pick these up as a child or as an adult, and did someone teach you?
My mom's mother (mentioned above) taught me how to hand-sew and hem when I was very little... perhaps kindergarten age. My dad's mother taught me how to sew on a sewing machine and tried to teach me how to knit (a purse, with rug yarn, in seed stitch... and I *hated* it) in my pre-teens. I put away all those domestic arts until I was out on my own. Needed a wardrobe for a new job (in a bank) so I bought an old sewing machine, patterns and a couple hundred dollars worth of fabric & taught myself to sew all over again. I have won awards with my sewing -- 2nd place in the State in FL for 2 men's tailored suits I made my dh and Grand Champion once with a bridesmaid's dress. When I only had a couple kids I took in custom sewing for pay. Additionally, I quilt.
When I was pregnant with our oldest, Desiree (who is 23), I had a total of 4.5 months bedrest. I got bored with reading (imagine!) so I had dh take me out in a wheelchair, to a local hobby store, where I bought needles, yarn, and a basic knitting book and taught myself knitting all over again. One of my first projects was a knitted lace blanket for the baby with a different-pattern knitted lace ruffle all around it. We still have it!
The spinning is a relatively new addition, in about the last 8 months. I can already spin fine (sock weight) and ply, so I guess I am doing alright! I have taught Des, Diantha, and Veronica all to quilt, spin, and knit. Also my 17yos Artemas has knitted and Josiah, my 8 yos knits a little. We also cook experimentally and excellently... Artemas wants to be a chef!
Do you crochet?
Marginally, LoL. I have a queen-size coverlet that is ONE huge granny square, that I helped my mom make when I had mono when I was 11 and finished when I had the mumps when I was 12. LoL. Mostly I do a crochet-chain cast-on for socks.
You have another shop that has beautiful recycled yarns. What is your resource for yarn?
Wow, I get them wherever I can find high-quality fiber yarns disguised as sweaters. Thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, etc. I look for desirable and dyeable fibers in beautiful colors. Last year we took a trip from the Knoxville area where we live, to the Philadelphia area. We hit every thrift store in the lower eastern US I think! Brought back so many sweaters I thought I was going to have to put one of the kids on the roof of the van (this is a joke, LOL). If I find that the fiber is weak or beginning to felt, I finish shrinking the sweater and turn it into accessories instead... fingerless mitts, cozies, small handbags, etc. Nothing goes to waste at my house!
You homeschool your children. How many years have you done so?
We decided when we first got married that we were going to homeschool when we got married. As Christians, took the scripture literally that says, "Whatever is not of God is of beelzebub." We felt that if God is not welcome in the public schools, we did not want to turn our kids over to whomever *was* in charge. So we started with Desiree when she was 5 (18 years ago). She graduated a year early with honors. Some of our results haven't been that spectacular (our 1st son graduated a year late by the skin of his teeth, LoL), but it has still been a great experience learning how each of the kids learns, and then helping them learn in a way that sticks with them. Every one is different, each arrow needs to be aimed at its own target, and it is a blessing to see that in action. Not to mention that we have the privilege to take off and travel somewhere if we have the interest and the funds, no matter what time of year my dh's vacation falls, etc. One year we were doing a unit on the Civil war. We did some traveling and woke up one morning to find that the motel we stayed in (having arrived after dark the night before) was right across the street from a Civil war cemetery. Everything has a potential for learning if you allow it. Mostly we unschool, using books and resources as we find them or are interested in a subject, and using everyday activities as a catalyst for learning. Just in case people might think my kids are barefoot and ignorant, we own probably close to 3000 books. LOL
As a retired homeschool mom, I know how much time it takes. Where do you find time for so much crafting?
We incorporate some of it in our homeschool. The kids can get credit for creative arts, domestic arts, etc. Also the kids that are in high school can get economics, accounting, part-time job, small biz admin and other credits for running or helping run an online shop.
I find it so interesting that you are a biker. When and how did biking make an entrance into your life?
I have always said to my husband, that riding the motorcycle is like defrag for my soul. Feeling the air go by, smelling the world (I am an olfactory learner), hearing the gears run through. Like a lullaby to me! So it was interesting and appalling a while back to overhear my mother telling Des, that when I was a baby - we're talking a TINY baby, because I was about 6 months old during riding season in OH - there weren't any child restraint laws. So mom and dad would wedge me between them on the bike, mom trapping me in by putting her arms around dad, and ride... and I would lean my little head on my dad and sleep! Gee no WONDER the sound of the bike is like a lullaby to me!
My dad used to take me to motorcycle races (to watch) on Sundays in season. I got my first little bitty, street-legal bike, a Honda 70 4-speed, when I was 10; bought my own first full-size bike when I was 17: a 1973 Suzuki GT250, which I still own. We didn't ride for 18 years of time we lived in FL... too many retirees with bad eyesight on the road. Now I also own a 1982 GS450T Suzuki and I am keeping my eye peeled for a 650 to 880 if the price is right. My dh also rides - once rode a 350 Honda over 22,000 miles from FL, across the Southwest, up the West coast to Alaska, and back in 9 months. My SonIL also rides, and I have taught my older 2 sons. For a while I was in the choir at church and actually sang in the choir once in my fringed leather chaps! Conversely, it is interesting that my younger sister never liked dad's bikes (noisy) and to this day, loathes motorcycles. hmmm.
Please let me also mention that Diantha just got accepted to a Christian modeling agency (http://amtcworld.com), so for the rest of the year, in all our shops, the portion of our profits that we are not already donating to the youth center (80%) will go for her classes and trip to Orlando for scouting next January. Thanks!
And a BIG CONGRATS to Diantha!!!
Nikki and her family have four shops:
http://my7kids.etsy.com - High-end fiber recycled yarns
http://heartfeltfun.etsy.com - Hand knit and recycled felted accessories
http://fluff4ewe.etsy.com - Diantha's fiber, carded batts & handspuns
http://rossoaps.etsy.com - Richard's handmade goat or soy milk soaps
Friday, July 10, 2009
Anne Flood's shop Ennadoolf has colorful hand sewn doll clothes, beautiful prints of her flowers, a journal and corking sets, as well as, her knitted scarves, bags, hats, and cup sleeves. It definitely has something for almost any taste.
When and how did you learn to knit and sew?
I learned to sew on the Pfaff machine my mom brought to Canada from the Netherlands - she packed her belongings inside the cabinet along with the machine. At first I had lots of practice "sewing" a straight line without any thread and using lined paper. I still use a Pfaff now - and my mom still has that first machine.
I learned to knit in Brownies! Of course, every time I wanted to start a new project I had to ask my mom to cast on for me. That's changed now, and I'm trying new ways to cast on as well as being experimental in my knitting stitches and patterns.
Did you make your own doll clothes a child?
oh yes! And always for Barbie. I have no idea if my baby dolls or other dolls had much of a wardrobe, but Barbie had lots of creative styles that we sewed - I remember sewing with Dawn who lived on the neighbouring farm, as well as with my sisters and mom. The very first dresses and tops were the basic squares of fabric with holes cut for the arms. I don't remember if Barbie even got a button on those first dresses.
Besides your love for knitting and sewing, I notice that you have prints for sale also. Are you a shutter bug?
I am now. I never could figure out f-stops and shutter speeds on my 35mm camera and even though I tried to get creative with my shots, I often wasted lots of film. Digital has changed that and I am enjoying photography now. I've only got a small camera and I'm not sure yet if I want to go back to a bigger and better one. But it would mean getting those shots I can't get now - like when we hiked to the local bald eagles' nest. A better camera would result in much improved photos of those majestic birds.
You have several prints of flowers in your shop. Do have an extensive garden?
[sigh] I have many gardens. I love my flowers. I love the variety of plants and flowers we have. I just don't really enjoy gardening all that much. If only the flowers would do their thing and the weeds would simply stay away. From a distance my gardens look great...please don't look too closely because you're sure to see a few weeds sneaking around in there. [smiles]
Which of your crafts do you enjoy the most?
Oh, tough question! I think it changes as my needs change. I've been doing a lot of knitting lately and it seems to be the current favourite. I think I prefer it because I'm able to knit while I watch tv and I'm addicted to a few shows (like Canada's Next Top Model - my nephew helped to edit it while completing a work term for school so his name is in the credits! how exciting is that?). I can also take my knitting and work on it pretty much anywhere. I'm still working on a few sewing projects though, and dabble a bit in paper crafts and other crafts as well.
Do you sell at craft fairs?
Not too often. I don't really do too many since they don't fit my schedule very well. The part of them that I love is chatting with the other vendors as well as the customers and visitors.
Have you ever considered knitting doll clothes?
Yes. I still have a red knit dress from when I was a girl and I'd like to try some of the knit doll clothes patterns I have. I'm getting better at knitting with finer yarns and smaller sized needles, so the dolls will have to wait a bit longer - I don't have the patience for these projects right now as I find they are more time consuming.
Do you have any new plans for your shop?
There are so many plans swimming in my head! My mom was visiting a few weeks ago and I was telling her about some of the ideas I had for things to make and such. She laughed and said I sounded just like her years ago. I definitely take that as a compliment. But I know what she means ... I have to make sure I keep time for family and friends and not get completely caught up with crafting. Not everyone wants to see me knitting while they are visiting - and I'm okay with that. Not every idea in my head will be completed. I'm okay with that too.
Thanks so much, Dianne, it's a pleasure "chatting" with you.
And thank you, Anne. This really has been an interesting chat. Fiber artists are anything but boring. Check out Anne's shop at http://www.ennadoolf.etsy.com
Oh, Anne, what does Ennadoolf mean? Please leave us a comment telling us.
Friday, July 3, 2009
When I first entered Joan Lahy's shop, Focus on Color, I thought I had just entered a fine nursery school. It's full of dolls clothed with beautiful clothes that Joan has made for them both knitted and sewn. Knitted and crocheted animal pacifier holders, knitted finger puppets abound, And there are the cutest, brightly colored baby outfits. I think you'll find that she is a crafting renaissance woman. To go to Joan's store click on the spotlight title.
When did you learn to knit or crochet, and who taught you?
I pretty much taught myself to knit and crochet starting around 9 years old. One of my grandmothers was a wonderful knitter, and the other was an expert crocheter. I used to sit by them and intently study how they knitted/crocheted; then, I sat for hours with a How-To book and learned the crafts. This self-teaching continues, and I’ve much more to learn in both crafts, and will enjoy every moment along the way. I’m a very fast knitter and crocheter, so I’ve practiced many techniques and patterns over my many years beyond 9.
Do you have a lot of contact with young ones, and how do they inspire you?
Actually I have NO contact with any children. My only child is a nearly 22 year old daughter. We have no family near us, and there are few young children in our neighborhood. I love children of all ages and have always had a magnetic attraction for children and them for me. Many of the things children like are what I like, and am inspired by, such as: pretend play, fantasy, color, little things, glitter, sparkle, magical things, fairies and elves and more.
What kinds of fibers do you enjoy spinning the most and are they your own fibers or do you order them?
I mostly spin wool, but also enjoy silk, angora, flax, mohair, dog hair. None of these fibers are my own. I usually attend sheep shearing events in the area, and buy my wool. Most times I buy a whole fleece right off the sheep, do all the preparation myself, and find pleasure in processing the yarn from the very beginning . . . well, short of raising the sheep. Spinning puts me into total relaxation and frees my mind to think and wonder. I’m self taught at this as well. Some day I’ll treat myself to buying some dyed and un-spun wool online. That is when the economy perks up and we don’t have to worry about stretching our money to eat.
Sewing is something that many of us knitters and crocheters just hate, but you enjoy it. So, I want to ask who taught you to sew?
Again, I taught myself to sew and quilt. My mother sewed some and showed me the very basics. I sew clothing, household items, doll clothes, and quilts (bed and wall). Quilting allows me to create my own designs and use lots of color, fabrics, prints, and fibers. My collection of fabric matches my yarn and crochet thread collections . . . huge!
Of all the varied crafts that you engage in, which is your favorite and why?
Selecting a favorite craft is very difficult. Knitting is probably my choice today because it is so versatile and portable and can be picked up and put down. If I answered that question tomorrow, and I was deeply involved in a quilting project or drawing or painting or tatting or stenciling, those would be my picks. They all require blocks of uninterrupted time, but I find pleasure loosing myself into a fantasy world when I’m creating. I’ve dabbled in so many different crafts and lost arts, and still want to learn more.
I was astounded to find out that Joan has no contact with children. Her shop looks like children live there. To visit click on the spotlight title or go to http://www.focusoncolor.etsy.com