Friday, February 26, 2010

Etsy Knitters and Crocheters on Parade

Missy Littell has had her shop Littelme and My Knitting since November 1999. Her shop has truly unique knitted jewelry, as well as, scarves and other items. I was captivated by her and her items. To browse her shop, just click on the title Etsy Knitters and Crocheters on Parade.

You have been knitting for four years. What motivated you to learn to knit?

Actually, a library conference. I'm a part-time children's librarian, and at this conference there were several knitters. I don't know how many people would go to a library conference, see some librarians knitting and think, "Oh my gosh, I must be a part of this," but that's what happened to me. The portability of the craft, the idea that what started out as just a ball of yarn could be turned into something useful, wearable, beautiful--a creation that would probably outlive its creator. I was hooked. I didn't know any knitters at the time, so when I went home checked out a knitting DVD from my library and would use online video demos whenever I got stuck on a particular stitch. Within weeks, I had produced my first scarf.

Where did you get your inspiration for your beautiful knitted jewelry?

Books. As a librarian, I have immediate access to the newest, most modern knitting titles as well as the knitting classics. I find them in catalogs, put them on hold at the library, pour over them, save away patterns to make later, make little tweaks here and there. I also have a lot of knitting friends I have made in the past few years that will e-mail me new patterns or drop off knitting patterns at work for me. In this way, I am able to find a lot of unique patterns and ideas.

Any recommendations?

I've been really impressed by the "One Skein Wonder" series. They have lots of patterns that are easy to make, but the end outcome is really unique. I like anything by Debbie Bliss, I think she is an amazing knitter. For some lighter reading, "At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much," was great, even made me laugh out loud! All knitters will relate. I also checked out "A History of Hand Knitting" by Richard Putt. It was quite texty, but full of interesting knitting history and just a fascinating read. There was a photo in that book of a sock that was dated back something like 1500 years. All I kept thinking was, I wonder what this knitter would think if he/she could have known that 1500 years after creating that sock, a girl would be sitting on her lunch break eating a sandwich and reading about it!

Your bio says you love crafting. What other crafts do you engage in?

My aunt taught me to cross-stitch when I was 5, though I pretty much folded that away once I began knitting. I sew and do scrapbooking and I dabble in writing and photography. I am currently teaching a series of classes on digital photography for my job. It's kind of a compulsion for me--I simply have to be creating something at all times. I taught myself to knit without looking at my project so that I can knit while watching TV or in a dark theater or a long car ride. While I was in the early stages of labor with my son, I knitted a scarf, which is no small feat with an IV in your hand. The hospital staff must have thought I was out of my mind.

If you could have anything you wanted, what would it be and why?

Well, with a part-time job, a husband who is a minister, a private voice lesson business and an active toddler, my first inclination is to say "a good night's sleep." But I guess what I really want is more time. More time to spend with my family, more time to serve in the church, more time to learn to be a better mother, wife, friend, worker, teacher. More time to live a healthier life and take better care of myself--and, of course, more time to knit! I don't know if this is normal, but the older I get the more I feel like I am capable of accomplishing anything, if only there was enough time...

Where do you see your shop in five years?

Hopefully an expanded version of what it is now. I am dying to add more items to my shop, but as I have already expressed, my time is limited and I do the best I can with the time I have. In five years I hope I will have discovered new and amazing treasures to add to it, or made up something entirely new and different on my own.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Etsy Knitters and Crocheters on Parade

Pamela Ziemlewicz of Most Favorite Aunt opened her Etsy shop in February, 2008. Her shop sports many accessories, as well as, coffee cozies and doll clothes. Check out her shop by clicking on the title Etsy Knitters and Crocheters on Parade.

Pamela, you are an engineer. What area do you work in?

I'm a Quality Engineer. The company I work for makes ATMs. I make
sure they're right, and lay into contractors to make sure they stay
that way.

Your bio says that you are overworked. What do you do away from work
when you are not knitting?

I travel ~70% of the time. I used to split travel downtime between
knitting and reading. Recently, the lovely folks at TSA have decided
that aluminum needles are a potential weapon, so I've been doing a lot
more reading.

When did you learn to knit and who taught you?

My grandmother taught me when I was very young. I re-taught myself
w/ youtube after college.

If you lived in the tropics, what would you knit?

I'd probably still knit scarves... then sell them to the blustery
cold North. I love when guage isn't a requirement for the pattern.

How has your shop changed since you opened it in 2008?

Not really. When I opened up it was a lot of baby hats, and adult
scarves. Still true to form.

It seems that grandmothers are a common teacher of knitters. Yay for grandmothers. I thank your grandmother for teaching you, and you, Pamela, for sharing with us. You can follow Pamela at

Friday, February 5, 2010

Etsy Knitters and Crocheters on Parade

As I have interviewed Etsy knitters, I have come to realize how much I find in common with them. However, it seems that many of us share participation in performing arts, homeschooling and broadcast media. Deborah Long of Anytime Accessories says she grew up a military brat - living between Fayetteville, NC and Panama, Central America. She graduated from East Carolina University in 1995 with a BS in Communication and Minor in Theatre Arts. That's where she learned to sew.

You have had your shop on Etsy since October, how did you come to the decision to sell your work here?

I have been selling my handbags and scarves locally for about three years. With lots of encouragement from family and friends, I decided to take my items to a larger market. I had visited Etsy before and was impressed with all the talented artisans and their shops. I just thought I would give it a shot. It’s been slow going, but I’m determined to make it a success. I get excited when I finish a new item and showcase it in my shop.

When did you learn to knit, and who taught you?

I learned to knit more than three years ago thanks to my mother-in-law. She’s an avid knitter. She got me started by giving me some of her yarn, needles and a how-to book on knitting. I was addicted from the first cast-on. One of my first projects was a simple handbag. After that I knew I had found my niche. I now create my own patterns.

You have a background in TV news. In what area did you work?

I got my start in television news while I was in college. My first job was as a tape editor at WITN TV-7 in Washington, North Carolina. After graduation I worked my way up to newscast producer. Shortly after that I became a reporter/anchor. I’ve covered everything from bank robberies and car accidents to hurricanes and floods. I’ve interviewed lots of interesting people - from actress Beth Grant to former presidential candidate John Edwards.

If you could pick one thing to make huge impact on the world, what would it be and why?

I really think the concept of re-use could really make a difference, instead of using something one time and then discarding it. I am amazed at the artists who create beautiful items out of something old and drab. Recycling in general is important to me. I live in an area where it is not mandatory. But we do it in my house. I want for it to be second nature for my kids. I want them to always think “can this item be used again?”

What do you do when you are not knitting?

I am a stay at home mom so my days are filled with diapers, dishes, laundry, homework, dinner, baths, and bedtime. I literally do all my knitting at night. At times I sew for my kids. In the near future I plan to take a break from yarn and work on some spring dresses for my girls.

You can find Deborah's shop by clicking on the title Etsy Knitters and Crocheters on Parade.