Welcome to Thursday Chat, a brand new feature on An Accidental Knitter! For all those who don't already know, Thursday Chat is where every week (on Thursday!) I interview a knitting or crochet blogger/designer/yarn shop owner. I'm full booked for the next 3 months, but if you are interested in being interviewed and you meet the above criteria, drop me a message either on Ravelry, or email me at: email@example.com
So to kick start the proceedings, I managed to get an interview with Tami Klockau from Tami's Amis & Other Creations. Here is how we got on!
What made you learn to knit and crochet?
"I tried to learn how to crochet from my Mom years ago (around 2002-2003), but ended up just getting frustrated. I'm left handed, and she's right handed, so I was never able to watch her and mimic her movements. I gave up and didn't give it another thought. In December of 2009, I just woke up one day with the urge to make something. I'm an artist, but put down the pencil and paints for writing several years back. I guess my love of color was what spurred me on to try again. I asked around the workplace to see if anyone knew how to crochet, but working in a male dominated industry (make video games), everyone looked at me with a blank stare. The next weekend, determined to learn, I bought a skein of Red Heart Super Saver yarn, a size J hook and sat down to YouTube. Luckily, I found videos on how to crochet left handed.
As far as knitting, I just started in November 2010 (as some of you know). I wanted to learn how to knit for a few reasons. One, I was sick of going into LYS (Local Yarn Stores) and having people ask how long I'd been knitting for. I hated the way crocheters were looked down upon. I felt out of place not knowing how to knit, or not welcomed. I also wanted to make garments like swearers and socks. I know you can crochet those items as well, but knitting just feels more store bought of real. Since then, I haven't been able to put the hook (and now needles) down."What is your favourite item to make?
"This a hard question. I LOVE making amigurumis (which is one of the reasons I wanted to learn how to crochet), but right now I'd say socks. I just finished my first sock and loved the process. It almost seems like magic knitting the heel flap, heel turn and gusset. The great thing is now that I know how to knit socks, I can finally use the large amount of sock yarn I have in my stash!"What has been your biggest success?
"At this point, I'd have to say the amazing community built through Work In Progress Wednesday (WIPW) and FO Friday. If we're talking about skills, I think how fast I've generally picked up knitting has been a big success. I surprise myself whenever I finished a knitting project and it actually looks good with pretty even stitches. And for projects? I'd say Roger, my Rebecca Danger knitting monster. I had to learn so many different knitting skills to finish him, and even put it down for several months due to frustration. I'm proud that I picked it up again and kept going."Not everything turns out as we hoped, tell us about some of your disasters!
"Like everyone, I've had my fair share. You're really going to make me relive them? LOL."
"When I first started crocheting, I wanted to make amigurumis like I mentions. For some reason, I crochet CRAZY tight, so tight that sometimes it's hard to put the hook into the stitches. I started making a Tortoro with a grey Red Hear Super Save yarn that I had to search all over for. For some reason, none of the stores I looked in had this particular grey and when I finally found it, I started right away. I ended up trying to crochet the poor thing SO tight, that it was taking me hours just to make a little progress, and my hands ached like no other. Seriously, it was so tight, the thing could stand on its own before even finishing or stuffing him. It was like a sculpture. Funny enough, I just frogged it the other day when I was re-organizing my stash. It was crocheted so tight, I had to just cut off the yarn I had crocheted with from the rest of the ball because it was way too crinkled to do anything with."
"As far as knitting, since I'm a fairly new knitting I've had a few. I bought this chunky wool yarn to make a scarf with. it was a basic ribbed pattern, but considering it was pretty much the first thing I'd ever knitting, it didn't go well. After 3 froggings, I gave up. I was using terrible Clover bamboo needles I bought at a box store that had no point, and the yearn was way too fuzzy. It probably would have helped too, if I were to realize that I had to bring the yarn forward to do a purl stitch and bring it back to knit." Shakes head.How did you get into dyeing?
"As I mentioned before, I gave up painting (and drawing) several years ago. I have an art degree and even taught art at a studio for a few years to all ages. I think I missed the act of mixing paints, and just the beautiful colors I could create in a painting. I guess you can say I now use yarn as my canvas. I started simple, using a few colors here and there with Fisherman's wool. I was hooked! I went and bought every Kool-aid color I could find and the 12 color Wilton's Icing Dye set. I started reading all about different ways to dye. I'm lucky that all the years of color theory have come in use!"What inspired you to start blogging?
"I had a writing blog at the time, but it was with a few other writers, so I felt like I needed another blog to share the other creative side of me. I seem to always jump into something with both feet. LOL! I got the idea for the blog well before actually launching it. I just felt like I needed to to get a little better at crocheting before showing anything off. My first blog post was August 2, 2010. I got a few comments, which made me SO excited. We had a lot of readers/followers for the writing blog I was involved in, but not many seemed to comment on our posts. I loved how responsive the crochet/knitting community was and how quick they were to take in a new blog into their daily or weekly routine."How did the ideas for WIP Wednesday and FO Friday come about?
"I originally started WIPW because my friend and I thought it would be fun to share what we were working on and it would spur us on to actually feeling guilty when we stopped working on a project. I never dreamt WIPW and now FO Friday would grow the way it has. Once WIPW took off, it seemed like we needed an outlet to share the projects that we had finished. I posted a poll on my blog asking if anyone would participate in a FO Friday, even though they were already committing to doing WIPW. A few people said yes, so FO Friday was born . I look forward each week to sharing my projects and being able to share in the fun (stress, frustration, elation) of other people's projects. I feel like I know most of the participants and like I have friends across the world now. I also love that we have new people sharing their links each week. It's a great way to find new projects to add to your queue, and like I said, I feel pressured (in a good way) to have new projects (and finished projects) each week."
We hear you have a shop, tell us about it, and how it got started!
"I do! It's called Candy Skein and I officially opened the virtual doors May 3, 2011. Right now I sell all weights of yarn, in fun colorways inspired by both candy and drinks, but hope to expand to handmade stitch markers and other items. I try to come up with colorways that I love (which is hard to then sell them since I'd kill to keep most of them) and use all techniques (kettle dyed, hand painted, self striping). I also have a section on the Candy Skein site where customers can view all colorways that exist in all weights, so if you see a color you'd love in lace weight, for example, that isn't available at that time you can just contact me and I can custom dye it for you. I plan to continue to release new colorways in all weights (especially in the coming weeks) and I also just got the tools to do larger batches of dye lots for those of you who want to make bigger items like sweaters. If there is a color you'd like in larger dye lot quantities, please let me know! I ship domestic and international!"
"To be honest, I would have never dreamt I would be opening a yarn store a year ago. As I mentioned above, I started dyeing yarn just for fun, needing an outlet to use my love of color. There was such a great response on my blog, and I started dyeing way too much yarn to keep (is there such a thing? If you live in a small place like I do, there is!) I got the idea to try to sell a few skeins. I didn't seriously start thinking of opening the shop until around the holidays last year. I'll never forget, my husband and I took a trip up the California coast the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve to visit the tiki bars and LYS that area has to offer. We were playing around with different names, as I sat with my phone typing our ideas into Google to see if someone had already come up with the same name. It was a cold, rainy afternoon (is there any other kind in San Francisco during the winter?) and we were having lunch at Trader Vic's (we're HUGE into tiki) and my husband got the idea to call the shop Candy Skein. I knew I wanted the word skein in the name, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE candy (seriously, if I could live on one thing in this world it would be candy and cake). It seemed like a perfect fit. It gave me a chance to have colorway ideas built into the name, and using bright fun colors. The name wasn't taken, so as soon as we got home, I made sure to grab it on any site I could think of to make sure it wasn't taken from under my nose. I built the website and my amazing husband did all the graphics (it pays off to be married to an artist!) that you seen on my business cards/yarn tags. The rest is history as they say."A big thank you to Tami for allowing us to find out a little bit more about her. If you have any questions for Tami, about her shop etc please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tune in next week when I'll be interviewing Natalie from Misadventures in Craft.