Me: Can you tell me a little about your "fiber journey?" How did you start out and evolve to spinning/knitting/dyeing, etc? And what made you take your hobby to the next level to run your successful online shop?
Jackie: I love "fiber journey". It sounds so adventurous! Honestly, I had never really thought much about knitting, as it was not a craft that anyone in my circle of friends or family had ever done. However, about 8 years ago, I was visiting family in Salt Lake City and wandered into a cute little yarn shop. I was immediately smitten with all of the amazing colors and textures of the yarn. They offered a free "Learn to Knit" class with a purchase. So, I grabbed a skein of (very scratchy) wool yarn and a circular bamboo needle. I wanted to make a baby hat for my 10-month old baby boy. The class was huge (20+ people) and taught casting on, the knit stitch, purl stitch, binding off, weaving in ends, etc. all in the span of an hour. I left the class, convinced that I was officially a "knitter". Unfortunately, a few hours later, when I picked up my project, I had completely forgotten everything I had learned. Over the next several weeks, I wrestled with that little hat and ended up very discouraged and incredibly frustrated. As a mom of a baby boy, scheduling another class was difficult. Instead, I grabbed a copy of Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'n Bitch book. I read it from cover to cover several times. After a few more harried attempts, I finally finished that little hat. From there, I was hooked!
Like many knitters, I find the craft therapeutic. I have always had a lot of nervous energy and find it difficult to sit still or relax. Knitting forces me to just "be". As a stay-at-home mom, of two young boys, my days are filled with many tasks that take up much of my time and energy, but do not always have a tangible "result". Knitting is something I can grab for a few minutes here or there to calm my mind and ease my nerves. And, at the end of the day, I have something to show for my efforts. I find this incredibly satisfying. I need to knit. It keeps me sane!
On a trip to the Taos Wool Festival in 2010, I picked up a few jars of wool dye and a couple skeins of undyed sock yarn. I had no intentions of doing anything large scale. I just wanted to play around with color. My first attempts at yarn dyeing were admittedly pretty awful. However, over time my creations improved. After urging from friends and family, I decided to open my Etsy shop. My stash of hand dyed yarn had grown quite large and I was unlikely to ever have enough time to knit it all up. The shop took off and I have been happily dyeing yarn ever since. It has become a full-time job for me and for that, I am incredibly grateful!