Luna Grey Interview & Giveaway

If you are familiar with my blog or knitting at all, you know I am a huge fan of Luna Grey Fiber Arts and it's fabulous, kind, hard-working owner, Jackie.  Recently, I had the chance to get to know her a little better through a fun little interview, and I'm thrilled to share it with you now!  

Be sure to read it all....Jackie and I are giving away a couple goodies....details below!

An Interview with Jackie-

Jackie Vlcek, hand dyer & owner of Luna Grey Fiber Arts

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!

Jackie, of Luna Grey Fiber Arts, arms full of her hand dyed treasures.

 

Me: How does the world around you, where you are and places you have been, inspire your colorways, because I know it must!?!

Jackie: We moved to Western Colorado from the Florida Keys where we had lived for nearly 10 years.  My husband and I were married in the Keys, purchased our first house and had our first child there.  Understandably, the Keys hold a special place in our hearts.  Many of my colorway names are inspired by our time there.  Bahama Village is a Key West neighborhood in which my husband and I lived for many years.  It's a quaint part of the island that was named for its original Bahamian residents.  Many of the homes in the area are painted vibrant island colors such as lime green and aqua.  The Marquesas are a group of uninhabited islands near Key West.  The islands, which make up the Key West National Wildlife Refuge, are home to 250 bird species and are important for sea turtle nesting.          

"Baja" colorway on the Titan base, another colorway with a seaside feel

Me: What is your favorite part of the dyeing process?

Jackie: I love combining dyes to create new colorways.  While dyeing up one of my standard colorways, I noticed that the two particular dyes used, when combined in just the right quantities, looked surprisingly like Pantone's color of the year for 2014, Radiant Orchid.  It was one of those "happy accidents".  I immediately wrote down the formula and proceeded to dye up the new colorway (pictured below-this is one of our giveaway prizes!) on nearly all of my base yarns.  I love this color for Spring as it's so modern and fresh!      

"Viridian" colorway, one of my personal favorites, on the Celeste base

Me: I feel very privileged that you pursued a relationship with me and that we have been able to partner up on so many fun projects so far, as well as get to know each other better!  I know you have partnered with a few designers now.....can you talk a little about that experience, what you love, maybe what you don't, etc?

Jackie: I have really enjoyed creating knitting kits with you, Amy Miller and Hilary Smith Callis.  It's a fun way to connect with fellow fiber artists while promoting both the pattern and the yarn.  And, I love that it removes any guesswork from trying to find the right pattern for a particular Luna Grey yarn.  The kits make great gifts and have been a really popular addition to my shop.  I am working with a few other talented designers and hope to release our new kits soon.       


Just a little side note....You can now purchase Portico and Portico Mini, my recently released patterns, as kits from Luna Grey too!  Both Jackie and I are very excited to offer these fun, warmer-weather knitting kits! They make great gifts, and like she says, they take the guesswork out of choosing a project!


Luna Viridi Cowl, by Hilary Smith Callis, in "Viridian" colorway, kits available from Luna Grey

Me: Any other background information, facts, funny stories, etc you want to share with me and our readers?

Jackie: Luna Grey Fiber Arts was named after my sweet, gentle greyhound, Luna.  My husband and I have been advocates of retired racing greyhound adoption since adopting our first greyhound nearly fifteen years ago.  They are amazing animals who, sadly, are in desperate need of homes following their (often short) racing careers.  They are, in my opinion, the perfect dog - most greyhounds don't bark, shed very little, do not slobber or smell and they are calm and gentle.     

Jackie and her family

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into Luna Grey's fiber journey.  I know I sure enjoyed learning more about how Jackie got started, and how her business has bloomed into such a lovely experience.  

From the gorgeous esthetics of her shop, to her amazing colorways, her beyond-excellent customer service, right down to the thoughtfully wrapped packages that brighten your day when they appear in your mailbox, purchasing yarn from Luna Grey truly is a wonderful experience.....and the best part....then you get to knit with it! 

Look at all that beautiful yarn displayed so beautifully! (photo courtesy of Luna Grey)

Look at these amazing projects created by some of Jackie's customers:

Photos used with permission, from top left: Maya's (Rav ID: PetiteThings) Vivian Sweater; Melissa's (Rav ID: MostlyMunchies) Beatrix; Chantelle's (Rav ID: Clayton33) Reixa; Jackie's (Rav ID: Jeex64) Brier Island; Bronwyn's (Rav ID: BronnyMath) Ma-hat-Ma-booties; Jessica's (Rav ID: Twinfiber) Brighton Shawl; Amanda's (Rav ID: davidsaa) Portico; Michelle's (Rav ID: akmmom) Portico. 

 

Now, for the giveaways....

What is your favorite colorway from Luna Grey right now, and what would you knit with it????  Share your comment below for a chance to win one skein of Luna Grey Aspen Sport in the gorgeous Radiant Orchid colorway (pictured below), as well as a pattern of your choice from my shop, Addiesma Designs on ravelry.com.  

The details:  Entries will be accepted through Midnight (CST) Sunday, May 11, 2014.  

Two winners will be chosen randomly, 1st prize-one skein of Aspen Sport; 2nd prize-knitting pattern of winner's choice.  Please include your ravelry ID or email address in your comment so we can contact the winner.  Only US residents are eligible to receive the yarn prize, in order to limit shipping cost for Jackie. International entries are eligible for the pattern prize. 

A big "thank you" to Jackie for taking the time to do this interview, and for donating one of her beauties for a prize!  Good luck, knitters!