Angela in The Loopy Limelight

Who would’ve thought that socks would look so cute with coordinating toes and heels? Angela, creator of Duets from A Swell Yarn Shop. I know that lots and lots of you have had fun with her great color combinations and unique colorways – not only for socks, but mittens, gloves, and even striping sweaters, which is what someone this week said they were using their Duets for. (I can’t wait to see that one.) I know you’ll have fun learning more about Angela and her business today. (And I will give you a full Fiber Festival report on Wednesday – we had a great time!)

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Loopy: Hi Angela! Thanks for taking time to be in the Limelight today. How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?
Angela: Hi Loopy! My Grandma taught me when I was 8 years old. I didn’t do much with it then, but my mom was quite the knitter while I was in my pre-teens and I joined in and made some pretty good garments…then came the teen years and the needles were cast aside. In my twenties came my little doggy who shivered constantly. He was in desperate need of a sweater, so I picked up the needles to make him a sweater and I have been knitting constantly ever since! He happens to have quite the extensive wardrobe now, I might add! :) So technically I have been knitting for 25 years, but that’s give or take a few years!

Loopy: We know just how that “give and take a few years” works. That happened to us, too. What is your favorite item to knit?
Angela: Once I discovered socks weren’t nearly as difficult as the pattern made them sound, I always have a pair of socks on the needles (if not two or three)! Outside of that, I do love my cardigans! Chunky ones, fitted ones, vintage ones, and on and on.

Loopy: Socks – no surprise there since you make such enticing sock yarn combinations. I don’t know how you choose which ones to keep! What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Angela: Shortly after picking up the needles to knit a doggy sweater, I decided to knit a vintage eyelet cardigan. Looking back, I am amazed that I took that on, knitted the entire thing as fast as I did, and didn’t even realize the skill level that I should have had to even attempt it. Goes to show, if you just take a project on step by step, you can do anything!

Loopy: That’s a great story and should encourage a lot of people. How did you go from knitting to dyeing?
Angela: I was knitting with my Stitch n Bitch Group and as the conversation rolled it came up that it would be great if you could get a sock yarn with a different heel and toe yarn all in one. The idea stayed with me for the next 2 years hoping that someone would come up with such a yarn, but no one ever did. I loved the idea so much that I decided to give it a shot! It started off as just a few skeins for friends, then selling out at crafts shows, then yarn shops asking to carry the yarns. I guess lots of other sock knitters wanted coordinating heel and toe yarns for their socks as much as I do :)

Loopy: It really is a fun look for socks. How do you come up with your colorways, and do you have a favorite?
Angela:
My colorways, as everyone knows, change constantly. This is because I dye the yarn based on what I am inspired by at that moment. It can be anything from a flower I see, to a piece of fabric, to a commercial on TV. The colorways can start with just a name or theme or a favorite color of the day. I never know what color I will be dyeing that day. I have been asked to repeat several favorite colorways and I will give it a whirl, but I have found that if I am not inspired to work with those colors, the batch is a flop. It still amazes me how much inspiration plays a part in creating a good colorway. My absolute favorite colorway will always be Hip Chick…pink, lime green, natural and chocolate brown. All 4 of my all time favorite colors right there in my favorite pair of Duet Socks!

Loopy: We know that you like to constantly change colorways. In fact, we probably have taken more photos of your yarn than any other dyer, since it’s always new and usually limited edition! What is your favorite part of your job? And your not-so-favorite part?
Angela: One of my favorite parts of the job is the commute. I used to commute a total of 2 hours a day in traffic. The walk to my yarn work area each morning is all of 30 seconds and I appreciate that every single day. My VERY favorite part of my job is the amazing customers!!! From the Duet Knitters to the Yarn Shops, they are the nicest people you could ever hope to work with. My e-mail box is full of suggestions, compliments, general conversation and great people. To everyone out there, you are the BEST!!! My not so favorite part is that I have to wear pretty scrungy clothes to dye yarn, so I look pretty cruddy during the day. I even scared the UPS guy when he first started delivering the base yarn because I opened the door with latex gloves on, ratty clothes and no make-up…he about jumped out of his shoes at the sight of me! Thankfully he’s now used to it now. :-)

Loopy: At least you have a good excuse for looking that way when he arrives. You didn’t say, “I’m dyeing”, right? Because you know how that sounds… Tell us about your family.
Angela: My family is my hubby who has hand made all the machinery that makes it possible to get the yarn out in the quantities that I do. Without his skills and creations, no yarn shops would be able to carry the yarn. Then there are all my critters (my babies) which include my doggies, kitties and angora bunnies. They are my very enthusiastic and supportive co-workers. They create the unexpected and much needed breaks I take throughout the day!

Loopy: Uh oh. You have angora bunnies? The Loopy Lady is now on an angora bunny kick. Better not tell her. Does anyone else in your family knit?
Angela: My mother-in-law has jumped on the knitting wagon and grabbed on with both reins. She LOVES the Duet Yarns! She had no interest in knitting because she thought wool was just too scratchy. I told her that yarns have come a long way and to just try a pair of socks with my Duet Sock Yarn….now she stops by just to see if I have any oops yarn she can get her hands on. She is a Duet Yarn Junky now!

Loopy: Lucky for her that she has an “in” with the dyer! Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Angela: This list could go on forever! I spin, sew, and crochet. I design the patterns for the Lucky Lurker Club. I am part of two fabulous knitting groups. I make candles, soap, lotions, and natural household products. I bake doggy biscuits galore. I garden, compost, and create natural and organic foods. I walk. I play Texas Hold ‘em. I spoil all my critters like there is no tomorrow. And on the weekends, my hubby and I sneak off and go camping as much as possible.

Loopy: Well obviously the better question might’ve been “What don’t you do?” :-) That’s quite a list! What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Angela: The perfect day off is on the white sandy beach of Mexico with a Mango Daquiri and my knitting!

Loopy: Anything else you’d like to add?
Angela: While knitting and yarn are a major passion in my life, my PURPOSE in life is to do everything I can to help stop puppymills. So many people don’t even realize where the puppies in petstores or on-line sellers come from. They are from puppymills, which means tiny cages in which the dogs live in filth their entire life, doing nothing but making more puppies. They never get to see the outside or even touch grass or feel what it’s like to be petted. They are abused, neglected, starved and tortured. The only thing that can stop puppymills is to simply never ever purchase an animal from a petstore or on-line seller. These sources will insist that they are not from puppymills, but don’t believe them! Adopt from a shelter or visit the breeder’s home. If everyone simply stopped purchasing from petstores or on-line sellers, there would be no puppymills – it’s as simple as that. I encourage you to do your own research and find out more about puppymills too. Please consider giving a critter a second chance at life … adopt from your local shelter!
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Sheri whotriedreallyhardtotalkJaniceintobuyingAngoraBunniesthisweekend
Shehastheperfectsetupforthem.Idon’t.Itdidn’twork.sigh.


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19 comments on “Angela in The Loopy Limelight

  1. A great interview Loopy. I have knit with Duets and it is a lovely yarn. I have to agree with Angela about the puppy mills and I think that it is great that she donates a portion of money from her sales. Way to go! Glad you had a great time Sheri. Hugs

  2. Great interview!

    I want a mango daquiri, the beach and my knitting too! Instead of fighting, 100% heat and diapers… I can dream , right?

    Glad you had a great weekend, Sheri! Can’t wait to hear all about it. xxoo

  3. Thanks for the great interview with Angela. I have some of Angela’s yarn and it is just gorgeous. Happy to hear you had a nice time this past weekend. Looking forward to hearing about it on Wednesday. :)

  4. Great interfvew, I bought Duet yarns way back before LE had them when I did some test knitting for a designer and they were sent as the yarn. Immediate love. So happy LE now has them. Can’t wait to hear ab out the festival.

  5. Fabulous interview! Not only do I love her yarns but totally support her spirit of adopting from shelters …. and I’m sure she includes rescues in that group, too. Puppy mills are horrors…our rescue just got in two puppy mill dogs last week and already they are doing better. A long way to go but they will make it. People like Angela are great advocates for stopping puppy mills … they touch everyone’s lives. Thank you so much!

  6. Another great interview. I love getting to know all these Loopy Limelighters
    Those Angora bunnies are cute but boy do they make my kids sneeze.

  7. Thanks to Loopy for another great interview. Kudos to Angela for encouraging shelter adoptions and battling the puppy mills.

    I can’t wait to hear all about your weekend, Sheri! (Angora bunnies? What would Zoe and Gracie have to say about that?)

  8. This is the first interview I have felt compelled to comment on. While I enjoy them all, Angela wins my heart for her stand on puppy mills and rescue and adoption of shelter pets. Good for you, Angela! Keep sounding the cry! The mistreatment and degradation of animals degrades us, as well. There is too much greed and cruelty in this world. We must stop making it easy for these money grubbers to make a buck on the misfortune of God’s creatures.

  9. What a wild coincidence — just yesterday, I received my very first skein of Duets Skinny (won’t be the last!) and here Angela is in the spotlight! Her yarn is amazing, but she’s even more incredible for her work in helping stop puppy mills. I’ve always found my cats at shelters (or from a pregnant stray who delivered on my doorstep), and I will NOT shop at any “pet store” which sells puppies and/or kittens.

  10. I havent bought any Duets yet but plan to in the near future (bank account has to recover first HEHE) There are a few of her colors that catch my eye everytime I browse TLE. I have a couple of nieces that would love the pinks and purples she creates so am keeping that in mind as I do christmas planning and knitting :-) One of my kitties came from a pet store that did adoptions for the Humane Society, she wasnt adopted I purchased her. They were selling her and a littermate for a local Breeder. The other 4 were adopted when they showed up as strays in my front yard.

  11. Not only does Angela dye the most gorgeous yarn imaginable, but I am so with her on her stand against puppy mills–yea Angela. She has just become my very favorite “dyer”. I think I will dash over and buy another skein or three.

  12. Great interview Loopy!

    Angela actually lives in my part of the country so I was lucky enough to see her yarns at an LYS before she hit the “big time” with TLE. Angela, I’m so glad you now have the Skinny Duets (middle age is so challenging when it comes to controlling temperature and my feet don’t like to be too hot!). I have a great Mariners Duet from last year’s Stitch-n-Pitch :-) (do you think the Mariners will play better if I get that knit up?)

    I like your stand on puppy mills. I’m a cat person myself, but all my kitties are rescues (former ferals actually) so I know where you’re coming from!

  13. Loopy has the makings of a fine journalist, I must say. I’m a big fan of rescues and reputable breeders. My first cat was from a shelter, and now that she’s gone to the Happy Mousing Grounds, I have a pair from an excellent breeder. We visited her home/farm and were thrilled with how well all the animals were cared for. And we got to pet a calf that they were bottle raising–how cool was that! Good for you, Angela!

    And Sheri, bunnies have big teeth that can EAT YOU ALIVE. Didn’t you see Monty Python and the Holy Grail? And you really don’t want anything around that Gracie and Zoe would view as a tasty snack. Do you feel better now?

  14. Angela is awesome in her decrying of puppymills, one of the most vile despicable practices on earth. She is my new fave yarn dyer.

  15. Great interview with a terrifically talented young lady. she certainly has her life together and her heart in the right places. Beside that she is gorgeous!!

    Angi has been an advocate for pets for years and her quite persistence has touched a lot of people. This article in your publication gives way to more people doing “The Right Thing”

    Isn’t is nice to read about someone so talented and inspired and now you feel you know her.

  16. What a talented and compassionate young woman. Not sure where she finds so many hours in the week. As a breeder I totally agree with her stand on puppymills, but want to point out many reputable breeders have websites and advertise on-line. Like selling yarn, it is just another way of doing business these days. However, once you’ve found a breeder on line go to their home to evaluate them and their puppies or kittens. Never, never purchase over the net. Keep up the good work Angi. May your yarn business flourish and your advocacy be rewarded.

  17. Hurrah for you working to eliminate puppy mills!!!! Though we love puppies, we have adopted three English Springer Spaniels from a rescue group. One was abused; the other two neglected. They are the most loving, grateful dogs and wonderful family.