September 15, 2008
Today we have Angelina from Zen String in The Loopy Limelight. Angelina has been one of our indie dyers for a long time. In fact, when I found her, her company was called Cinnamon Stitches and she was just then changing it to Zen String! We debuted her yarn in February of 2007 and you all have loved it ever since. Angelina is the dyer of our famous Loopy Legends line (she’s working on another big batch of that, as well as a brand new batch of Loopy Legends which will come out after the holidays.) She also came up with our fun signature colorway, Bart and Louise in the Garden (seen pictured here.) Have you wondered where that name came from? Bart and Louise are Loopy’s siblings (officially it’s Black Bart and Sister Louise), so Angelina took that information and ran with it. We love the colorway. (More of that arriving soon, too.) Angelina took a dyeing break this summer, but she’s back at it full force and you will see a regular influx of Zen String yarn, starting in the next month or so. Get ready! (Other photos shown here are from the Loopy Legends line: Theresa’s Italian Vineyards and Janice’s Sunshine in Winter.)
Loopy: Hi Angelina! We’re so glad to have you in the Limelight today. You are one of our long-time, beloved indie dyers and we’re happy that people can get to know you a bit better. Tell us how long you’ve been a knitter and who taught you?
Angelina: Hi Loopy! I taught myself to knit after many trials and errors, after my mother passed away almost four years ago.
Loopy: Knitting was probably very therapeutic at that time. What is your favorite item to knit now?
Angelina: This is a hard one for me to answer, since I sadly haven’t knit as many things as I’d like to. Of course I love knitting socks. Even more, I adore wearing hand knit socks. Hats, baby clothing, scarves … those are all fun, too!
Loopy: I think one of the reasons so many people knit socks is because they’re so wonderful to wear. We totally understand that! What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Angelina: The most challenging thing I ever knit was my first project after learning to cast on: a baby soaker for my little one on the way. In no way was it the most difficult, but I ended up knitting the silly thing backwards and inside out! I still can’t figure out how I did that one. Before my daughter was born, I accidentally felted the soaker, saving her from having to actually wear the thing.
Loopy: Sounds like the washing machine was looking out for your daughter. How did you make the move from knitting to dyeing?
Angelina: For me, dyeing was actually long before knitting. Before my adventures into fibers, I was a fiber artist of the fabric kind. I dyed many types of fabrics for several years before picking up my first pointy sticks. I actually dyed the yarn I used for the ill-fated soaker with Kool-Aid! I can be very picky about colors.
Loopy: I don’t know many people who dyed the yarn for their very first knitting project. I’m sure that’s a record of some kind! How do you come up with your colorways, and do you have a favorite?
Angelina: Usually I find inspiration for colorways by looking into nature. Sometimes I have a particular thing or person I wish to celebrate in color. Gosh, one favorite is an awfully hard task! Jamie is a special colorway to me as it is a tribute to my sister … Georgia tends to be my pick for my daughters … the boys really love the red ones like Soloman …. do I really have to pick one?
Loopy: Ok – we’ll let you off the hook on narrowing it down to just one. But speaking of family, tell us about yours.
Angelina: I have 4 kiddos: 2 boys and 2 girls, ages 10 to 2. They help with small Zen String tasks, and let me know when they think a color doesn’t quite work. All of the kids want a spinning wheel of ther own, and continually add to my “to knit” list. (Though none of them are proficient knitters or spinners yet.)
Loopy: Does anyone else in your family knit?
Angelina: I taught my sister a few years ago. She loved it intermittently … and I still have to cast on new projects for her. I did begin teaching my son, though he loatheed the bulky acrylic yarn that came in the kit. (Good Boy!)
Loopy: Well it sounds like you’re raising him right! It must be all of that good quality yarn he is around, day in and day out. What would be your favorite part of your job, and your not-so-favorite part?
Angelina: The absolute best thing about what I do is definitely seeing the yarn to its finish. I think of myself as an art supply provider, and the crafters as the real artists. It’s what keeps me going and thinking of new dye techniques and fibers. I am simply giddy to see a colorway worked up for the first time. As for the no-fun part – overselling carts and backorders, without question!
Loopy: Do you have other hobbies that you enjoy?
Angelina: Along with knitting and spinning, I really love organic gardening, sewing, photography, pottery, and I like to dabble in many mediums of art as well. There’s a craft for every occasion around here.
Loopy: Wow – I have no idea how you fit all of those wonderful things in, with your dye business and four kids. What if you had a day off – what would be your favorite way to spend it?
Angelina: Oh this one is easy! I’d spend the day under a grove of giant sequoias, knitting. Preferably a sweater for me, because I’ll never get a quiet moment to start one if I’m not isolated in the woods somewhere. If I could be so bold, I’d request some berry lemonade and fresh fruits and veggies. Back in reality, I love spending my days off with the kids, playing and lounging, mostly.
Loopy: You need to jump in and start yourself a sweater, even if we can’t provide the sequoia part! Thanks for being in the Limelight today. Anything else you’d like to add?
Angelina: I feel like the luckiest mama around, doing what I love and spending my days with those I love. Thanks so much for the chat, Loopy!
I hope y’all had a great weekend and stayed safe with the storms. On Wednesday’s blog, I have a few “The Day Loopy Almost Flooded” photos to share with you. (aaack!) On Friday, I’ll tell you about our next Loopy Ewe Challenge, which is going to be fun.