Archives from January 19, 2009

Marie in The Loopy Limelight

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, January 19th, 2009 in Loopy Limelight

yarnrainbowI’m back from TNNA (and warm weather in CA) and I’ll post all of the details on Wednesday’s blog!  In the meantime, I wanted you to meet Marie of Brooklyn Handspun in today’s Limelight. I’m knitting a sock with her yarn in Aquatic and it’s amazingly soft and wonderful. I wish you all could reach through your monitors and feel this. (Web Guy needs to invent that technology….)
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Loopy: Hi Marie!  Thanks so much for being in the Limelight today. We love having your yarn here and I know that many of our Loopy customers have had fun adding it to their stashes and projects.  How long have you been a knitter, and where did you learn to knit?
Marie: Hi Loopy! My grandmother first taught me to knit when I was 10, although I didn’t really have the patience for how long each row took so needless to say I never went beyond a little square of fabric.  In 2003, I went craft supply shopping. I made a lot of wire and beaded jewelry back then, and noticed all the colorful yarn.  I wanted it all but I had no idea how to use it so I decided to try my hand at knitting again and taught myself how to knit from a book I was gifted.

Loopy: I re-learned to knit in adulthood from a book, too! I’m glad it “stuck” this time, for both of us. What is your favorite thing to knit, and what is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Marie: Socks of course!  I love quick and colorful socks – I don’t have the patience for large knit items and socks are great for knitting on the subway.  I have also started to really enjoy crocheting amigurumi. I usually stick to simpler knits since I rarely have time to really concentrate on a difficult pattern, although right now I’m crocheting lots of little flowers for my wedding bouquet using a tiny steel crochet hook and embroidery thread – that has been pretty challenging.

Loopy: That will make such a unique bouquet – and one that you can keep. How did you move from knitting to dyeing?
Marie: I actually went from knitting, to spinning, to dyeing.  After knitting for a while I thought: why not make my own yarn?  So I bought a drop spindle on ebay and 2 weeks later bought my first wheel – I was hooked.  A few months into spinning I got tired of plain white fiber and decided to experiment with some koolaid dyeing.  The results were wonderful and that same week I went out and bought 20 colors of acid dyes.  I was fully addicted to dyeing fiber and my own handspun when I really got into sock knitting.  At that point, 2005, there really weren’t too many indie yarn dyers so I started to dye my own sock yarn and well, the rest is history!

Loopy: It’s nice to know that you were one of the first indie dyers out there. There do seem to be a lot of them at this point.  How do you come up with your colorways? And do you have a favorite?
Marie: I take inspiration from wherever I can get it – nature, printed fabrics, even grocery store packaging!  I keep a little book with me and whenever I see a great color combo, I take note of it for the next dye session.  I can’t say I have a favorite since my colorways are always changing.  I am drawn to deep purples and burgundy.

Loopy: The little book idea is a good one. That way you always have ideas to run with when it’s a dyeing day. What is your favorite part of your job? And your not-so-favorite part?
Marie: I love the act of creating, of picking colors and seeing them mingle on a skein of yarn – it’s very satisfying, but I think my favorite part is seeing the items knit by my customers.  I get such a thrill knowing our combined efforts will make a beautiful finished object.  My not so favorite part is accidentally dyeing my hands wild colors, you should see the looks I get on the subway when I’ve had a little “color explosion.”

img_0162Loopy: I would think if you had been dyeing with reds, you might look a little dangerous. Although maybe people give you a wide berth that way!  Do you do this business full-time, or on the side?  And is that hard?
Marie: I consider this to be my second job. I feel I put just as much time and effort into Brooklyn Handspun as I do my day job where I am a paralegal extraordinaire.  It’s especially apparent when I’m dyeing all day on the weekends and late into the night.  It can be difficult with 2 jobs, but I love what I do so it’s worth the sacrifice of some personal time.

Loopy: It’s probably a good outlet for the right side of your brain, after working in the left side all day long.  Does anyone else in your family knit?
Marie: I am the only knitter in my family, although my 9 year old niece has shown some interest.  I think I can turn her into a little knitter in no time!

Loopy: Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Marie: I enjoy most things of a crafty nature, such as jewelry making, quilting, sewing, photography – anything that involves creativity and color.  I have a weakness for fantasy novels and can spends days on end reading them if given the opportunity.  I am also a classically trained singer and when I had time I sang with a small opera company, although now I generally just annoy my cats singing arias around the house.

Loopy: So some of our yarns might’ve been sung to as they were dyeing up? I like that!  What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Marie: Hmm a day off?  What’s that? If a day off does exist, then I think I’d sleep in, knit for a few hours in my PJ’s listening to music, bake something sweet and sinful before sitting down with a good book.  If, after all that excitement, I still have energy, I’ll order in some dinner, cuddle up on the couch with my partner and our 4 cats, grab a WIP and watch a good movie.

Loopy: Thanks for being in the Limelight today, Marie!
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Sheri spendingaquietdayhereatLoopycatchinguponthings

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