October 8, 2008
Today’s Limelight focuses on Claudia, owner and dyer of the beautiful yarn that comes from Claudia Hand Painted. When we opened here at The Loopy Ewe, this was one of our first lines (along with Cherry Tree Hill, Schaefer Yarn, Regia, and Opal.) We’ve grown a little since then! But I knew that Claudia’s yarn was something that sock knitters would love just as soon as I saw it at that first TNNA Market (before the website had even opened for business). We have carried it ever since. I know you’ll enjoy getting to meet her today!
Loopy: Hi Claudia! We appreciate you taking the time to talk today. Have you been a knitter for long? And who taught you to knit?
Claudia: My mother taught me to knit. Of course she taught me to knit right handed. I did not knit much as a child, but about 12 years ago, I picked it up again. I have been a voracious knitter and have taught myself to knit left handed.
Loopy: I think there are a lot of people out there who tried it as a child and then came back to it years later. (Of course some of you tried and and stuck with it the whole time!) What is your favorite item to knit?
Claudia: I am a sweater knitter. When I first got back into knitting I could only knit solid colored garments so I began to knit cabled items. Everyone told me socks were too hard, so I put off knitting them for years only to discover that they are not that difficult. So, now I tell people to knit whatever items they are interested/passionate about.
Loopy: Right – socks are not that hard at all. I’m glad you discovered that along the way. So you like cables and sweaters – what is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Claudia: I designed and knit my Twirling Diamonds Coat. That took a year for me to knit & design.
Loopy: That sounds pretty – we need to see a picture. It seems like you’ve been in this business for quite awhile. What did you do before you were dyeing yarn as Claudia Hand Painted?
Claudia: I worked with my former husband in the brokerage business.
Loopy: That doesn’t sound like a place to explore too much creativity! How did you decide to start a yarn company?
Claudia: I wanted to involve both the creative and problem solving parts of me. I had a brush with my own mortality and as a result made some significant changes in my life. One of which was to allow myself to be creative.
Loopy: We’re so glad you came up with your yarn company through all of that. What is your favorite part of your job? And your not-so-favorite part?
Claudia: My favorite part – the satisfaction of walking out of the dye room after a day’s dyeing. It feels great to have “created” something. My not-so-favorite part? I cannot look at the yarn until it is dry. I am always overly critical of my work while it is fresh. Once the yarn is rinsed & dried I am much happier with the results.
Loopy: How do you come up with your colorways, and do you have a personal favorite? I know that our favorite is our signature “Peppermint Mocha” colorway. We use a photo of that in all of our Loopy Ewe ads and so many people email to find out what that colorway is called.
Claudia: Ocean Depth and Oops! are my favorites. Inspiration comes from everything around me. Sometimes I find myself just looking at the sky and trying to figure out how to achieve the exact color in a cloud.
Loopy: A cloud colorway would be pretty! Besides knitting and dyeing, are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Claudia: I love to garden.
Loopy: That would also be a good place to find new colorways. If you had a day off, how would you spend it?
Claudia: I love to sleep in if possible, then curl up on the couch with a good book and my pets. I have a dog, cat and macaw (bird). Bitsy the dog and Alice the macaw come to work with me every day.
Loopy: We’re glad that you shared photos of them with us. I don’t think I have heard of another “shop bird” before. I like it. Anything else you’d like to add?
Claudia: Thank you to all you knitters who take the time to let me know how our yarns are working out for you. I love to get feedback from knitters.