I've started shopping around for supplies to make holiday gifts and came across The Knitting Siren, who makes beautiful bamboo yarns. I had never heard of bamboo yarn, but have since learned that it's a nice alternative to traditional wools. The best part about bamboo is that it's a renewable resource, so it's eco-friendly. It's also breathable, strong and antibacterials!
What is your business name and how did you come up with it?
"The Knitting Siren". I have a friend who teased me saying that I lure her in, singing my siren song of knitting with my patterns and yarns.
What is it that you make?
I sell hand-dyed yarns, mostly bamboo and cotton blends, as well as knitting patterns and hand-knit items. I use cloth diapers with my babies and specialize in wool diaper covers.
Where are you located?
I am near Minot, North Dakota, USA
How and when did you get your start?
I began knitting while pregnant with my second son. I loved the versatility of it and how if I could imagine it, I could knit it. I began working as an assistant to a knitwear designer a few years ago and fell in the love with the whole process of designing.
What inspires you?
I live out in the country surrounded by sunflower fields, wheat fields and a beautiful river. We have spectacular sunsets and sunrises here in North Dakota. I take my camera with me everywhere and when I see a color combination that I like, I take a picture of it.
What is your design process?
For my yarns, I generally just dye when I'm inspired. For my patterns, I keep myself surrounded by notebooks so that when inspiration hits, I can jot down my idea right away. Once I have an idea, I look through my yarns to see what would go well with my idea and I make swatches with different stitch patterns and different needles until I find what I like. I'll knit a garment in my size (or one of my children depending upon the design) and take notes as I go. I then work up a spreadsheet that helps me calculate the remaining sizes. Once I have all the sizes figured out, I write out the pattern and send it to my testers. I try to test each size to make sure the sizing is accurate and fits well. Once my testers are done, I edit the pattern, make it pretty with pictures. Depending on how well the first testing round goes, I may do another round to work out any remaining bugs. Then the pattern is released! This usually takes about 4 months, sometimes more, to complete.
What's your favorite thing about what you do? Least favorite?
I absolutely love seeing others wearing something I created, whether it's my yarn, my pattern, or an item I actually knit. My least favorite part of my job is when I actually release the pattern. It's very exciting, but I get so nervous that I missed a major error.
What advice would you give to new indie businesses?
Just go for it! It never hurts to try. If you are worried about losing money instead of earning, start off small. Save what you earn and put that money back into your business. Stay away from debt.
Do you have anything new and exciting plans for your business or anything that you want people to know about?
I always have new patterns in the works. Right now I'm working on some patterns that use my bamboo. The first is a simple top-down sweater that displays hand-dyed yarns beautifully and the second is a moebius lace shawl.
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
My husband. Being in someone else's shoes helps you appreciate them more.
What is the last book you read?
"The Family Manager Takes Charge" by Kathy Peel.
What was the last movie you went to see?
We took the kiddos to see WALL-E.
What is your most memorable travel experience?
When I was in college, we took an impromtu trip to Canada, stayed at a youth hostel in Winnepeg and just has a great time meeting people from all over the world.
Do you have any pets?
Yes, 1 dog, 1 cat, and 3 Pygora goats.
What are your favorite blogs to read? Indie businesses to shop at?
My good friend Beth from Doodlebirds.com always makes me laugh with her antics at http://www.xanga.com/theknittingidiot. I also frequent her shop at www.doodlebirds.com, as well as http://zenyarngarden.com/zencart/, and http://theyarnarian.blogspot.com/.
What is your favorite food?
I love Indian food. If it has curry, I'll eat it!
Favorite place to visit or place you'd like to visit?
I've always wanted to go to Antactica. Someday...