Name: Yummy Yarn by Kirsten Zerbinis
Website links: Etsy Shop
What do you make?
I make hand dyed fibre for spinning and felting, and handspun yarn. They're one of a kind, beautiful supplies for artisans and crafters.
What or who inspires you?
I'm inspired by the materials. I've been knitting for so long, and I continue to be amazed and inspired by the combinations and possibilities of what seem like small variations - stitch, material, type of yarn, technique. And lately, I've been on a project to support biodiversity. So many fiberistas seem to be stuck on mainly just one sort of sheep, the Merino. It's not that merino isn't a perfectly lovely fibre, but it's like being able to buy only one sort of tomato in the grocery store, or one type of bread. What has inspired me lately has been the project to stretch myself as a spinner and learn how to bring out the best in a lot of different types of fibre, and then bring a range of interesting and wonderful materials to crafters, something they really can't get in a lot of yarn stores. (Not to underrate yarn stores! Several local ones carry my yarn!)
How did you get started?
I got started as a pro because I had moved to a new city with a new baby, and my previous career - college English teacher - was largely closed to me unless I wanted to put my baby in daycare. I didn't. I started the business as just a little thing, just a little attempt at doing something I'd always loved but never thought could be a 'real' job. Three years later, here I am running a profitable business that lets me still be a mostly stay at home parent to my two girls.
It's been so interesting to see how one thing has led to another. I opened an online store for the handspun yarn, and then I did the Farmer's Market that summer. The Farmer's Market let me meet a lot of local crafters, and I was asked to do a demo at an arts centre. That demo led to me teaching there. Teaching there led to me teaching all over the place, and through that I keep getting inspired to make new things, develop my skills still further, see what else I can set my hand to.
photo credit: Kim Werker
What are your favourite materials to work with?
Wool. Actually, even more specifically, wool with personality, wool with body. Can I go ahead and say that I just don't really like merino? I find it kind of lifeless and boring. I love the pillowy bounce of Falkland, the shape and structure of Shetland, the silky hand of BFL. I get cold, man, and I want to knit stuff that has substance.
List 5 of your favourite links and why you like them
Ravelry: It's the spinning knitter's best friend. I love that I can just plug a bunch of constraints into their search engine -- yardage, gauge, preferred project type -- and it will spit out dozens of projects that fit. No more sitting there with a skein of yarn trying to pull an idea out of your own head, now you can plug into the hive mind!
Etsy: It's Etsy, dude. It's like regular, but without the sore feet and the greasy, uneasy feeling that your'e contributing to evil just by being there (or is that just me?). I love love love seeing what thousands of crafters accomplish when they all put their stuff up together.
Living Crafts: There aren't many crafts magazines I read, but I love this one. It's full of ideas for crafts to do for the home and with kids, but it's very wool based. There is almost no plastic lacing or glitter involved, but instead there's a focus on natural materials, simple and elegant ideas.
Um, I'm kind of out of links. I actually don't spend a ton of time online. I don't blog; I don't read blogs. Sorry, I am rarely the source of linky goodness.
Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
There's nothing wrong with being in the biz for the biz aspect. I think sometimes there's a stigma about talking about money, profit margins, and return on investment. I've heard people say that they don't really expect to make a profit, that they're just doing this 'for fun,' and it always makes me sad that they think handcrafts is somehow not important. Making stuff is important - important enough that a talented, hardworking artisan should be willing and able to
make a living doing it.
Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
I call myself an artisan. For me, an artist is someone with some sort of semiotic content in their work - something they're trying to say. My work says "isn't this a lovely combination of reds?" There's no message. And yet, to say "crafter", there's been a bit of an abuse of the term going on. People still think about gluing bits of synthetic lace to lampshades, painting snowmen onto ornaments. Artisan, for me, captures the idea that what I'm doing is one of a kind, unique to my technique and my ideas. That what I'm doing is small scale, and not reproducible by mass production.
(photo images courtesy of Yummy Yarn)
If you are interested in being featured, please send us an email at info(at)gotcraft(dot)com.
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Sam Bradd - feature #43
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Clockwork Fantastica - feature #37
Divesin - feature #36
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Olive - feature #33
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Kim Werker - feature #31
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Smidgebox Designs - feature #29
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