Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Meet KittyGrrlz - Featured WIST seller!

I hope you enjoy this interview of KittyGrrlz and be sure to take a look at her wonderful yarns and knit items in her etsy shop. -Jenniffer
You make hand knit items and hand-dyed, hand spun yarns. Why did you start making them?
I learned how to knit at the DIY Trunk Show in Chicago in 2004. I was there as a vendor (with jewelry) and the local SnB group was giving free knitting lessons, complete with free needles and yarn. So, I took a few minutes and got my free lesson . . . and by the next year at the Trunk Show 2005, I was there selling my hand knits! Then, in the summer of 2006, a link to Lynn's YARN WENCH site was forwarded to a list I am on . . . I bought one of her "Pirate Yarns", and that was my first taste of hand spun yarn! I began using her yarns in my knit items and soon she was offering hand dyed fiber. At this point the wheels really started turning, and I decided I should learn how to spin so I could make my own yarn! After spinning a bit on a drop spindle and successfully selling some of those first skeins, I decided I had to switch to a spinning wheel. But, it is an investment, so before buying a wheel, I did take a class. That was only last December, and I bought my wheel on December 17, 2006! Spinning quickly took over my crafting time though I do still knit, too.
Are there any special techniques you use that you'd like to share?
Well, for spinning, I prep and pre-draft the fiber *a lot*. This helps make the spinning go much smoother and faster, in my opinion. For knitting, well, I like to use double-point needles for hats now, as well as the wristwarmers I knit. Also, when knitting triangle shawls, I put the fringe on as I go instead of at the end! I feel this helps keep it more even, plus, then when I am done knitting, I am DONE with the shawl, too!

How did you end up hearing about Etsy and joining?
When I did that first show in 2004, I actually did it as the "Crafty Librarians". It was a group of librarians who all made various things. One of the librarians that contributed to that group show later signed up for etsy and had mentioned it. I signed up shortly thereafter, right around the 2005 show, when I had converted from jewelry to knitting, though I did have jewelry on etsy at various times. At first, I was pretty clueless and had no idea about the forums, treasuries, street teams, anything! I just had my shop and was surprised when I got a sale! (Looking back now, it's a miracle I sold anything in those first months as I did no promoting and didn't have the url on my card at that time!) I *really* started becoming a *part* of etsy last year, when I was knitting a lot more and when I learned how to spin. I bought my drop spindle and first wool here on etsy! I then discovered the forums, street teams, etc.
What's the toughest part of running your own Etsy business? The best?
Toughest part, or rather the part I like least, is taking pictures, editing them and doing the actual listings. I much rather spend that time spinning or knitting! But, if I don't get the items up for sale, no one can buy them! The best, definitely, is knowing that an item I made is being enjoyed by someone else. Hearing that someone loves their scarf or hat, or seeing what they made with my yarn, that is the best part! (other than the actual creating (spinning or knitting), that is!)
Like most artists, you've probably made a TON of kick butt art- is there a piece or two that are your favorites? Why?
Every week it seems I have a new favorite yarn, but here are a couple that I am most proud of!
Autumn Mountain Morning - I love this one because it just came together so perfectly and this is one of my favorite color combinations!

Retro Garden - I think this is one of the best Navajo 3ply yarns I've spun, and I just love the colors.
I also really like this Navajo 3ply because I feel I did a really good job on keeping the colors together! Mahogany Midnight Moon - again, an art yarn that just came together! Sometimes, when I am getting these materials together I am apprehensive about how it will look when all spun up, and this one, well, this one just surpassed my expectations. It is one I plan on knitting up soon, if it is not sold in the meantime!
I'd love a list of where else you're at on the internet- do you have a blog? A website? Forums or other internet groups?
Well, I am in all the usual places! I do have my own website, http://kittygrrlz.com
I am on various blogs - http://kittygrrlz.blogspot.com is my major etsy/business one, but I am also kittygrrlz on livejournal and vox.I am on flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittygrrlz/
And, Ravelry - I am kittygrrlz there, but am also a "Yarnie" - http://www.ravelry.com/yarns/brands/kitty-grrlz-handspun-yarns

Speaking of locations, do you sell your artwork in stores? If you don't, is it something you'd be interested in doing someday?
At this time I sell only online and at area craft/art/trunk shows in Wisconsin and Illinois. I have been approached about consignment in a couple of shops, but at this time I'm not sure it's something I'm going to pursue. I may be more interested in this in the future, or if the right situation arose, but for now I am focusing on online and show sales.
What does "home" mean to you? (And who shares your home? Loved ones, pets, friends?).
Home is where I can relax, where I am comfortable, where I spin and knit. My home would be wherever I, my boyfriend, and Bug Juice (my cat) are!

Tell me something that I don't know about you!
Well, in my "day" job I am a librarian/cataloger now but used to be a Children's/Young Adult Librarian. I've lived in Oregon and California. I probably watch more sports than some, maybe most, men. My favorite ice cream is Ben & Jerry's Karamel Sutra. I am/was a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan and have many of the action figures. I also collected Barbies at one time.

How did you come up with your business name & what does it mean?
Kitty Grrlz is a name I was using before I even had anything to sell, and was really named in reference to/honor of my two kitty grrlz: Bug Juice







and Jinx, the original Kitty Grrl, RIP.










Is there something you'd like to learn how to do someday? (Arts & Crafts related).
I would love to needle felt, and maybe get back into knitting a little more, but really, I just want to keep spinning new yarns! I hope to continue to grow in my spinning - using new fibers, techniques, being more creative with the "art" yarns.

I'd love to know what you'd like to "get" out of being a part of WIST! (Community, sales, promotion, etc!). Are we fulfilling that need right now? Is there anything you'd change?
Since I've been so busy getting ready for shows and working, I don't really know. I think WIST is doing great and I think the main thing I would hope to get out of it is networking and promotion.
What inspires you?
Everything! :) Color, though, is what usually triggers my inspiration when it comes to spinning yarns. I start with a color and see where it takes me!

1 comment:

Xanthe said...

Good interview! Wow Bobbi you've done/learned so much in such a short period of time!