Friday, March 9, 2012

Interview with Amy Small of Knit Collage yarns!

Amy with her Knit Collage
studio managers in India
Jimmy Beans Wool recently began carrying Knit Collage yarns and we couldn't be more excited! Knit Collage's spinning studio is based in Punjab, India where they sought to create job opportunities for women. Knit Collage now employs 36 women to card and spin all of their lovely and unique yarns as well as crochet tiny flowers and quality check all of the finished skeins. Knit Collage's stunning yarns are like nothing we've ever seen, and after interviewing the owner of Knit Collage, Amy Small, we now know why!  Here is what she had to say about her company, knitting, and her other passions:


JBW- Can you give us a brief history of Knit Collage yarns/products?
Amy at the spinning wheel! 

Amy- The short story is that I started out by spinning a bunch of yarns (the Gypsy Garden one!) and emailed photos of them to a few yarn stores.  One owner, the woman who runs Loop London, placed an order off the pics and then I was in business!  From there our orders grew slowly to where we are today.
Several of the ladies carding wool

JBW- How many staff members does Knit Collage have?

Amy- It's just me full time.  Susan, who works here pretty much works full time time too though.  She handles all the shipping, photography, pattern proofing and much more!  We also employ over 36 women at our spinning studio in Punjab, India.  Other than that, we really rely on free lancers to help us with everything else.

JBW- Do you have a personal favorite yarn of yours?  If so, what is it and why?
Spinning Gypsy Garden 

Amy- I think my favorite yarn for a while now has been either Woodstock in our Rolling Stone line or Sugar Magnolia in the Gypsy Garden line.  I love Woodstock because it is so hippie-ish and totally dreadlock
looking.  I love the colors and different flowers and trims in Sugar Magnolia too though.  I think it's a tie!


JBW-  As a small artisan yarn company, do you have any advice for those folks out there hand-dying with kool-aid in their sinks on how to make a living doing what they love?
Taking a lunch break!

Amy- I kept my day job until I was sure that the yarn business could support me. I think that would be my one piece of advice for someone who's trying to get started.  And to keep your overhead costs down as much as possible in the beginning- working from home is a great idea!!

Thanks so much for the insight on the business side of things--and now for some fun questions!


JBW- Do you prefer coffee or tea?

At the trim market in India
Amy- HUGE coffee drinker- I am useless in the morning without it!


JBW- Tell us about your previous life—you know, before yarn…

India
Amy- I used to design sweaters at Free People.  I loved it!  I had an amazing boss who is the one who really introduced me to India and that's how the love affair with it began!  She is still a very close friend and has been an integral part of helping me start my business. I love Holi which is one of the most fun, crazy Indian holidays!  More info about that holiday here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holi


JBW- What is your favorite hobby?

Amy- I'm a little bit of an adrenaline junkie!  When I lived in Hong Kong, I started to run marathons and now I'm addicted.  I completed a 50k Northface trail race in Singapore in 2009 and my partner and I came in
first place for women.  With 93 degrees out and lots of hills, that was definitely the hardest thing I've ever done.  Whenever I'm going through something tough at work, I think, well I did that race, I can do this too!  I am training for the Boston marathon right now too. I'm on the Melanoma Foundation's team and am helping raise money for this great cause along the way.  If you're interested in helping me reach my goal, click here:
http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/amysmall/RunningforCover_Boston_2012


JBW- What is your dream job?

Trims and beads for the yarns
Amy- I think I've found it with what I'm doing now! I just need to figure out how to spend most of my time doing what I really love- the designing part- and not all the clerical admin stuff I spend most of my time on. Slowly as I gain more experience, I think I'm moving in the right direction.


JBW- A little known fact about you…

Amy- I'm a total goofball on the dancefloor!


JBW- Your favorite book?

Amy- I love to read, it's so hard to say a favorite book!  I recently read Ayn Rand's Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I loved them so much and already want to reread them.  I also recently read the Steve Job's
biography and found that super inspiring.

Pixie Dust Earflap Hat
Free Pattern on
Knit Collage Website

JBW- What was the last crafty project (knitting or other) that you created?

Amy- I took a sock knitting class earlier this fall because I'd never knit them before. Our yarns are so chunky, knitting on size 0 needles was so hard for me at first!  And I can't believe how long it's taking me to knit them but it's been a lot of fun and a good knitting challenge. Most of the things I knit are samples for our tradeshows or presents for my friends and family made from Knit Collage yarns.

Thanks so much Amy for letting us interview you about Knit Collage!  It's been so much fun to get a behind the scenes look at the company and learn a little more about the person behind it as well!  To check out Knit Collage's beautiful yarns at Jimmy Beans Wool click on the yarn type to go directly to our site: Rolling Stone, Pixie Dust, Gypsy Garden, and Stargazer.  Click here to visit the Knit Collage Website and check out some of their free patterns.  Or, check out some of the 2nd Quality skeins of Pixie Dust and Rolling Stone that we just got in at 50% off!  What a great reason to give Knit Collage's gorgeous yarns a try!


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