I hope we are all enjoying the change in weather…she says whilst looking at today’s snow. Before we get going I will take the opportunity to let you all know that you can still join the #RewindKAL. There is no pressure, you can join in with whatever you choose and just take your time, Lord knows that I am. I am also excited to say that I am on the wonderful Yarn in The City podcast this week with Rachel and Allison. I like a little mini enabling, so if you haven’t heard them before but you like this show I’m sure you’ll appreciate them too. You may remember an interview they did on the show in July last year.
I am delighted to have welcomed Larissa Travelknitter onto the show this week, not least because she was a joint winner of my very own Best In Show from EYF last week. I have also not made a secret of my love for her red yarns; the right non-pinky-bluey-orangey yarn is hard to achieve and she nails it. I’m not afraid to say it. I do love interviewing as there are so many stories, journeys and avenues that lead to this business – make like Fleetwood Mac folks and go your own way!
Larissa started knitting in her twenties, egged on by the knitting resurgence circa 2005. As happens to the best of us, her stash grew and soon she became embroiled in the search for the perfect yarn. A red, obviously. The futility of it all became too much and Larissa had had enough, so she booked herself on a weekend course to learn how to dye. It was a very quick evolution from that to dyeing as a business and the whole thing becoming an obsession that takes over. Sound familiar?
Travelknitter is not a full time job for Larissa but days that do involve dyeing include early starts, for a very good reason…her dyeing ‘studio’ is her back garden! She dyes her yarn outside, though nips indoors occasionally to defrost. I think this makes her yarns even more wonderful, she is willing to freeze for our happiness: take a moment to appreciate that. It is obviously a bit of a weather dependent activity and she must make the most of the good days and get out there early to get the cauldrons boiling. Her creative process is mixed between two approaches. Sometimes there will be a framework, such as when she dyed for The Golden Skein last year and so had an inspiration photo to use as a starting point and as a boundary. Or it is the other side of the coin entirely and she dyes as she feels that day. Who doesn’t have orange days now and again?
Given that Larissa is, somewhat obviously, a keen traveller she is well aware that no journey is ever a smooth one. The journey to a hand dyed yarn is no different and is a matter of trial and error. She feels it is also about allowing yourself some degree of flexibility and knowing that you may be disappointed with how a dye turns out but that it can be turned into something else that you will love with a little imagination and some over-dyeing and layering. Larissa also acknowledges that perfection isn’t necessary in knitting in general. She has learned to differentiate between mistakes she can live with and fudge through and others that must be undone and appreciates that knitting is the perfect opportunity to do that. We’re a pretty relaxed bunch.
The high point of this world for Larissa is the knitting community itself. Just being a part of that makes it fun and is probably a big part of how Travelknitter came to became what it is now. Tied into this is Ravelry. Larissa credits it as her go-to resource and also as where her heart is. It has been so valuable to her as a friendly community, as it has to lots of us, but also for information sharing and a feeling of involvement. It also facilitates her other favourite part of having a yarny business- scheming and plotting with like minded yarn geeks and coming up with shared projects. We now have it on good authority that there will be some of these this year, as well as lots of shows and event appearances, and some thought on where to take Travelknitter on an expansion basis. ‘Tis very exciting.
In her parting words Larissa advises that if you want to start a business in this genre you need to do lots of research, talk to everyone you possibly can and make good contacts but then develop your own style, stay true to that and go your own way. See, we’re Fleetwood Mac’ing it up all over the place today.
Find Larissa at:
and newly on Instagram
That’s all from me this week. As always, thank you for listening. Feedback is always appreciated, and you can email me or message me via Ravelry or social media. If you enjoyed listening today, please consider leaving an iTunes review, to help others find the podcast too. Happy crafting!