Crochet by Faye

Name: Robyn Chachula
Business name: Crochet By Faye
Website(s): crochetbyfaye.com
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What kind of items do you make?
I design a full range of crochet patterns from sweaters to baby toys to afghans to jewelry. My designs are one step past beginner with a new twist you can learn from each pattern. All patterns come fully diagrammed with symbol crochet. We have crochet single patterns, books, DVDs and more for sale.
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How long have you been in indie artist?
I have been designing for 8 years. I started small designing for my own pattern line, branching out to other magazines when I was confident. The move to books and DVDs and the PBS show, Knit and Crochet Now, all happened naturally one fun step at a time.
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What got you interested in your art of choice?
I wanted patterns that interested me. Ones I was finding either did not fit my body shape or just did not spark my interest. Since I am a structural engineer by training, I thought if I could design a building, why not a sweater too? Crochet stitches can grow in any direction seamlessly and that just fascinated my engineer brain, and still does.
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What do you most enjoy about what you do?
I love finding a new-to-me technique then teaching it to as many other crocheters as possible.
What most inspires you?
My everyday world inspires me. Whether it’s the colorful clothes the other kindergarteners are wearing when I drop my daughter off at school or the pattern of the leaves while pushing my son in his stroller, my brain is constantly being inspired with colors and textures to try next.
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Quiltstyle

Name: Karen Womack
Business Name: Quiltstyle
Website: www.etsy.com/shop/quiltstyle
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What kind of items do you make?
Tote bags, knitting needle cases and other organizational items for knitters and crocheters. I also sell wool fabric and gift items.

How long have you been an indie artist?
About 10 years. I vended at craft fairs prior to opening my Etsy shop in 2009.

What got you interested in your art of choice?
Lack of bags available for knitters and crocheters. They weren’t pretty enough or the appropriate size for projects and yarn.
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What do you most enjoy about what you do?
Creating items that are beautiful and useful as well. I love to make, and purchase, handmade.

What makes your creations unique?
The texture of my fabric. Most of my bags are made from machine quilted fabrics and recycled art quilts. I am also a quilt maker and teacher, and have lots of sample pieces that are incorporated into my items.

Do you have a favorite item or colorway?
My favorite item is an African print bag that I made to hold small knitting projects. The colors are brown and teal. It’s very simple, but the fabric makes it striking.

How is the fiber arts world different for you today than it was five years ago?
The advent of surface design. Five years ago you didn’t see too many quilts incorporating yarn and felting. Fiber artists with basic sewing and quilting skills are now being accepted into quilt shows. I see knitted earrings in magazines. Indie artists are becoming more adventurous. The possibilities for creating a one of a kind item are endless.quilt2

Fiddlehead Fibers

Name: Jess Pflueger
Business name: Fiddlehead Fibers
Website(s) www.etsy.com/shop/FiddleheadFibers
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What kind of items do you make?
Washed wool locks/fleece, dyed fleece, batts

What got you interested in your art of choice?
I’ve been an avid knitter for a while…knitting led to spinning; and spinning eventually led to working with wool right off the sheep.

What do you most enjoy about what you do?
I really enjoy the opportunity to work with the wools from different breeds of sheep. Each fleece is a new adventure.
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What makes your creations unique?
Most of the wool I offer is in a “raw” (but washed) state – the lock structure is retained. So you can still get the experience of working with a specific breed’s wool in its raw form without having to get an entire fleece or having to do the dirty job of washing and sorting the fleece.

What is something you strive to offer the fiber arts community?
The opportunity to use wool from different breeds of sheep in its “raw” state. There are so many different textures and natural colors available from breed-specific wool.fiddle3

Hip Strings

Name: Jill & Nicolas Duarte
Business name: HipStrings
Website(s): hipstrings.etsy.com
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What kind of items do you make?
Our focus is on tools for the fiber arts that are a delight to use and beautiful as well. We also offer our favorite fibers. Our signature items are our supported spindles, our variety of spinner’s control cards and needle gauges, and a wide range of fibers that are perfect for support spindles.

How long have you been in indie artist?
This will be our second year at Indie Knit & Spin – last year was our very first fiber festival and we look forward to another chance to interact with our local fiber arts community.
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What got you interested in your art of choice?
Both of us were inspired to continue the tradition of fiber arts in our families and since then our interest has grown. Specifically for HipStrings, we are excited to bring knowledge we have from science and engineering to make better products for the fiber arts community.

What do you most enjoy about what you do?
The people – I absolutely love the community.

What most inspires you?
Trying to match available materials to their best uses. Every idea starts with the end practicality, and then we try to figure out how to best accomplish that end goal and make it a pleasurable and delightful process for our customers.

What makes your creations unique?
We combine practical and useful with beauty and design, we strive to offer items that are unique and a range of products that meet the needs of anyone.
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Do you have a favorite item or color way?
My current favorite is “Tiny Dancing Kraken”, which is a yellow, orange, coral, red, lavender and plum color way based on a photo of a octopus, the name comes from a discussion from the Ravelry group I frequent the most.

What is something you strive to offer the fiber arts community?
Making the most of our science and engineering backgrounds to make the fiber arts experience more enjoyable for others.

Does being an indie fiber artist affect other aspects of your life?
I am constantly covered in fluff, or other flotsam from the studio. The fiber arts are no longer a hobby, they are a way of life.
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What is your fiber arts superpower?
Jill’s superpower is spinning cotton easier than wool (at least on spindles or a Charka). Nik’s superpower is being able to teach anyone to support spin and mastering knitting techniques in a single attempt.

How is the fiber arts world different for you today than it was five years ago?
I feel like I was just starting to get my bearings in the fiber world 5 years ago with learning to knit, doing more difficult crochet and learning to dye. I was just starting to get interested in spinning.
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Amelia and Wiggles

Name: Karen Cuffaro and Rebecca DeSensi
Business name: Amelia and Wiggles
Website(s): www.ameliaandwiggles.com
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What kind of items do you make?
We hand-dye yarn, and have created yarn from fiber from Karen’s alpaca.

How long have you been an indie artist?
We’ve been experimenting with dyeing yarn for about two years, but Karen has owned alpaca since 2005.

What got you interested in your art of choice?
We were inspired by working with beautiful yarn in our own crochet and knit creations.
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What do you most enjoy about what you do?
We’ve really enjoyed the creative process! We both agreed that having other full-time jobs, while paying for food and the health insurance, can sometimes leave you feeling boxed in and not challenged. Dyeing yarn has given us an outlet to express ourselves and share our unique sense of color!

What most inspires you?
Our fellow crocheting and knitting friends. We love to see what they’re making and what inspires them, from colors to techniques, and even causes they’re creating for. We’ve also enjoyed working with nationally known crochet designer and author, Robyn Chachula, of Crochet By Faye. We love pairing our yarns with her crochet patterns, like fine wines with exquisite food!
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What makes your creations unique?
We’ve heard before “Not another hand-dyer!” (Yes, to our face!), but we feel that each artist brings their own experiences, likes and dislikes, and techniques to the hand-dyeing process, resulting in different expressed visions. You’ll see the differences if you’re looking closely!

Do you have a favorite item or colorway?
We both agree on tonal yarns! While Karen tends to like purples or rust colors, Rebecca loves warm colorways, with reds, oranges, and yellows.
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What is something you strive to offer the fiber arts community?
We hope that others are excited by our yarns, like we are!

Does being an indie fiber artist affect other aspects of your life?
We’ve been known to say, “Those colors would make pretty yarn!”, in the most random of places.

What is your fiber arts superpower?
Enthusiastic Enabler! Our crocheting and knitting friends will ask for special colorways, and we are happy to comply!

How is the fiber arts world different for you today than it was five years ago?
Five years ago, we were consumers of fiber. The last two years have turned us into creators of fiber. It certainly wasn’t something we saw back then, but was a natural progression for us! Things we sweared we’d never do, like learning to spin, we’ve done now!
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Dusty Tree Soap

Name: Rebecca Shepler
Business name: Dusty Tree Soap
Website(s): www.dustytree.com and on Facebook as Dusty Tree Soap
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What kind of items do you make?
I make handcrafted cold processed vegan soap. All are Palm and Soybean Oil free! (yeah…Viva Orangutans!) Most soaps are unscented, but I do use therapeutic grade Essential Oils in a few. I NEVER use GMO oils, Sodium Lauryl Sulfates, Aluminum, chemicals, parabens or other weird stuff….just all natural goodness.
My wonderful and creative parents make Handcrafted ceramic soap dishes and buttons. Both were a hit last year and they are kind enough to make me more for this year.

How long have you been in indie artist?
I’ve been a knitter for about 17 years and have been making soap for the past few years. I also sew so this year I will be bringing some small drawstring project bags with me.
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What got you interested in your art of choice?
I like, no I LOVE to make things. I’d much rather learn how to make something from scratch with my own hands than to buy it in some store. Once I had kids, I knew I had to make all natural soap. Their new perfect skin just needs it!

What do you most enjoy about what you do?
I make soap..a product that we use everyday. I love that I can take a basic necessity and make it into something creative and unique. More often than not, most batches are an experiment to see what I can add to help nourish the skin in a different way.

What most inspires you?
My kids and their endless questions of why and how things work. I’m fascinated by their curious minds.
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What makes your creations unique?
I make all of my soaps with no dyes, scents or colors. If a bar is scented then I use a therapeutic grade Essential Oil never a fragrance. I use herbs, spices, food and clays for colors..most things you can eat so it is naturally good for your skin. I use a combination of vegetable oils (Olive, Coconut, Sunflower, Grapeseed and Shea Butter) that are exceptional at moisturizing and cleansing your skin.

Do you have a favorite item or colorway?
Usually the current one I’m using, but I recently have a fondness for my Drunken Hippie soap. It is made with Straub Beer (local and they use no preservatives) and Patchouli Essential Oil. Great lather and scent!
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What is something you strive to offer the fiber arts community?
To make them extra squeaky clean with some honest to goodness soap!

Does being an indie fiber artist affect other aspects of your life?
I have a hard time surprising people with gifts…they usually know they are about to unwrap either something hand knit or a bar of soap. If they are extra special they may even get both.

How is the fiber arts world different for you today than it was five years ago?
Fiber is everywhere and in everything. I love being a part of a great community!
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Wren House Yarns

Name: Leigh Koegler
Business Name: Wren House Yarns
Website: www.wrenhouseyarns.com
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What kind of items do you make?
Hand dyed artisan yarns and fiber.

How long have you been an indie artist?
Deep down I’ve been an “indie” artist for as far back as I can remember, mainly with illustration and watercolors. The transition to fiber happened about three years ago.
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What got you interested in your art of choice?
It all started with wanting to learn to knit a pair of fingerless gloves. Then I stumbled upon a spinning class and learned to use a drop spindle. Next came Kool-aid dying, a spinning wheel, acid dyes, carding…it’s a slippery slope!

What do you most enjoy about what you do?
From start to finish I love every part of the process. A little piece of me goes into every step from business cards and dye applications, to packaging and photographs. Being a part of the craftsmanship allows my personal style to shine through.
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What most inspires you?
Mother Nature. Hands down.

What makes your creations unique?
Each piece is a miniature work of art. While some items may look similar they are truly one-of-a-kind.

Do you have a favorite item or colorway?
If I had to pick a favorite item it would have to be the dye itself. For me it’s like watercoloring on wool.
I’ve fallen pretty hard lately for all natural dyes. It is so rewarding to see natures true colors come through.
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What is something you strive to offer the fiber arts community?
I want to offer products that inspire others to be creative while staying true to my own aesthetic.

Does being an indie fiber artist affect other aspects of your life?
Being an indie fiber artist centers me. Creativity keeps me grounded and fiber is the perfect outlet!

What is your fiber arts superpower?
Tony’s Organic Cafe Carmelita Coffee. Period.
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Michelle’s Assortment

Name: Michelle
Business name: Michelle’s Assortment
Website(s):
Etsy Shop and Knitting Designs
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What kind of items do you make?
Shawl pins, Stitch markers, Row Counter bracelets, Orifice hooks, and knitting patterns.

How long have you been in indie artist?
for the past 2 years.
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What got you interested in your art of choice?
Ever since my mom first put a needle and thread in my hand when I was 4 years old I have enjoyed the color and texture of many different fiber arts. After mastering most crochet techniques a few years ago I moved on to knitting. Knitting shawls made me notice the lovely shawl pins that are out there which led to making my own unique collection of shawl pins and other accessories.

What do you most enjoy about what you do?
Playing with color and texture, and sharing the delight and joy I get from creation with customers.
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What most inspires you?
The stunning handmade items that customers wear and the unique way each person wears their pin is very inspirational.

What makes your creations unique?
Each wire wrap and spiral is done free hand so that even when bead and wire combinations are repeated each pin is still a unique work of art.
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Do you have a favorite item or colorway?
It’s a close call between the Doctor Who themed Tardis pin and the Peruvian Raku Tree of life bead pin as favorite items. Of the patterns designed so far, the Coastal Breezes vest is my favorite because it was very easy to knit and can be worn in many different ways.

What is something you strive to offer the fiber arts community?
A unique accessory that accentuates the stunning finished objects of my fellow knitters/crocheters/spinners/weavers/felters.

What is your fiber arts superpower?
Making the most of the materials at hand.
How is the fiber arts world different for you today than it was five years ago? It was a hobby and the dream of selling items at little country craft fairs. Today it’s beyond my wildest dreams to be attending large Fiber Arts conventions and getting to meet the superstars of the knitting community.michelle5

Gwen Erin Natural Fibers

Name: Gwen Brown
Business name: Gwen Erin Natural Fibers
Website(s): www.gwenerin.com
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In my booth you will find a wide selection of fibers and tools for all sorts of different applications.

Spinners and felters will enjoy browsing my hand-dyed combed top, carded roving, wool locks, and carded batts. In combed top, I carry two breeds: Bluefaced Leicester and Falkland. Both are very soft fibers, great for beginners and veterans. If you are planning a small project, choose from the individual braids ranging in size from 3.5 ounces to 5 ounces. Each one is a little different. However, if you want a larger quantity, pick from the Companion Colors. These are 8 ounce bundles of two complimentary colors put together. You can spin two separate yarns, alternate back and forth, or spin a ply of each. The carded roving is made from individual fleeces rather than a flock, so each breed is unique and the selection is constantly changing. Perfect for anyone curious to try something new. The locks are also breed-specific. They come from fleeces that I hand selected, washed, and dyed. I look for lots of interesting texture and a long staple length. If you want something a little more funky, check out the Fantasy Batts. These contain a variety of dyed and natural-colored fibers (wool, silk, mohair, sparkle) carded together. It will create a truly unique yarn or spice up your next felting project.
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For those who do not spin, check out the handspun yarn. I offer a wide variety of breeds in natural and hand-dyed colors. Each skein is unique, so your finished project will be one of a kind. Choose from super bulky, heavy worsted, worsted, and DK weights in single, 2 and 3-ply. Most yarns are very practical, though there are a few for the more adventurous!

Don’t forget the notions! For the knitters, I have double pointed needles, stitch markers, tapestry needles, and point protectors. Do you want to learn to spin? I carry hand-crafted Turkish spindles in three wood types: Cherry, Maple, and Black Walnut. These spindles are perfect for getting started, but will serve you for many years. And be sure to top it all off with a bottle of Eucalan to wash all those precious handmade goodies.gwen1

Fibernymph Dye Works

Name: Lisa Beamer
Business name: Fibernymph Dye Works
Website(s): Shop: fibernymphdyeworks.bigcartel.com Blog: fibernymph.com
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What kind of items do you make?
I create hand-dyed yarn and spinning fiber, with a focus on self-striping yarns and gradient-dyed yarns and fibers.

How long have you been in indie artist?
I’m in my fourth year of my dyeing business, though I’ve done other creative endeavors prior to that.
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What got you interested in your art of choice?
I am an avid knitter and spinner, and I’ve always enjoyed working with others’ indie-dyed creations. Being naturally curious and creative, it seemed a natural progression to try my hand at dyeing.

What do you most enjoy about what you do?
In the physical act of dyeing, I love playing with the colors…putting them together into new combinations and striping patterns. With my business in general, I love how my yarn and fiber is enjoyed by my customers. I love seeing what they make and some of the innovative ways they find to use what I’ve created.
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What most inspires you?
When it comes to colorways, I’m most inspired by nature and the world around me. Sometimes, though, it is the colors themselves that inspire me to put them together in new ways.

What makes your creations unique?
They’re unique because they are mine. No two dyers I’ve ever met dye in exactly the same way. We each have our unique touch, our own techniques that make our products singular to us. For me, the fact that I focus so highly on self-striping yarn is also a somewhat unique factor, as it isn’t something every dyer does due to the labor intensity of the process.

Do you have a favorite item or colorway?
I have a lot of colorways that I love. Most recently, I came out with a monochromatic stripe series that just makes my heart happy! My Inversibles Sets, though, are really a lot of fun…I love creating them, and I love knitting with them and seeing what others make from them too.
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What is something you strive to offer the fiber arts community?
A collection of high-quality, enthusiastically inspired products. I also strive to encourage fiber fans to be experimental in what they create with my yarns and fibers…try new things, and don’t be afraid!

Does being an indie fiber artist affect other aspects of your life? Some days, it seems that being an indie fiber artist IS my life! I do this full-time, and I work from my home. Up until this school year, my kids also worked with me, which made it a family endeavor. The last of them has flown the coop to college now, and I have a few other yarn helpers surrounding me to help the yarn things happen. There is no day of my life when I’m not doing something related to my business, unless I’m away from home on vacation. The good thing is that I love what I do, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
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