|We have a little saying at Why Knot Fibers…relationships over transactions. It’s an interesting take on this industry we work in. We want to produce an amazing product that will make someone happy in their journey of making. We want to source that product ethically and with as little impact as we can to our beautiful world. We want our studio to be a place of inspiration and fancy that helps us create colors that inspire the crochet and knitting and weaving..and whatever fiber community that they inspire.
This might make it sound like we have a great big processing facility. The reality is that the business is basically me, Kat Eldred, and my superstar business partner, Claire Cabrera (whom my husband calls my yarn spouse). We have spectacular helpers in our lives (Christina, Julie, Steve, Marco, Jeanne, Ellen, Maggie…just to name a few in the helper/bar back/booth babe/tie breaker/”support” staff/visionary makers/sample knitter categories….). However, when it’s decision time, Claire and I are the ones to sweat and to decide. We LOVE what we do and how we do it. This little phrase has shaped many of our decisions including how fast we grow and how far we travel. We value the relationships with our families first of all. Our spouses are fantastic helpmates that keep us upright when we are falling down and lend an ear when we just need to vent. We strive to leave enough time to be able to experience these rapidly evolving stages our kiddos are running through at light speed. Expanding out from that, we work with several farmers and shearers that are in direct contact with the health and care of each animal that produces the fiber we use. We ask their opinion, and value it in our decision making process. We source our dye from an environmentally aware company (Greener shades dyes if you’re wondering) to try and reduce the impact of what we do. We also gather and grow those of our dyes that we can to further decrease the travel needed to create our products. We also view the stores and mills we work with as part of our team. We do our best to cater to their needs and support them as they are supporting us. We have several that we would literally bend over backwards for, and they us.
Each of these things started with a small conversation and a common goal. Each of these relationships are what our business is built on. We could not do this without all of the people in our lives actively providing materials, support, and friendship.
I am absolutely in love with Smitten as well as with Why Knot Fibers. I’m knitting the Ottar Shawl pattern by Kate Davies using Smitten DK in Inland Seas for the main color, Dune Grass for color 2, and a variegated (name?) for color 3. This shawl is nearly finished and I can hardly wait to wrap myself up in all that Smittenly goodness. I’m looking forward to meeting some of the Iron Wheel folks (their Finn sheep provide 70% of the fiber for Smitten) at Tip of the Mitt Fiber Festival in June 2019.
Kat and Claire, I just want you to know that I am totally and thoroughly impressed and supportive of what you are doing. Your yarns are beyond beautiful and to know the value that goes into them makes them that more special. My goal for 2019 is to knit one sweater (pattern as yet undecided) and one shawl (Ottar from the book “Happit” by Kate Davies).
BTW – have you both read “Raw Material” by Stephanie Wilkes? This book most definitely helped me to understand the work that goes into the making of wool from “sheep to shawl” and also most definitely helped me understand the price of an environmentally/ecologically/socially conscious and overall healthy skein of yarn. Fibershed all the way :)