Crafty Stories

I like to tell stories through the creative arts. I may be slightly obsessed with books, movies, TV shows, yarn and fiber. Wanna hang out?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday: Meet Liberty!

Today for Fiber Arts Friday I have a special treat to share with all of you - an interview with Liberty of Liberty's Yarn!

Liberty is an amazing fiber artist and blogger extraordinaire. I was lucky enough to "meet" her when she interviewed me for her blog series, Better Know a Fiber Artist. After that I started following her blog and her tweets and I realized that she is an amazing source of inspiration and information, so I asked her to come and share some of that with us today!

Lady Liberty! (Photo from Liberty's Yarn site.)
Here we go! (Bold sections are the questions I asked.)

1.       Tell us a little bit about the nitty gritty details – name, location, family:
My name is Liberty of Liberty’s Yarn. I live at the foot of Mt. Rainier in the beautiful Puget Sound. (That’s Seattle/Tacoma for all you non-PNW’ers.) I live with my darling hubster, one teen girl, the boy-beast child, and one rambunctious pup. When I am not chasing the kids, juggling their specialists, making dinner, (trying to convince the hubby to add more yarn to his newest book series) and avoiding housework – I dye yarn, make soap and try to sell it.

2.       Having read the About section of your blog, I know that you have moved around a LOT and held a LOT of jobs. Which location/job was the wackiest? Which one will stay in your heart the most?
I love them all for different reasons. Alaska will always be home. It was a real challenge to go from Alaskan island fishing town to subtropical big city. And yet, if I had to get culture-shocked I am so grateful it happened in New Orleans. It was such a divinely magical city. My greatest hope is for its return to splendor. New Orleans was probably the wackiest town I’ve lived in the totally awesome way. It still inspires and enchants me.

Jobs…I have had some weird ones. Some that were just boring, and some I don’t talk about.  Staying home with my kids has always steered my job choices. I have not always been able to be a SAHM, but I have taken some odd jobs trying too. The yarn shop was born from a love of fiber and the need to be flexible enough to stay home and manage my kids’ special needs.

3.       When it comes to making yarn, what inspires you? What’s the process you go through when you create a new colorway?
That’s a tough one. Nature, movies, stories, beautiful produce (Farmers Markets are like porn LOL). My interest change from moment to moment – so it is usually whatever I am interested in at the time. I tend to be drawn to the fiber artists like Kathryn Alexander and Kristin Nicholas. Their unabashed use of colors teases me out from my all-black-all-the-time wardrobe and inspires crazy things like wearing bright orange boots to the grocery store. (gasp)

When I create a color it always goes one of two ways. Either Option #1: I plan, measure out, plan some more, test samples, worry, hem, haw ... and then end up unhappy and overdyeing the whole mess. OR Option #2: I heat up the pots, grab a dye whose name strikes me, and just play. Little of this - lots of that. My colors almost always end up more vibrant than I had planned - sometimes WAY too intense - but I am always happier in the end when I play. I try not to compare my colors to anyone else's. It can be a challenge when I walk into a yarn store and see an amazing colorway. My first reaction is almost always, "I can make that”. And sometimes I do. But it never feels right. And it always takes Option #1 to achieve.

4.       You dye yarn, you make soap, you care for a family and you support causes like the Special Olympics. How do you balance all of those things and still find time for yourself?
Short answer is…I don’t. But I am working on it. On good days - I practice yoga, meditate, and take time to cook vegetarian yummies for myself. But usually that is abbreviated down to 5 minutes alone in the shower and a nice cup of tea. It’s a work in progress. LOL

I am learning to do the things that need to be done when I am in the mood to do them. That way it doesn’t feel like work, it feels like fun. I have gobs of stuff that needs to be done all the time. Chances are I am in the mood to do at least one of them at any given time. (fingers crossed) And I am getting really really good at using the word, “no’. This is a brand new and strange concept for me. But I like it.
5.       What motivates you and gets you excited?
Learning new things. Being around people excited to learn something new. Exploring new places. Negativity and drama are my kryptonite.

In fiber it is the magic of metamorphosis. There is nothing like taking a fleece through processing, dyeing, spinning, knitting or crochet or weaving. How that grungy hunk of stinky wool can morph at every stage into something more beautiful than the last is truly magic. Watching a hand painted yarn’s color take a stitch this way or that. Seeing an argyle pattern appear where one was never intended. I know its super nerdy – I don’t care. It is true awesome-hood-ness!

6.       If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?
Other than what I do now? Hmmm…Some days I think I was meant to be a librarian. I love books, learning, (quiet time)…but I would need some travel added. Could I be an action-librarian? Oh oh could I be a librarian on the starship Enterprise?! Replicators, no money, endless travel, interesting people – that would be awesome!

7.       Your blog is both entertaining and educational, which I love. What advice do you have for other bloggers or would-be bloggers to make their blogs more inviting?
Thank you! There are gazillions of people out there who want to tell you how to do it ‘right’. There is no one ‘right’ way to knit, and there is no one ‘right’ way to blog. My favorite tips have been:
1)look at blogs you love, take note of what they have/are doing that you love, and try to integrate it into your blog 
2)figure out a focus and try to stick to it
3)write in your own voice and don’t let anybody tell you different 
4)keep your blog simple – easy to navigate, not too busy – let your content be what jumps out at the reader.
5)and everyone loves a list post. Ha ha

Play with confidence! Have fun boldly! 

Liberty's Logo - photo from her site.

8.       You write a lot about Crafty Biz, both in your blog posts and in your tweets. If you could give just one or two pieces of advice to crafty businesspeople, what would you say?
Own your ‘why’. Why do you do what you do? Why are you different? Why should I spend money with you? People don’t buy what you do; they buy into why you do it. So fly that freak flag and get noticed.
Another thing I had to learn the hard way was to delegate. There is so much that goes into running a business. I just can’t be good at everything. It is often cheaper to pay someone else to do the things I suck at. (And if I’m really lucky – they will trade me services for yarn. Hee hee)

9.       How did you grow your own crafty business to bring it to the place it is today (wholesale accounts, your own web site, fame and fortune)?
Not a lot of fame or fortune – just yarn. Lots and lots of yarn. Oh, and soap. If the zombies come, I will be very clean. LOL
I started out super small on Etsy. A few months later, I worked up to my own site complimented by my existing blog. I was a vendor at Sock Summit 09 (next to the beer – prime real estate). I now wholesale to a handful of shops and host a monthly yarn club on my website. I do my best to keep my tribe in what they love while staying true to what I love to make. It can be a tough balance.
I find the most success and feel the most growth when I reach out to other crafters/artist. I am a huge supporter of the notion of coopetition. When we support each other, everyone wins.  

It wouldn’t be the Storied Yarns blog if I didn’t ask these questions:

10.   What’s your favorite book? Soup Makes the Meal by Ken Haedrich (every recipe works, delicious, sanity saver)…oh, did you mean fiction? (Did I mention I have a book ‘collecting’ ‘issue’?) Would have to be Sense and Sensibility by the marvelous Jane Austen.
11.   What’s your favorite TV show/series? Lost/Eureka/Castle/Miss Marple (I think I am going to be very bad at these.)
12.   What’s your favorite movie? Big Fat Greek Wedding/A-Team/Pride and Prejudice
13.   If you could knit your own freak flag, what would it look like? What yarn would you use? I would use my yarn – cause its here and easy to get too. It would probably begin as a dizzying array of overcomplicated stitches with wild urban primary colors and then transition to dominos, entrelac, chevrons, and finally stripes.
14.   If you could create a skein of yarn inspired by your life, what would it be like? It would be rustic, simple with many layers of water color. It would be wool – probably Shetland – with a smidge of tweed flecks. It would have many plies, but probably only be about DK weight. It would probably be deep dyed pewter with specks of pumpkin, aubergine, and cranberry. 

My personal fave - Liberty's Empyrean colorway on her Aran of Green Gables (LOVE, ha!) base.

15. Is there anything else you want to share with our readers? Thank you Jessica for having me. This was fun! I am getting into all sorts of fun on the blog/shop – just posted the Poison Rose Mystery Mitten pattern, collecting interviews for BNAFA, and the Yarn Co_Op is going strong. 

Thanks so much, Liberty! 

Happy Fiber Arts Friday to the rest of you fiber artists out there. Head on over to Andrea's Blog and check out the rest of the adventures!!


  1. Lovely interview - thanks! (that empyrean yarn has me in total admiration.)

  2. Great interview!

    Happy I Love Yarn Day