You can find more information on the 2014 Sampler MKAL here, and can order the pattern here. Join in any time for a fun project with great prizes!
This month’s giveaway sponsor is sarahkincheloe on Etsy. Sarah’s shop carries an array of beautiful and functional organizers for crochet hooks and knitting needles. In addition to donating a prize for the giveaway, I asked Sarah to share some background with KAL participants and my readers in this interview. All images are used with her permission.
Sarah Kincheloe with her vintage sewing machine in the background.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started knitting and sewing?
Sarah: My mother and aunt are truly remarkable crafters. My aunt sewed all of her husband’s suits and button down shirts back in the day and my mom made most of my and my brother’s clothes (with matching dresses for my dolls, of course). I wholly resisted learning to sew, but did pick up crochet and needle point among other things.
As for knitting, it’s one thing no one in my family did, and maybe that’s the reason it intrigued me. I bought a book for $4 at a craft store and a pair of needles and taught myself when I was 24. My first project was a scarf that rolled horribly but by the time I got to my third or fourth it was a double knit scarf with intarsia that had even the old Polish ladies at my knitting shop in Brooklyn scratching their heads. I’ve never been much for huge projects but I’ve knitted a lot of little toys and stuffed animals as well as blankets, socks, mittens and the like.
Chocolate Brown and Blue Dots Circular Knitting Needle Organizer.
UC: What was the original inspiration for opening your Etsy shop?
Sarah: I wanted a nice knitting needle organizer and couldn’t find one I liked. I asked my mom to sew me one for Christmas and she did. I think this is what convinced me that sewing is actually useful. I flew back to grad school in Chicago with an old school metal Singer sewing machine in the carry on.
I already had an Etsy shop selling hand painted and black and white photography, another passion of mine, but my darkroom was in Texas and I was in Chicago so I decided to try my hand at sewing useful things that were also nice to look at.
Purple and Green DPN organizer.
UC: Your organizers and cases are geared towards knitters and crocheters. Why did you focus on these products and what do you enjoy about making them?
Sarah: I focus on knitting and crochet because I understand those things. I can anticipate how a dpn roll should work because I have an unwieldy amount of dpns myself. People have requested organizers for everything from paintbrushes to bookbinding tools to midwife equipment but I always feel more confident creating something I can really envision using myself.
Inside of an interchangeable needles organizer.
UC: Your photographs have a really clean look. Do you have any photography tips to share with crafters?
Sarah: Seek out good natural light and edit your photos to reflect the real item. I use Photoshop to get a white background as well. It adds extra time and effort to each listing, but I think it’s worth it for the cohesive look in my shop.
Whales straight needles organizer.
UC: How do you balance your business with your professional job? What tips do you have for other small business owners who are also working at another job?
Sarah: This is a constant question in my mind as I do have a full time career that I love as well as a toddler, a husband, and a huge urban garden where I grow as much of our food as possible. I set aside chunks of time to sew and make sure to keep up with orders on a daily basis. Luckily winter is my busiest time of year, and that is when the garden is quieter. I have used slower times to build up a lot of inventory (about 300 items) so I never have to enter panic mode.
Since my day job is pretty intense and requires me to be “on” (I’m a social worker doing therapy with adults with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), it’s nice to have time to just sew and listen to podcasts and unwind a little.
Thanks for stopping by for an interview, Sarah, and for sponsoring this month’s MKAL giveaway!
Sarah will be providing the winner’s choice of any needle organizer in her shop inventory with a price of $42 or less. You can check out her organizers in the straight needle cases, circular needle cases, dpn rolls, for interchangeable sets, and hanging needle organizers sections of her Etsy shop.
To enter the giveaway, post a picture of any 2014 Sampler Mystery Knit-A-Long sampler square you knit during February in the relevant spoiler thread on Ravelry by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Friday, February 28, 2014. (KAL participants who are not Ravelry members can instead share pictures with the Underground Crafter Facebook page or Tweet pictures to @ucrafter.) Each square you share a picture of will count as one entry. One winner will be chosen at random on or about March 3.