The most popular accessory pattern from our Fall Collection is Elizabeth Green Musselman's Kid Chimera. I think what draws the knitters to this pattern is not only the unique look, loads of texture, and wearability factor (yay! Unisex!) but also the amazing yarn she chose for this design. Through her design, Elizabeth introduced me to Leading Men Fiber Arts. I am so pleased that Steve has agreed to share more information on this company through our Yarnie Spotlight feature.
Knittin' Little: As most interviews with people in the fiber industry go, can you tell us how you got started knitting and about any other yarn related crafts you are involved in.
Leading Men Fiber Arts: I learned to crochet when I was 8 years old from an elderly lady that lived down the street from me. It never really stuck. Then in high school I learned how to knit. Again, it didn't really stick. But in college a friend of mine brought me back into the knitting community. Once I realized there was a community for fiber artists I felt at home. Knitting soon became an obsession for me, and I would use it as a stress reliever during my studies. Eventually, I began spinning. That I took to like a fish to water, and I haven't looked back since.
KL: I love the name Leading Men. Can you share how you came up with the name?
LMFA: When I started the Dramatic Knits Podcast, I wanted to be able to refer to my partner Andy, but to also keep his anonymity. A viewer then suggested that I refer to him as my Leading Man. When we were brainstorming possible names of the business, I knew I wanted to keep it separate from the podcast. Thats when we had the epiphany of Leading Men Fiber Arts.
KL: I'm sure a lot of dyers get this question but where does your color inspiration come from?
LMFA: Color inspiration comes from anything and everything you can imagine. We've pulled from plays and musicals, of course, but we also use nature, pop culture, and literature. But a lot of it comes from experimentation not only with the dyes, but with the dye process. That's when we get a little "mad scientist" in the studio.
KL: What does a typical "day in the life" look like? Do you dye full time?
LMFA: We are still running the business as part time jobs for both of us. Andy works in retail and I'm a high school English teacher. We both work during the day, come home, change into our dye clothes, and hit the dye pots. We also have to answer emails, ship orders, take product photos, maintain inventory in the shop, as well as plan and pack for shows and festivals. But we wouldn't have it any other way!
KL: Oh wow! That sounds fun but exhausting! I know how hard it can be to run your own business after hours, so to speak. What have you found to be the best and worst parts of running your own business?
MFA: The best part of running the business has been growing and expanding the circle of the fiber arts community that made me become obsessed with knitting and spinning. We have met some of the most inspiring people in our journeys and interactions that the business has provided us. The business has also grown and strengthened our personal relationship. Andy and I now have a common interest and goal. We consistently have to communicate, work through challenges, and celebrate successes together. The most challenging part of running the business is finding time to still craft (KL: I hear that!). I'm still working on managing my time in order to find time to craft and keep the love and passion that I have. No worries, though. It's not going anywhere.
KL: I can totally relate to that. Especially being a teacher, which tends to become more than a full-time job and overlap into one's home life, it gets difficult to find time to knit for pleasure which is what got me started on this path in the first place!
Since this is a blog for people who knit for children, which Leading Men Fiber Arts yarn base do you think is the best for knitting for children and why?
LMFA: I think either our Box Office (worsted) or Dramaturg (DK) bases would be awesome for knitting for children. Both of them are round, plump yarns that are made of 100% Superwash Merino. This means that anyone can enjoy the knitted object because it can be machine washed. Also, the ply structure of both yarns allow for great stitch definition. That definition really allows for each stitch of color to pop off of the knitting fabric.
A huge thank you to Leading Men Fiber Arts for being our first Yarnie Spotlight! I am really over the moon with this yarn. I've already purchased a skein of Dramaturg to cast on for a Kid Chimera. Take note: if you're browsing their yarn and don't see the exact color you want, you can custom order just what need! So fabulous!
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