Amy has been with us at WEBS for almost two years now, and she quickly dazzled us all with her incredible creativity and enthusiasm. Amy has completely embraced the handmade lifestyle, and does everything she can to always give handmade gifts. The desire to create her own gifts is what got Amy knitting in the first place. She and her husband started with making candles for everyone they knew, then Amy branched out into making dolls. Handmade holidays are a tradition in her family, even her children exchange handmade gifts. “I love giving people handmade gifts. Giving someone something you sat down to make just for them is a feeling you can’t replicate. They actually sat down, and looped a million loops of yarn just for you!”
How long have you been knitting? How did you learn to knit?
I’ve been knitting for about 13 years. Years before I learned to knit, I was friends with a woman from Germany who was knitting, what I now know is, the Dale of Norway Ladybug sweater and hat. I thought I might like to learn someday and knit that sweater. Several years later, we had just moved to Northampton, MA and my oldest daughter was learning to knit in school. I didn’t have many local friends and needed a distraction, so I picked up Melanie Falick’s Kids Knitting book and taught myself. I still recommend that book to anyone wanting to learn to knit.
1: Arm Warmers from Handmade Holidays. Knit out of Valley Yarns Huntington.
2: This is the first version of “Rooshed” the one that didn’t quite work out! The bowl is crocheted in linen and finished with yarn leftover from other projects. I have a ton of these and use them for knitting baskets around the house.
3. These are glycerin soaps that I make every holiday. They are both scented with peppermint essential oils. I make different soaps for every season. I’m about to make the pumpkin soaps and fall leaf soaps! I can’t wait.
4. Stacking felted bowls for my Handmade Holidays Class at WEBS this fall. They are made with Berkshire Bulky with needle felted dots out of Berkshire Bulky as well.
5. Bramble Cowl in Madelinetosh Vintage.
6. This is a shadow box that I made a while back. Gladys is made of pleather with a beaded udder. The grass and fence are felt.
What other fiber arts do you do?
I will try just about anything. I currently still sew, needle-felt, crochet (a little) and recently started weaving.
What is your favorite yarn to work with?
It’s impossible for me to choose! I have the great fortune of being surrounded by all kinds of amazing yarns at work. If forced, I would say Madelinetosh, Spud and Chloe, Rowan, Berkshire Bulky, and… See what I mean?
What’s your favorite fiber project?
One of my favorite fiber projects is the “Yarn Lamp”. We have two at the store and I have two at home. The lamps might quickly be supplanted by the headboard that my dad is designing for me to yarn bomb, however. I can’t wait to get started. I’m planning on using all my leftover little balls of yarn that seem to multiply around my studio. My new motto, “Yarn. It’s not just for sweaters.”
1. Birch trees are my favorite. Each leaf painted, hand cut and tied to the nail with string. The leaves actually blow if there is a breeze.
2. This is a little piece I created for a banner for my blog. That’s Ms. Ellaneous knitting the spring. Made with fabric, acrylic paint, fabric and yarn.
3. Another multi-media creation on wood. I have tons of these little blocks. You can rearrange them and stack them. These were made for a friend’s bird themed nursery.
What fiber project are you working on right now?
Right now I’m finishing up the samples for a Handmade Holidays class I’m teaching this fall, along with putting the finishing touches on some new patterns for shawls and cowls. I’m obsessed with cowls. There’s a long list lined up after that, including a cowl challenge at work, the aforementioned ‘yarn bombed’ headboard and a sheep footstool with a needle felted fleece.
How else do you like to express yourself?
In addition to the fiber arts, I also paint in acrylics, make shadow boxes, fool around with carving stamps and printing. I also have a habit of making seasonal glycerin soaps for gifts and the guest bathroom. Recently, I bought a better camera to take pictures of my finished projects. I’m still trying to figure out the camera but I am enjoying taking pictures.
1. These are carved out of a big eraser then used with a stamp pad. The cards were for a friend’s baby shower. We all wrote wishes for the baby on the cards and then hung them on a ribbon. They are still in the baby’s room.
2. This is a slouchy hat that I designed out of Knit One, Crochet Too Ty-Dy socks. There’s a slightly slouchy version and a super slouchy version
3. These are the Lost Tooth Monsters out of Berkshire Bulky. They provide a convenient “pocket” to put the tooth in and the reward!
4. This is my newest design “Rooched”. It’s knit in Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace in Treacle Toffee.
5. My dad and I made this lamp, and three others with balls of Rowan Fine Tweed. The lampshade is also knit out of Rowan Fine Tweed. The full Lamp Story is here on my blog.
Do you have a favorite non fiber related project you’ve completed?
Some of my favorite non-fiber projects are the “art blocks” that I paint, and the larger paintings for over the fireplace. I am very “seasonally motivated” in terms of what I make when, and how the seasons are reflected around the house. Every season I change the art and most of the other decorations, soaps included. It’s a little crazy, but sometimes that’s the only way I know what time of year it is!
How do you like to spend your free time?
We still have three children at home so most of my “free” time is spent trying to maintain some sort of healthy balance between work, kid’s activities, creative endeavors, family time, and rest, with some fun too. I haven’t figured it out yet but I’m still trying!
If you weren’t working at WEBS, what would you like to be doing? What is your dream job?
My dream job keeps changing the more I learn. I love “styling” photos and videos of knitwear. I like thinking about setting, color, outfits that complement the piece you are photographing and even adding in a little humor. Luckily, I get to do that with my own designs. I would love to do it on a bigger scale though.
If Amy could, she would do it all. She loves styling her home and would even weave her own drapes if she had the time! She began designing out of necessity. Her daughter needed a Valentine’s Day gift, so the Love Monsters were born! She really enjoys creating a special environment with her handmade projects; changing the decorations in the house with the seasons lets her home match the mood outside. “I don’t buy ‘high art’, I just make it myself!”
Originally from Kentucky, Amy now lives in the Pioneer Valley with her husband, four children, and two dogs.