As promised a feature on the very talented Laura from Abstract Cat Crafts. I discovered this dyer about a year a go and was half tempted NOT to share to keep all the yarn for myself.....
Abstract Cat Crafts can be found online at either http://abstractcat.folksy.com or http://abstractcat.misi.co.uk. Stay tuned for the upcoming website, http://abstractcat.co.uk. And if you make a purchase, please do say hi for me, her favourite stalker!!
Tell us about what you do?
I'm a dyer and seller of hand-dyed yarn, and heading towards being full time with it although the workload varies greatly. Currently I mostly sell online through Folksy and MISI, but have recently started supplying The Yarn Cake
in Glasgow, a fabulous wee knitting cafe/cake and yarn shop. I also had a stall at Knit Camp Marketplace at the University of Stirling last year and hope to do more fairs in future, however I'm dependent on public transport, so can only do events close to home.
How did it all start?
After two years of being stuck in the graduate employment trap (no experience, no job → no job, no experience, and too many qualifications) something had to be done. I've always dabbled in crafts, and wondered if some of my experiments could be turned from a hobby into a business. At the same time, I couldn't find the perfect shade of red yarn for a shawl I wanted to crochet so I dyed some myself using a beginners' dyeing kit I'd bought a year previously. The rest, as they say, is history.
I tend to work by trial and error and a lot of what I've done has been a good lesson in how not to do things! The bravery to strike out on your own is essential, as is finding your niche, and a business plan is probably very wise, but do as I say not do as I do...
Do you have a future ‘plan’ for your crafting related enterprise?
Creation of a formal business plan is something is something I really ought to get round to so I can gain a bit of focus. Loosely, I'd like to expand. I'd like to expand the wholesale side of my business and sell through more outlets, but as I like to maintain personal contact with my customers, I think I'd be quite selective about where my yarn was sold. I'd also like to sell at more fairs, but there are very few events in my area just now, and I have to be able to reach them by public transport. And of course I'd like to increase online sales, increase the variety of base yarns I use and sell more luxury and British yarns.
Where do you find inspiration?
Growing up in the Scottish Highlands and being a homesick Highlander, it's probably inevitable that much of my inspiration comes from those landscapes. I have to resist the urge to dye yarn in every possible shade of misty mountain purple and curb my desire to name colourways with unpronounceable (to non-Scots) Gaelic names. Skein of 'Braigh Coire Chruinn-Bhalgain' anyone?
Favourite Childhood Game?
Not so much a game, but exploration. One of my best friends lived in a big house in the country near Loch Ness, and we'd spends our weekends and holidays tramping across fields and through woods, exploring for hours, sometimes taking interesting items home – we had an extensive collection of broken pottery, and other highlights included picking orchids (we didn't know they were protected), taking home a newt (it escaped by the next morning), and running away, terrified, from a calm but curious cow.
Are you an early bird or midnight owl?
In summer I'm an early bird - I wake with the daylight so I sleep with blackout curtains otherwise I'd get no sleep after 4am. In winter it's a different story. I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) so am only properly awake between about 10am and 6pm, heavily propped up my therapeutic light box and caffeine.
Tell us about a dream you recently remember
Most of my dreams are loosely connected vignettes and I forget them soon after waking. I can remember one that was something to do with translucent, jellyfish-like lobsters that opened the sides of their claws when they got angry, to reveal rows of cats' teeth. Also something about being in New York and men crocheting wire gloves round my hands (I have been dabbling wire crochet recently, and thinking of my family in New York...)
Comfort Food of choice?
Pizza. If I didn't have to worry about weight gain, I'd probably eat pizza seven days a week. If not pizza, cheese. When I have 'chocolate' cravings they're usually fat cravings that can be satisfied with cheese.
When you daydream, where do you tend to end up?
Being happier and calmer than I am now, with a lot more control over my environment, and being creatively satisfied. Not any particular 'place' so much as internal satisfaction and contentment.
Recently my partner and I have developed a new obsession – watching roller derby, a full-contact, usually all-female sport that is gaining popularity in this country after experiencing a revival in the USA in the last ten years or so. It's played by opposing teams skating round an oval track. Points are scored by a 'jammer' who is trying to lap members of the opposing team whilst they try to prevent her from doing so. It's fast, furious and very entertaining, but I'm not tempted to try it myself and am staying firmly in the audience – I don't think my hips could handle it!