You all know how much I love the yarn industry and that I like to bring us all a little closer by sharing some questions with independent dyers and designers with all of you. If you are part of the members-only area of the site you would have seen Angelina’s logo from very early. Angie has been here from the very early episodes of the podcast and it has been fantastic to watch her yarn business, Gamer Crafting Yarns, grow. I thought that we could all get to know her a little better so I asked her to answer some questions below. Enjoy!
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself and where you are based?
They call me Angie: I’m a diehard crafty creative with a penchant for yarn. For now, I’m based near London, but who knows where I’ll be this time next year!
Q: Why did you start Gamer Crafting Yarns and where did the name come from?
I wrote a series of articles for LoveKnitting about how to DIY hand dyed yarns with stuff you have around the kitchen: Kool-Aid packets, food dye, vinegar, onion skins, and so on. I quickly became obsessed with dyeing, spent six months experimenting and learning about professional grade dyes and processes, and here I am a year after launching the GamerCrafting Etsy shop. I wasn’t sure what name to take on: after all, what’s in a name? (Well if you’re starting a business, everything!) My good friend and fellow maker, Merion, suggested GamerCrafting because I’m always going on about video games. It stuck, I think, because it fits who I am.
Q: What is your favourite base to work with?
It really depends on what I’m after: crisp speckles call for a superwash sock yarn, but I’m pretty obsessed with the smushy impressionist look that you get from using a non-superwash yarn. I’m pretty obsessed with the luxury aran base right now, even though it’s high summer – merino wool, mohair, and silk. YUM.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
I get up at stupid-o-clock to dye yarn and pack orders before I have to start work on my freelance contracts. There’s usually a lot of coffee involved, but breakfast needs to happen or I turn into The Hulk; the hanger is real! Freelance work, more yarn dyeing over my lunch break, more work, dinner, working on patterns for THE BOOK (getting there, slowly!), knitting, bed. Rinse, repeat, pretty much 7 days of the week.
Q: What does running a creative business mean to you?
It’s rewarding, but it’s hard work. It means some seriously long hours, researching things until your eyeballs fall out, and always trying to come up with new creative ideas and innovations.
Q: How do you stay motivated during creative down periods?
I had a music mentor once tell me that inspiration and motivation will desert you 75% of the time. You can’t depend on those muses because they’re unreliable and fickle, so the rest of the time you have to just show up and put in the time. You won’t always feel like a creative genius; in fact most of the time you won’t. But you keep on getting up early and flinging colour around, and sometimes you’ll create something that you’re proud of.
Q: Can you tell us about your other interests and hobbies?
Well I studied music in university, and that’s always going to be a big part of my life even if it isn’t a sustainable career for me at this point in my life. Music is going through a huge overhaul with the advent and popularity of streaming services like Spotify, so, for now, it’s writing little folk tune arrangements for small ensembles I work for, and eventually writing that album I’ve been talking about for 10 years!
I also can’t deny my deep and enduring love for video games: the introduction of Steam as a gaming platform has totally revolutionised gaming. Now independent game developers are creating new kinds of games that the big platforms wanted nothing to do with. There’s been a big influx in “walking simulator” exploration style games which I love, like Everybody,’s Gone to the Rapture, choice based games like Life is Strange, and crafting based games like Stardew Valley and Don’t Starve. Of course, I still play the big games like Skyrim and The Witcher 3 but I really think we’re in a golden age of gaming.
Q: I am in love with your new sparkle base, can you tell us a little bit about that?
I’m SO excited about the new sparkle base! Seriously, I am obsessed. I spent a long time deciding the theme and finally landed on Adventure Time, which I think was the right choice. These are 100g skeins, 75% superwash merino wool, 20% nylon, and 5% sparkle. It is a proper sock yarn that you can use for socks, or for any other 4-ply or fingering weight pattern. If I had to pick a favourite from this collection, it would have to be Lady Rainicorn!
Q: One of the reasons I am drawn to your yarn is names of the colourways. It speaks to my inner sci-fi/gamer self. How do you decide to name your yarns ?
The themes always come first: it could be something I’m currently obsessing over (as is the case with the Witcher 3 themed set and the Stranger Things set), or something I remember fondly, like with the Nintendo themed cotton yarns or the Pokemon sock yarns. I decide on a theme and then colour the yarns as appropriate, and try to stay true to the characters or ideas behind the shade names.
Q: What does the future hold for Gamer Crafting Yarns?
Well, I’ll be doing my first Big Yarn Shows this year, with Perth Festival on September 10th and then Yarndale the weekend of September 23rd. I’ll also be attending the first ever Nottingham Yarn Expo in November, and then in January 2018, I’ll be at Waltham Abbey Wool Show. Expect more yarns, new shades, new bases, new stitch markers as soon as I get my act together, and hopefully, possibly, THE BOOK for release in October I’m hoping. I’m self-publishing so there’s a long road ahead, but almost everything has been knitted up. It’s the photography, tech editing, and formatting that might kill me!
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer the questions, Angie! If you want to hear more from Angie you can check out her podcast episode here and you can find her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and of course her fabulous new website here.
Disclaimer: All images used in this post are provided by Gamer Crafting Yarns.