Hi there, as promised here comes November’s Maker of the Month interview that I did with the lovely Caitlin behind Goosey Fibres.
I’m not sure where I first heard of her yarns, probably on a knitting podcast, but I went looking for her shop and when I found it on Etsy, there was no turning back! I had to buy yarn!
She has some beautiful color ways and I love the fact that she offers all or almost all in 50 gr skeins. Now that I’m all about the shorty socks, I love this option.
So I of course asked if I could do a little interview with her for the blog to introduce you all to her work and lucky for me, she accepted!
So far I have only knit one pair of shorty socks with her yarn but they are beautiful and I have many more planned.
Here I used 2 50 gr skeins and I love the colors. The yarn was a joy to work with and the socks fit nicely and are comfortable. I will definitely be knitting more socks from all the yarn I bought from her.
So here goes my interview with her which I hope you will enjoy and of course there will be a giveaway!
Tell me a little about yourself, where do you come from and where do you live and work today?
Hi, I’m Caitlin (Cait), I’m a yarn-dyer / stay-at-home-mum.
I live in the States, south of Boston, but not quite the Cape. I’m from Oakland, California, but we moved here 3 years ago, right before my son was born. I’m so happy to be somewhere that I’m tucked away in the woods, in a quiet little town. I loved California, but started feeling burnt out from being constantly surrounded by people and noise. I’m basically a home-body, surrounded by toys and yarn.
Are you a knitter/crocheter/spinner/ weaver ? And if you do all, which craft is your most favorite?
I knit and crochet, but I definitely consider myself a knitter first and foremost. I would love to try spinning and weaving, but don’t feel like I have the time right now to sit down and learn.
When did you learn to knit/crochet/spin/weave ? Do you remember who taught you?
I learned to knit when I was 8. I was home sick and curled up in my parents’ bed, and my mum gave me a couple straight needles and some worsted weight yarn and taught me the knit stitch. I didn’t really make anything, but loved the click click click of the needles. I FULLY became a knitter when I was much older, at 28. Both my sisters-in-law were big knitters and made it look so tempting, so I made my then-boyfriend (now-husband) a hat. I used Youtube videos, mostly, to learn new stitches.
I am teaching myself crochet only recently, in the past few months. I’m making a sampler blanket with my waste-yarn. It’s HIDEOUS, but I LOVE it. It’s got bobbles and waves and every other crochet stitch under the sun.
Do you have a favorite type of project that you regularly turn to? Like socks or shawls etc.
Sweaters and socks, there’s always at least one of each on my needles. I’m a sweater fanatic and work on those at home, and carry socks around with me to work if I’m in the car or…anywhere, really.
Would you say that fibre crafts have become a lifestyle for you ?
100% It’s a hobby, a passion, a business, a therapy, a constant thought in my mind.
How did you come to dye yarn and how long have you been dyeing yarn ?
I started dying one winter a few years ago on cheap yarn that I only bought a few skeins of, mostly to see if I liked it and if it could potentially be a more affordable way of getting yarn I wanted. It was NOT cheaper, but I loved doing it. I started dying, also, because I had spent too much on yarn one month and my husband got nervous about my yarn-spending. He jokes that I started yarn-dying out of spite, because I hate to be told not to do anything.
When did you decide to go professional and open a yarn shop ?
I opened my shop for a couple reasons. 1. Because I thought my colors were pretty and I felt confident that I could reproduce them. But largely 2. Because we had bought a house and I had left my job to stay at home with my son, who needed speech therapy and OT, and we were feeling BROKE. Money was really tight and there was a real fear that we weren’t going to be able to keep making ends meet, so I thought maybe I could sell a skein or two and at least help pay with heat. Instead, it took off, and I’ve been able to help pay most of the bills. It was really a huge boon, opening my shop.
What is the inspiration behind your shop and your yarns?
My initial (and constant) inspiration is my son, August. We call him Goosey, so I named my shop after him. As for my yarn names, I’m inspired mostly by language and turns of phrase, or books. Sometimes, a sentence or couple words will just stick in my mind, and I start seeing colors that I think represent those words. I think I have Synesthesia, so words have colors in my mind. I try to show that in my yarns.
When reading your about page on Etsy, you mention that the shop name comes from a family discussion. Could you tell us a little about that, how you came up with the name ?
I think I touched on this a little. I wanted it to represent how much I love Goosey, something that shows him as he gets older how much he inspired me and changed my life.
What would you say inspires you most in your work as an indie dyer?
It seems to depend on the season. I have a constant line of Harry Potter yarns, because I feel like those are my people. But the weather also inspires me, as well as my surroundings. I love New England and it’s wacky weather. I’m also inspired by movies and pop culture.
When you dye yarn, do you decide on a theme or do you dye “on the fly” so to speak?
A bit of both. Often, there will be a word or thought stuck in my head, and I want to show what that looks like, as far as color. But other times, I just wonder what a couple colors would look like together and will start experimenting.
What are your most popular colorways?
Always and Wizarding Wheezes have been the most popular, but with Winter on its way and weather getting chillier, people are going more for blues and greys. So lately Polar Express is picking up steam, as is Hagrid’s Hut.
You are one of few dyers to offer fingering weight yarns in 50 gr skeins and as a sock knitter I really appreciate that. I think it is great when doing contrasting heels/toes and cuffs or just when knitting for small feets. Is there a reason why you decided to offer this option in your shop? And what has the experiment been like for you, are people buying more 50 gr skeins than the typical 100 gr ones in fingering weight?
I thought the 50g skeins were going to be a limited option, but they have been wildly popular! I love them for making my son socks and for heels/toes/cuffs. They’re the perfect size for those things! I’m a complete convert and will be keeping them in the shop indefinitely. 50g skeins are the best!
You also dye sock blanks, is that a new addition to the shop?
Sock blanks are actually one of the first things I tried to release in the shop, but my early versions were so ugly. I had no idea how to get clean lines or anything. It’s been a long experimental process with blanks, and I’m still thinking of new techniques to try.
Do you have a preferred method of dyeing or material to work with? Like do you enjoy hand painting sock blanks more than dyeing yarn in the skein?
It depends on my mood. If I’m a little cranky or just feeling really quiet, I prefer to work on blanks. Then, I can just sit and paint and listen to podcasts or music. Generally, though, I love working with skeined yarn. There are so many dying techniques, that I find skeined yarn very energizing to work with.
What do you have coming up for the shop til the end of this year? Any special deals/events/kals ?
I have a deal starting 11/20 running till December 10th. I am also thinking of starting KALs for whatever main project I’m working on. For instance, I’m currently knitting the Slade cardigan by Michelle Wong, so I am going to list kits for that and offer a discount for as long as I’m knitting it. That way it’s kind of like a KAL, because we can all work on it together. So, there will always be some kind of kit offered at a discount, depending on whatever project I’m working on.
Where do you see your business in say 5 years from now ?
I hope it’s still going strong! There’s a real fear that it might fail or…just the uncertainty of the future. But I hope to only go up. I’d like to move out of my home studio and expand to a more commercial setting. I’d love to start doing trunk shows and be carried in more shops, as well.
A lot of dyers also podcast or do a blog. Do you do either of those?
I DO have a podcast on youtube, though am not great about my regularity. I get quite camera shy. If you wanted to watch it, it’s Goosey Fibers on YouTube.
Do you have a group on Ravelry for your yarn and customers? Are you active there? Do you regularly organise kals and other events via your Ravelry group?
This is another area I need to improve on. I have a group on Ravelry, called Goosey Fans, but it’s fairly stagnant. In the near future, I will start doing KALs and fun giveaways, but life has been so busy this year I haven’t quite had the time. New Year’s resolution!
For those that want to follow you and your shop, what would you say is the best venue for that ?
The best way to get insider news and deals is to sign up for my newsletter on gooseyfibers.com! In the future I hope to leave Etsy entirely and work only on gooseyfibers.com, and the newsletter is the best way to stay on top of any news!
Thank you so much for the interview! This was fun; it’s a lovely thing, to look back on beginnings and to see how far it’s come. You’ve also helped me set some goals for myself!