One of the things I want to do in conjunction with the publication of California Revival Knits is offer you the chance to learn a bit more about Â the yarn companies and dyers whose yarn I feature in the book.
First up is Marilyn of Black Water Abbey. Â I’ve known Marilyn since when I first started designing. Â I first saw her glorious heathery wooly yarns at Stitches West, and purchased enough yarn in Jacob to do Alice Starmore’s Canyonville. Â Sorry to say, I never knit Canyonville, but I’ve loved the yarn ever since.
No, the yarn’s not soft, though it does soften considerably once washed (or when you’ve blocked your garment). Â However, that sturdiness results in a finished object that will look beautiful for a long, long time. Â And did I mention the gorgeous colors? Â And how cable pop in this yarn? Â With the new emphasis on attributes other than softness, and interest in more advanced techniques (with which this yarn really shines) I expect her yarn, which already has a devoted following (Ravelry group here), to grow even more in popularity.
I used Black Water Abbey 2 ply worsted for the Catalina Star Pillow. Â I tried to make the back of the pillow as pretty as the front. Â I hope you like it!
Stephannie: How did you get started in this business?
Marilyn: When on vacation in Ireland, I found one of the mills I work with. Â I thought there might be a business opportunity as at the time we weren’t seeing yarn like this in the US. Â I wrote a marketing plan, presented it to the mill owner, and became his North American distributor/retail outlet. I have been importing the yarn for 13 years.Â [I choose] colors that seem appropriate for traditional, aran-style garments.
What festivals or conferences do you go to as a vendor?
The general thought amongst internet craft gurus is that potential customers want to know about the yarnie as a person through things such as personal blogs, Twitter, etc. If a potential customer feels they â€˜knowâ€™ the person associated with the yarn, it builds trust in the mind of the customer, and theyâ€™re more apt to make that first purchase. What are your thoughts on this?
I think that has become more important over the years.Â My business is web-based, so I try to have a user-friendly website. Â I communicate with my newsletter, I try to respond quickly to questions from customers and potential customers. Â I am beginning to use Ravelry as well.
Thank you Marilyn!