This Saturday, I'm thrilled to introduce you all to Infinite Twist, purveyors of beautiful fiber, knitting kits, and gorgeous knitting and spinning tools. The lovely Cate recently answered some questions from me about her company.
Me: Infinite Twist sells knitting kits, fiber, and gorgeous spinning wheels. With all of those lovely materials around, how do you make time to stop to eat and sleep?
Cate: Ha! Yes, my work/life balance is not exactly traditional. I love what I do, but it’s definitely not an 8 – 5 thing.
It’s incredibly tempting to spend hours at a time at the spinning wheel or experimenting with new dye colors, so I try to take care of email, bookkeeping, and the other business-y parts of my job first thing. With all that out of the way, I can give full focus to the creative part of my work without distractions, and usually get dinner on the table at a rational hour as well.
All that being said, I don’t know where I’d be without a freezer and big pots of soup.
Me: More seriously, would you consider yourself more of a knitter? Or a spinner? Can you tell us a bit about why you love to do each?
Cate: My love of fiber arts actually began with color, and I consider myself a colorist and dyer first and foremost.
I love the variegations in hand-painted fiber and seeing how the colors interact as they’re spun. You can look at fiber coming out of the dye pot and make a guess as to how it will look as yarn, but there’s always something surprising that happens along the way.
Spinning for me is pure meditation – it’s the still point in my day. The fact that I get yarn out of it as well is an amazing bonus.
Knitting is great because it’s easy to transport, and I love the social aspect of meeting up with other knitters. There’s something really satisfying about finding five minutes here or there to do a little knitting, and I’m constantly inspired by other people’s projects.
Me: Do you also have sheep? Or do you source your wool from others who do? Tell us a bit about your process for dying wool.
Cate: Oh, I wish I had my own sheep – someday!
My current process starts with cleaned, combed fiber. I pre-soak it in warm water and a bit of soap, let it drain, and then add vinegar (the citric acid in vinegar is the “glue” that attaches the dye to the wool). After that’s done, the fun part starts - applying dye solutions in different colors and depths of shade. Once the fiber has been painted with dye, it cooks on the stove in dumpling steamers.
Me: I could spend hours looking through your beautiful kits, just because of the colors. I think my favorites are "Sunflower" and "Granny Smith", but I could be talked into "Speckled Hen"--do you have a favorite?
Cate: Oh gosh – this is like asking if I have a favorite among my three cats!
If I had to pick, I’d say that my current favorite is Shreveport.
Shreveport (the color) is inspired by the Shreveport rose. It’s a vintage rose that my grandmother grew in her garden, with gorgeous, fragrant blooms in a really interesting blend of pink and orange. The version of it I’ve captured in my dye pot is both bright and soft, and great color therapy for wintery weather.
Me: Lastly, what new fun can we look forward to from Infinite Twist this year?
Cate: Our big 2013 project is looms. I’ve been collaborating with my Dad, who is the design and woodworking force behind Acadia Wheel & Loom. We’ve worked up a design for table looms that won’t require the fuss of winding and threading a warp.
I’m really excited about how the looms are coming together, and expect (fingers crossed) to have them in the shop this summer.
Cate has generously agreed to giveaway a set of 12 circular bamboo needles in the case of the winner's choice. To enter, go check out the cases, and come back and leave a comment about which one you would pick. I'll pick a winner on Wednesday.