Fiber Hooligan is a podcast hosted by yours’ truly, Benjamin Levisay, and dedicated to bringing you interviews with the best of the fiber arts & makers’ world… including experts, business people, and designers in the crafts of knitting, crochet, spinning, dyeing, weaving, sewing, quilting, embroidery, as well as anything else that I think is interesting.
You can find us at our new site at http://FiberHooligan.com
A Chat with the Oink Pigments team (08-10-2020)
Next Monday (08/10/2020) my guests will be the Oink Pigments team. Est. in 2010, Oink Pigments is a purveyor of small-batch, hand-dyed yarns with over 140 bright & playful colorways, available on over a dozen yarn & fiber bases.
Alexa Wilson (she/her) learned to knit in 2009, & knew from that moment she wanted to build a career in fiber arts. She started dyeing in 2010, & has been in love with adding color to life ever since. Alexa continues to work hard to grow Oink Pigments, along with the rest of Team Oink. You can find her on the couch starting another project, buried under doggos, or both.
Helena Bristow (she/they) has been Vice Pigmentologist at Oink Pigments since its inception in 2010. She learned to crochet at age 4, & taught herself to knit when she started graduate school for the first time. She often jokes that ‘knitting stuck; grad school did not’. Helena has dropped out of 2 different graduate programs because she would rather be playing with yarn. Helena can usually be found driving all over the country in her yarn van.
Julie Gillespie (she/her) is the Chief Oink Operator & head of Social Media & Marketing. She started knitting in 2007 on a whim & has been collecting different crafty skill sets ever since. Julie first joined Team Oink at STITCHES West 2015. She was immediately told she was not allowed to leave. She manages the Oink Pigments social media accounts, surrounded by pugs. Founder of Sparkle Saturday, she encourages others to shine bright.
Harper Hodes (they/he) has been a member of Team Oink for years. They have been knitting since they were in high school & are strongly involved in advocacy for mental health issues, the LGBTQIA+ community, & disability access. Harper is a process knitter who enjoys color work, but much prefers petting & buying yarn. They can often be found in their wheelchair at the Oink booth.
Diane Ivey (08-03-2020): Lady Dye Yarns
This Monday (08/03/2020) my guest will be Diane Ivey.
Diane Ivey is the owner and Creative Director of Lady Dye Yarns, an indie-dye yarn company started in 2010. A knitter for 18 years and a dyer, spinner and crocheter for 13, Diane looks forward to not only expanding her company but using her expertise in growth and expansion with other BIPOC businesses to grow on a national scale. She spent 16 years in the non-profit sector. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Mass Communication with a concentration in Print Journalism from Georgia College & State University. She also holds a Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in Non-Profit Management from Suffolk University.
“Our freedom and our equality is tied to each other no matter what race, gender identity, socio economics, or background. If we all want equality in pay, work, reproductive rights, and more, we must work together as one.”
Diane has a lot going on right now, and I so pleased she was able join us. I hope you’ll all tune in to hear from this charismatic and inspirational lady.
Jennifer Wenger-Turchen (07-27-2020): Jennifer Knits
Monday (07/27/2020) my guest will be Jennifer Wenger-Turchen from Jennifer Knits.
Jennifer has worked in the knitting industry since 1985. This year she is celebrating her 20th anniversary as the owner of Jennifer Knits, a fabulous, one-of-a-kind knit shop located in Brentwood Village, Los Angeles. She is known for her custom patterns—from her imagination, or inspired by your favorite ready-to-wear designer, and tailored to your gauge and measurements. Over the years, she has developed relationships with textile mills in Italy and imports the finest cashmere and merino directly to her shop. In 2005, she authored Teen Knitting Club, with Maureen Lasher and Carol Abrams, and embarked on a nationwide book tour, inspiring the creation of more than 500 knitting clubs in colleges and high schools across the country. She also offers a “How to Make a Profit” seminar, teaching women how to run successful small businesses (not just knit shops). Jennifer believes that anyone can have their dreams come true with hard work, integrity, and determination. Jennifer was president of the Brentwood Village Chamber of Commerce for eight years and served four years on the Brentwood Community Council. Her efforts helped bring local businesses together with the West LA VA to raise money for veteran’s housing, services, and job building. Working with government, the local community, and individuals, she was instrumental in helping to pass the HR3484 bill in 2017, helping to house previously homeless veterans on VA property. Jennifer Knits sells across the country and beyond, with loyal longtime customers of all ages. Jennifer Knits can be your “local yarn shop” no matter where you live! Jennifer is a force-to-be-reckoned-with. If you want to hear about how business should work in this industry (as well as many others) I invite you to join us for this show.
Adella Colvin (07-20-2020): LoLaBean Yarn Co.
Monday (07/20/2020) my guest will be Adella Colvin of LolaBean Yarn Co.
LolaBean Yarn Co. (formerly Adella’s Crochet Cottage) began 5 years ago with a single stitch; that quickly turned into a thousand stitches as Adella contemplated on what she would do to pass time while her husband was away in Afghanistan.
Adella first learned to crochet and knitting soon followed. She became obsessed with all of the different colors, textures and compositions of the different yarns she came across. One day, she came across a YouTube video of someone dyeing yarn, and she thought to herself… “Hey I should try this!” So she did. Dyeing came very naturally to Adella and she was encouraged by her friends and family to start her own business and sell her hand dyed creations. The rest is history.
After the birth of her daughter, Adella realized that she had much more to live for and be grateful about. She decided to rebrand her company in honor of her little princess, in hopes that one day she would be able to pass something down to her daughter and keep the legacy alive. As a woman of color, Adella wants to show her daughter, and hopefully inspire others, that they can achieve success regardless of the circumstances.
Adella looks forward to growing and expanding her brand, not only for her daughter, but for the future generation of independent fiber artists. This might be one of my favorite interviews so far. Please tune in and find out why.
Note: This show was pre-recorded to accomodate scheduling.
Heavenly Bresser (07-13-2020): Spinning & Inspiring
Monday (07/13/2020) my guest will be the very talented and genrous Heavenly Bresser.
Heavenly Bresser is a self-taught, well-rounded fiber artist from Chicago. She has over 10 years of experience with crochet and knitting, but also loves dyeing fibers, hand spinning, weaving and repairing spinning wheels. Working from fleece to project is one of her favorite things to do. Her passion for fiber arts and the joy of seeing others grow in their craft is part of her motivation as an instructor. Heavenly’s goal is to uplift, inspire and encourage those around her and challenge them to think outside the box and to do things they’d never imagine could be done. Outside of her fiber adventures, her time is spent caring for her husband, two young boys, and Morkie named Samson.
As most of you know, Heavenly has been on the show once before—but we really didn’t get a chance to talk about many of the things she’s doing in the fiber world. I’m so pleases she can join us again. Please tune in to hear from this gracious and talented artist.
Anna Zilboorg (07-06-2020): Elder, Author, Designer, Teacher, Knitter
Next Monday (07/06/2020) my guest will be the talented designer, author, and teacher Anna Zilboorg. Anna's pronouns are she and her.
Anna, an Elder of the knitting community, is an Anglican solitary who now lives on the seaside town of Rockland, Maine.
According to a quote by her (that I found online), she says that she was… "Born and reared in New York City; educated at Harvard; taught at MIT. Fled from the madding crowd's ignoble strife until I found myself in Big Stone Gap, VA. Got religion. Returned to my childhood love of knitting; became a hermit."
At this point, Anna is retired. Before she retired, she devoted her energy to teaching the living craft (as opposed to just following directions). She has been called the Anarchist Knitter because of her book Knitting for Anarchists, and the 'Mad Bobbler' due to her love of three-dimensional stitches. Other books include Magnificent Mittens and Socks and Splendid Apparel, both available, as well as Sock for Sandals and Clogs, Fancy Feet, and 45 Fine & Fanciful Hats to Knit.
Beyond her impressive career, Anna is one of the most interesting people I have ever met. I’m so happy that she agreed to be on the show. Please tune in—you really don’t want to miss Anna!