Interviews and Press

Category
  • Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival 2015 - How to Choose a Fleece Class

    My photo was featured for the class "How to Choose a Fleece presented by Melissa Weaver Dunning" on the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival 2015 page. I'm really looking forward to this year's festival, which is one of the best in the area. Visit the SVFF website for more info.

    I had a fabulous time last year when I volunteered at the Fleece Sales. This is a great event for people who have little or no experience in buying fleece because there are plenty of friendly volunteers to help you pick out the right one and answer all your questions. This also looks like a really good class with Melissa who is an expert fiber artist, so don't miss this opportunity to learn from the best!

    If you'd like to see my other photos from last year's event, visit my posts here:

    How to Choose a Fleece Class with Melissa Weaver Dunning

    "Curious about working with fleece, but not sure where to start? This class will be a discussion about fleece types, how to choose a good one, how to wash your new fleece, how to prepare the fleece for spinning or felting, and what to do with your finished yarn or fiber.
    Register

    Thank you so much to Elysa Darling for permission to use one of her magnificent photos in this post! After you register for classes, you should search for her photos from SVFF 2014!"

  • Spinzilla 2015

    I'm really excited because my photo from last year's Spinzilla competition is being featured on the event page for Spinzilla 2015. I will be spinning again for Team Madwool and hopefully reach the mile mark this year.

    Spinzilla 2014 - 2015 Elysa Darling Team Madwool

    "Elysa Darling's yarn (and photo) made during Spinzilla 2014 spinning for Team MadWool. Elysa ended up with just under a mile of yarn for the week. It was her first year and she will be back with the goal of getting into the Monster Mile Club. Join her! Team Registration opens September 1st. "

    Spinzilla 2014 - 2015 Elysa Darling Team Madwool

    Spinzilla is a monster of a spinning week held by TNNA (The National Needlearts Association). Teams and individuals from all over compete in a friendly virtual competition to see who can spin the most yarn. For more information, visit spinzilla.org. To register go to Spinzilla registration.

  • Strauch Fiber Equipment Co. Ply Magazine Ad Summer 2015

    My photo of my Mad Batt'r drum carder was used in Strauch's ad in Ply Magazine's Summer 2015 issue. I was a featured artist on their blog last September. I'm a huge fan of their fiber equipment so I was really excited that they selected my picture for the ad.

  • Tangled up in Teal by Indie Untangled

    The fiber arts world is very small. I really enjoy getting mail from Indie Untangled, a comprehensive site to bring together yarn lovers and amazing products from indie artisans. So I was gleeful when I saw my stock image of my handspun yarn and favorite blue bowl that was used in a Design Seed featured in Lisa's post about the color Teal. To read the entire post, please visit the Indie Untangled website.

    Here is the original Design Seed. It was also featured in Apartment Therapy's post on Design Seed's site relaunch12/15/2011

  • Strauch Fiber Equipment Co. Featured Artist: Elysa Darling

    I was a featured artist on Strauch's blog. Here is my interview:

    Featured Artist: Elysa Darling

    Today we’re excited to feature a wonderful fiber artist, Elysa Darling from 222Handspun. Elysa creates and sells beautiful art batts and art yarns through her Etsy shop, and blogs on her website, 222Handspun. Today we’re sharing photos of Elysa’s batts and handspun yarns, all carded on her Strauch double wide Mad Batt’r. We’ve also asked Elysa a couple of questions about her business. A photo from Elysa’s studio, carding on her Mad Batt’r:Elysa Darling | 222 Handspun drum carding on a Strauch Mad Batt'r Drum Carder - Strauch FiberSFE: How did you get started in the fiber arts?

    ED: I’ve been fascinated with yarn and fiber since I was a little kid. My first exposure to fiber arts was at a summer camp where I learned to weave and use natural dyes. My mother taught me how to sew and I used to make clothes for my dolls using yarn and fabric scraps from her stash and much anticipated trips to the local fabric store.

    Pulling an art batt from the Strauch Mad Batt’r

    Elysa Darling | 222 Handspun - pulling art batt from a Strauch Mad Batt'r Drum Carder - Strauch Fiber
    SFE: What’s your favorite part of creating–carding, spinning, knitting?

    ED: I actually don’t know how to knit (I know, crazy!). I just learned to crochet last year and I find that easier to do and I’m working on getting better at it. I guess I would say I really love carding and spinning the most though. Dyeing is fun too because I get to play with color in a different way. I have a lot of fun mixing dyes and coming up with some crazy color palettes. But there is something about just grabbing a handful of squishy wool and blending it together to make yarn that really appeals to me. Spinning has a rhythm that is very meditative and relaxing. You don’t have to pay as much attention as you would if you are knitting (or in my case crocheting or weaving). I could spin all day if I had the time.

    Elysa’s cheerful color combos on her Mad Batt’r.

    drum carding on a Strauch Mad Batt'r An art batt! Elysa Darling | 222 Handspun handspinning art batt - Strauch Mad Batt'r Drum Carder - Strauch Fiber Elysa’s handspun coiled art yarn Elysa Darling | 222 Handspun coils handspun art yarn - Strauch Mad Batt'r Drum Carder - Strauch FiberThanks so much to Elysa for sharing her lovely photos! We’d love to see what you’re making on your Strauch carders, too!

  • SPIN QUEST 2013 WRAP UP by Spinartiste

    The following is an exerpt from the SpinArtiste write-up:

    Wow! It is hard to believe we are already into September and the summer has once again slipped away. With Spin Quest planned for the end of August, we didn’t let the summer end without a big spinning bang!!

    SQ 13 - Vendor Area 3

    Like last year, the vendor line up was great in included:

    Wild Hare Fiber Studio
    Dream Come True Farm
    Avalon Springs Farm
    Gourmet Stash
    Unique Designs by Kathy
    Grindstone Ridge Farm
    Flying Goat Farm
    222 Handspun 
    Three Ravens Fiber Studio

    Read the rest of the wrap up on Spinartiste 

  • 222 Handspun Featured Artist Interview in Spin Artiste and Giveway

    I'm really excited to be featured in this month's Spin Artiste Interview. There's a giveway too, so don't forget to enter for a chance to win some mixed fiber.

    The following is the full text of the interview in SpinArtiste:

    FEATURED ARTIST: ELYSA DARLING OF 222 HANDSPUN AND FUN FIBER GIVEAWAY

    JULY 7, 2013

    ED- 222 Elysa-and-Cookie-the-Karakul-Sheep-at-RedGate-Farm

    Publisher’s Note: With great pleasure this week, I get to introduce Elysa Darling of 222 Handspun Yarn. Elysa has successfully brought together her many talents as an artist and a crafts person to become a wonderful fiberista. Her fibers and yarns are bright, fun, and full of vitality.  Elysa is also one of our Spin Quest vendors this year and I know you will enjoy getting to know her better!

    Spin Artiste (SA) It is exciting to have you with us today, and we look forward to getting to know you. Please tell us your fiber story.

    Elysa Darling (ED): I’ve loved playing with yarn and making things with my hands ever since I was a little kid. Although I like knitted pieces, woven fabric was my first love. I remember weaving a tiny blanket from pink yarn for a doll that I had. There was something about the texture of the crossed fibers that fascinated me. My mother taught me how to sew and I started designing and sewing clothes for my dolls out of scraps of material left over from her stash and our much anticipated trips to the local fabric store. I wasn’t fully aware of it at the time, but I was learning about drape and bias and different fiber qualities as I tried to make my own hand drawn patterns work. Both my mother and grandmother were good seamstresses and did needlework so I guess it runs in the family.

    One of my first real educational experiences with fiber was when I was around eight years old and I attended a summer camp where we learned how to weave on looms that we made out of wood frames that we put together ourselves. Weaving was something I could relate to and I picked up on it pretty easily. We also dyed yarn using dye we made from plants we collected.

    The love of making things by hand and close connection to my natural surroundings has stayed with me as an adult and led to me discovering hand-spinning.

     ED-222 Hand dyed pink Cotswold locks - 222 Handspun

    A number of years ago I watched a traditional flax spinning demonstration and thought it was something I’d really like to learn how to do. I also really wanted to start weaving with good yarn, and when I saw what spinners were doing on Etsy with textured yarns and endless color palettes I set out to learn how to spin yarn the way I wanted. I had been searching for classes for a while without finding anything nearby and had kind of given up on the idea. Then coincidentally I took a short term contract for a job near a yarn store that was offering spinning classes. It seemed like it was meant to be after all. Once I had taken a few classes and read some books I was hooked. I bought a wheel soon after, and I’m now on my second and third generation of fiber equipment.

    ED-222 washed Cotswold lamb fleece - 222 Handspun

    SA: Fiber is completely addictive! It doesn’t take long until you’re hooked.  At what moment, or during the process of what piece, did it hit you that fiber art was more than a hobby?

    ED: I guess in the back of my mind I’ve wanted to have my own yarn business for a long time. When I got my first wheel and started selling yarn to friends and coworkers then I took the leap to start selling on Etsy. I figured I needed to sell yarn to make more money to feed my fiber habit. Then I started doing shows and I realized that I really love the interaction with other fiberistas. It’s very flattering and rewarding when someone actually wants to buy something you made.

    ED-222 222 Handspun Yarn and ThreeRavens OMG Crochet hook

    Elysa shows out some vibrate yarns paired with an OMG crochet hook from ThreeRavens.

    SA:   Yes!  That is the best feeling… know your mom is a knitter. What was your experience growing up with a fiber artist, and how would you say your mother encouraged you to pursue your fiber dreams?  

    ED: My mother taught me a lot of the craft skills that I have today and I’m very lucky to grow up in a household where creativity was encouraged. Both of my parents are very artistic. My father is a professional photographer, artist, and writer and my mother is skilled in all sorts of needle crafts and is into photography and beading/jewelry making as well. My mother used to make a lot of clothes for me and my brothers when we were kids. She crocheted this fabulous poncho for me in the 70’s that I loved. I wish I still had that thing.

    art yarns detail - 222 Handspun

    Many years ago my mother tried to teach me to knit, but I’m hopelessly dyslexic and it was too difficult for me to catch on. It’s very frustrating because I have all these project ideas in my head that I can’t make myself. So she makes samples for me and in return gets first pick at my yarn. It’s a bit of a disadvantage for me not knowing how to knit and trying to predict how my hand-spun will behave, so I usually have her work with it first. She also helps me with shows and I bounce ideas off of her frequently. She’s a good sounding board for me and never tells me my ideas are nuts (even when they are).

    SA: Sounds like your mom is a gem!  

    You work seems to have a very light and feminine flair. How would you describe yourcolors and textures?

    ED: Since my days as an art student I’ve loved playing with color and mixing paint and dyes. I go through phases and have favorites that I use again and again until I get tired of them. I still can’t seem to let go of neon. I’m not sure if that trend is over yet or not, but people keep asking for it so I’ll keep on making it. I’ve been dyeing a lot of fiber recently and have been mixing some unique signature colors that are pretty offbeat like “Mean Mister Mustard” and “Acid Chartreuse”. ED- 222 Hand dyed Cotswold locks - 222 Handspun

    I love pairing bright or acidic colors with neutrals and using unexpected combinations. When you spin them together you get these nice little surprising moments in the yarn that catch your eye. I also use natural colored wool sometimes, but most of my palette is non-traditional. It’s not the kind of color you’ll usually find on shelves in your LYS, but you might see in a JCrew catalog. Some people are drawn to them and some people are repelled by them, but I don’t try to fit into the mainstream aesthetic so that’s OK with me.

    Color is so subjective, but the one thing that most people agree on is texture. There’s something about wool especially that is so cuddly and totally irresistible that you just want to bury your face in it. If you have cats you know this to be true. Pretty much all the fiber I use has to be soft and wearable. When sourcing fiber, if it isn’t next-to-skin soft or doesn’t have a good handle then I usually pass on it (unless it has other amazing qualities or other intended purpose). If you can’t stop squeezing the yarn then it’s a good sign.

    ED-222 Happiknits cowl using 222 Handspun yarn

    222 Handspun yarn knitted into a beautiful cowl by Happiknits.

     SA: I think it is great that you have highlighted pieces that have been created by other artists, from your yarn. What is your reaction when you see a completed work from your yarns, roving, or batts?

    ED: I’m often amazed by how other people interpret the raw materials. Sometimes customers come back to me later and show me things they’ve made or techniques they’ve used that are so different that how I would interpret it and I’m blown away.  A lot of people ask me “what can I do with this crazy yarn?” or “what do you do with those curly locks?” and I rattle off a list of cool things that people have made like felted bowls, hats, hair falls, jewelry, etc. It’s funny to think that that fiber was growing on a sheep somewhere not that long ago and then it got to me and I washed it and colored it and spun it, and then someone else took it on from there, and now it has a whole new function and form. The connection with other artists in the whole end-to-end process really energizes me creatively and sparks ideas for future projects.

    SA: There is nothing like the connection we have with other fiber artists. I really appreciate your willingness to put other fiber friends in the spotlight.  ED-222 Coil Boil yarn - 222 Handspun

    You really seem committed to encouraging others to start spinning and be proud of their love for all things fiber. What motivates you to start a new breed of fiber artist?

    ED: I’m pretty passionate about design and creativity and I think the fiber arts have been an under-appreciated art form for a long time. I work in other traditional mediums and I can really see a separation in the perception and acceptance between fine arts vs. crafts in the mainstream.

    Most people my age wouldn’t admit that they knitted or spun until fairly recently. With the advent of Etsy, Pinterest, and the DIY and urban homesteading movements, there is resurgence in traditional arts and crafts. It’s not just for grannies anymore. People can now wear it proudly and I’m amazed to find out how many folks I meet from other areas of my life that knit, crochet, or weave.

    ED-222 Hand painted Teeswater X Locks - 222 Handspun

    I see a lot more people my age and DIYers that are jumping into the fiber arts and spinning especially because it’s so much more accessible and hip now. That’s due in large part to some of the more progressive spinners and fiber artists out there that have pioneered the art/textured yarn space. For me personally, spinners like Lexi Boeger really opened the door creatively and inspired me to explore the possibilities beyond traditional techniques and materials.

    Part of my goal is to try to preserve heritage art forms like hand-spinning before they are lost. When I tell people that I make yarn the first thing they say is “oh, you mean like on a loom type thing?”. Then I say, “more like Rumplestilskin on a wheel” and then they get the visual. As I explain a little more I get all sorts of interesting questions and people are genuinely intrigued to learn about the process.

    Growing up in Rhode Island, I’ve seen all the old mills that were once part of a vital economy and are now shut down and basically turned into museums. It’s strange and a bit sad how most people today have no idea how fabric is made, never mind yarn. Much like what has happened with the move to factory farming, the milling process is so far removed from our everyday lives that what was once commonplace is now a total mystery.

     ED-222 handspun yarn with locks -  222 Handspun

    I’m fortunate now to live in an area in Northern Virginia that has so many fiber farms nearby and a strong spinning community that keeps us in touch with our roots.

    I tend to think that just like with cooking, having the best ingredients is a big part of your success. A lot of people are tired of mass produced acrylic yarns from the chain stores and want more authentic materials. A big selling point of handmade is not only the quality and craftsmanship, but that it tells a story that people can connect to, and that’s the message I try to get out.

    SA: We would love to hear about your wheel; what can you tell us?

    ED: I started out with a Kromski Sonata because I liked the traditional look of the wheel and that’s the model that I learned to spin on. But I soon realized that the hooks and orifice where not going to work with the type of big textured yarn that I spin.

     ED-222 Spinning on a Majacraft Pioneer  - 222 Handspun

    I quickly got over wanting a traditional looking design and I bought a Majacraft Pioneer which I love and now use for a lot of small projects and travelling. It’s simple and spins effortlessly and can handle most of my bigger add-ins. Best part about is that there are no hooks for things to get caught on. I also recently bought a Spinolution Mach III with the jumbo art yarn kit that can hold two pounds of fiber on a single bobbin. I’m still getting used to it because that thing is a monster and has so much power. It’s great, of course, when you want to N-Ply huge fat yarn like I tend to like to do. One reason why I bought it is because and I get aggravated stopping in the middle of spinning when I run out of room on the bobbin. Right now they are sitting beside each other vying for my attention.

    SA: I know you use all different types of wheels, but what has been your favorite, and what are you spinning on now?

    ED: I’m using the Majacraft Pioneer for lighter weight yarns and singles and the Spinolution for plying and big yarn. The jury is still out on which one I like better, but I have to say that when I was at Camp Pluckyfluff last year I used an Aura wheel and really loved it. I’m partial to the Majacraft lightweight design and well thought out engineering.

     ED-222 Corespun Coils - 222 Handspun

    If (I mean when) I buy another wheel I think that will be the one. It’s a big step up from the Pioneer and much more versatile. I do wish it had bigger bobbins like the Spinolution though. The designer in me would love to create my own hybrid wheel with the best of both worlds.

     SA: Ah, yes, the quest for that big bobbin…I’m with you.  I love my Aura but that big bobbin on the Spinolution is awesome. 

    Would you consider yourself a one-project-at-a-time artist, or do you like working on many pieces at one time?

    ED: I’m one of those ADD type people with unfinished projects all over the place. Some have literally been sitting there for years and I may never finish them. I used to be apologetic about that like it was a bad thing, but I’m OK with it now though. I think some projects are like sketches for paintings – they’re just enough for you to play with an idea or experiment and then you can move on to something else.

    ED-222 art yarn scarf - 222 Handspun

    SA: That is an excellent point. Every piece of the creative process counts. How did you develop the name “222 Handspun”? 

    ED: The number 222 has been a lucky number for me since college. I’ve had it in my email address for ages so I guess it just kind of stuck. I thought of changing it, but it’s too hard now since it’s everywhere.

     SAIt’s a great name, I’m glade it stuck! Where would you like to see 222 Handspun in a year?

    ED: That’s a tough one to answer. I usually set goals for myself and somehow find a way to reach them or at least some close enough. I’d like to get my fiber out into more retail shops and do more shows but the time commitment is always a challenge with my day job. Along with doing more writing, I think for this year continuing to improve my skills and learn new techniques is a good goal to have.

    art yarns hanging - 222 Handspun

    SA: It has been a joy to talk with you, Elysa. I want to ask you just one more question; what was the most difficult project you have ever conquered?

    ED: Probably the first time I learned to spin on a drop spindle was the most difficult time I had. That was humbling. Sometimes, especially as adults, we tend to over think things and tighten up when then things don’t work the way we want them to. Looking back now, some of my earlier yarns are pretty bad because I was just clumsily trying to figure it out as I went along. I haven’t had too many really challenging projects that weren’t of my own making somehow – either because of lack of understanding or just pure experimentation gone wrong. But in the end I think you learn from your struggles and the process of trial and error. No matter you make, even if it’s not perfect, the reward comes from the creative process and when that light bulb suddenly goes on in your head and you get the results you wanted.

    Bleu the cat admiring handspun scarf -222-Handspun

    SA:  Thank you so much, Elysa! 

    Readers, Elysa has a fun giveaway for you:  2 oz. of mixed spinning fiber in some gorgeous colors!!  Nothing like a fibery goodness giveaway to make your week complete, huh?  ED-222 Mixed art spinning fiber - 222 Handspun

  • Customer Crochet Handspun Yarn Project and Yarn Review

    Designed To Create Custom Yarn Project

    Back in September I posted about a yarn project I was working on for a customer. I was originally contacted by Zach, who writes about his creative adventures on his blog, Designed To Create. He recently learned how to crochet and wanted to attempt a project using my handspun yarn. Always willing to accept a good creative challenge and collaboration, I set out to see if I could spin up some yarn that would meet his requirements. I asked him to provide me with some pictures - a sort of "mood board", so I would be able to see what colors and style he was going for. His focus was on earth tones - rust, sand, and browns. I don't often make yarn with only natural colored wool, so this was a refreshing color palette and style for me:

    Custom Handspun Yarn Project Mood Board and Palette

    Yarn project mood board

    I went through my stash and grabbed some gorgeous cinnamon colored baby alpaca from Rivanna River Alpacas and some gray and white llama fleece I bought at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival last Fall. I mixed in some other wool and spun a single worsted/chunky weight yarn.

    Fiber Stash

    Fiber stash 

    Here's what it looked like after I spun it:

    Finished Handspun Yarn on a Niddy Noddy

    The Finished Skein of Yarn

    Finished Skein of Yarn

    Zach's Finished Crocheted Rustic Beanie

    Today I was thrilled to see Zach's finished work - a beanie he made for himself from my handspun yarn. I really think he did an excellent job, even though he had some challenges with the pattern and working with the handspun yarn. I especially like the way the natural variances and bands of colors came out. All in all it was a great learning experience and a fun collaboration for us both. Here is his review of the yarn and post with his hat's work-in-progress (WIP) pictures.

    Rustic Beanie: A Yarn Review

    Designed To Create - Handspun Yarn Crochet Project WIP

    Designed To Create Handspun Yarn Hat WIP

    Designed To Create - Rustic Beanie WIP

    Designed To Create Handspun Yarn Hat WIP

    Designed To Create  - Handspun Yarn Finished Crocheted Rustic Beanie

    Designed To Create Handspun Yarn Finished Hat

    The full review here:

    Rustic Beanie: A Yarn Review

     *This post continues where part one left off*

    In part one, I explained how I chose to purchase yarn from 222 Handpun Artisan Yarn. This post will be a review of the yarn and a look at what I made with it.

    This was halfway through.
     After inquiring about a custom yarn order, Elysa, owner of 222 Handspun, asked me what colors I was interested in. I sent her links to two pictures for color inspiration: Here and here. I wanted really manly, earthy tones - especially browns and tans, with some gray and cream as well. With that out of the way, I sat back, eagerly anticipating the pictures Elysa promised to send me when the yarn was done. When I saw the yarn for the first time I was very impressed; it was spot on with what I was envisioning and the inspiration photos I sent.

    Now to begin the crocheting. I searched around and found a free slouchy hat pattern - just the look I was going for! Hook flying through the variegated fiber with stitch after stitch, a hat began to take shape. This pattern is unique in that it is crocheted in a tube. Once the tube is long enough, you pinch the top and stitch it closed, forming four points. You turn it inside-out, and voila! A hat!
    The tube taking shape.

    Gorgeous color! Fabulous texture! *drool*
    And here's what it looks like "finished":
    It matches my coat and gloves!
    Doesn't this group look cozy?
    I put "finished" in quotations because it IS finished, and yet it isn't. You see, the hat ended up not fitting my head like I wanted it to. I learned that when you crochet with handspun yarn you have to make up for the tightness of the twist by using a hook one or two sizes larger than what is called for. Fortunately I haven't cut the yarn or sewn in the end, so I can undo the hat and re-stitch it. Lesson learned!

    I couldn't be happier with the yarn. Going from store-bought to handspun yarn was a breath of fresh air. The different textures of each of the fibers that make up the yarn were interesting to discover - the cream color is very satiny and smooth, the grayish color is a little more coarse, the rust color is soft and plush, etc. The yarn also varies at times in thickness, creating a more rustic, organic finished piece. I highly recommend 222 Handspun artisan yarn! If you'd like to see some pictures of the yarn spinning in progress, check out this blog post from 222. It's really cool to see a project go from a pile of loose fibers to a completed hat!

    I do want to point out that 222 Handspun generously discounted the yarn for me in exchange for my review. However, all the opinions I expressed in this and the previous post are my own.

  • Spunky Real Deals Wooly Review & Giveaway

    Spunky Real Deals is running a giveaway for a skein of 222 Handspun yarn. Check out the review on the blog and enter to win!

    Artisan Yarn by Elysa {Wooly Review & Giveaway}

    10.29.2012

         Garden of Wooly Delights by 222 Handspun  

    Who has gone into your local craft store looking for yarn only to find the usual run of the mill boring!! Running into 222 Handspun on Etsy was like a dream. Someone pinch me, because these yarns are too beautiful to exist. But alas they do!!!! 222 Handspun features hand dyed artisan yarn and spinning fibers. Simply gorgeous....take a minute and continue staring. It is okay you can be jealous of me. I got a chance to review and make something from the hand painted Wool Mohair blend yarn. Want to see what I made? You know.....you already got a sneak preview without even knowing it.;-)

                                    Hand painted Wool Mohair Blend at 222 Handspun   

    The hand painted Wool Mohair blend yarn from 222 Handspun is very feminine, warm, and cuddly soft. Not to mention the yarn colors, which they happen to be the star of the show!!! I took the wool and made an infinity scarf adding a large wooly flower. The wool flower really brings the feminine feel over the top! You better get to 222 Handspun fast, because I am going to buy them out of stock!;-)

    Who is ready for a sheepishly amazing giveaway?


     

     

  • Northern Virginia Craftaholics - Feature Friday

    I was very pleased to have 222 Handspun featured in Northern Virginia Craftaholics Feature Friday postNorthern Virginia Craftaholics is a group of crafty people who live in the Northern VA, D.C., and Maryland area and mainly sell their handmade items on Etsy.

    You can read more about my background and process here in the Q&A.

    Feature Friday: 222 Handspun by Elysa Darling

    12OCT

    Introduction about yourself and shop.

    My Etsy shop is called 222 Handspun. I hand dye and spin my yarn as well as produce hand dyed fiber for spinning, felting, and crafting. I hand pick and buy most of the fiber I use from small local farms in Northern Virginia and Maryland. You can read more about my products and yarn spinning process on my website/blog http://222handspun.com or follow me on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/222handspun and Pinterest:http://pinterest.com/222handspun.

    What got you interested in crafting?

    I’m from a pretty artsy family – my Dad is a photographer and my mother is very crafty, so naturally I take after them. I studied photography and do that when I have time. I’m pretty much into anything crafty and have tried everything from soap making to quilting to jewelry making before I got hooked on spinning yarn. When I was a kid, maybe about 8 years old, I attended a summer camp run my a friend of my parents. It was just me and two other kids learning how to garden, weave, make a loom, use natural dyes, and other hippie kind of stuff. It was amazing. I still think back on that experience and how much it influenced me and introduced me to making things by hand and working with natural materials. I was always entranced with weaving and textiles for some reason. My mother had unsuccessfully tried to teach me to knit, so weaving, sewing, and macrame were the things I could do. My mother and the women in her family were good seamstresses and she taught me how to sew. She made lots of clothes for me as a kid and taught me how to sew clothes for my barbie. I wish I still had the poncho and some of the great 70’s stuff she crocheted for me.

    What has been your favorite project to make and why?

    There are a few commissioned projects that stand out- I love to work with customers and collaborate on designs. However, just this last weekend I went to Camp Pluckyfluff (an amazing workshop for spinners)and make some really cool projects using techniques I learned there.

    What’s the secret behind your etsy name?

    222 is my lucky numberso that ended up as the name of my business.

    If you could open up a shop in your town what would you call it and what would it be like?

    I’d love to open up my dream fiber studio- Patowmack Yarn Works, a nod to the river I live next to and the local heritage and history.

    What is the most challenging thing you have made?

    Definitely learning some new techniques at Camp. But I believe you can only getter better if you have to work a bit harder and step up your game now and then.

    What are some of your goals you hope to achieve within the next year?

    I’d like to get my yarn and fiber into more retail stores this year as well as do more shows.

    What inspires you to be crafty?

    I love seeing what other people make and just checking Etsy’s homepage or some of my favorite Etsy stores for inspiration from time to time.

    What is your best quality when it comes to your crafts?

    I try to be as genuine as possible and create the best quality product that I can. I don’t cut corners or use materials that aren’t amazing. I can be pretty self critical but I really want people to LOVE what they buy from me.

    If you could have one thing to help your store what would it be?

    A little packing/shipping elf to come and take care of orders would be nice!