Friday, December 7, 2012

An Interview with...Tracey Schuh

Tracey and Jim of Interlacements

Once a week I post interviews with interesting people about their insights on their experience of working in the Knitting industry.  I’ve noticed that every one of these individuals makes their living in a slightly different manner bringing their own unique presence to the Knitting world. Tracey is an avid hand dyer and the owner of Interlacements Yarns.

You can find Tracey here. ETA: all links have been removed as a number of readers were getting virus warnings when clicking on the links. I've notified Tracey about this problem.

Where do you find inspiration for your colourways?
Everywhere! I live in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, so we have a lot of colorways that I've pulled from nature, or the surroundings I've seen while traveling. Sometimes, it's just a simple idea of what colors I like with others.

What is your favourite dyeing technique?
Painting dye on skeins or fibers.

How do you choose the fibres that you work with?
I love natural fibers, and use them where and when I can, but my cottons and rayons are the best sellers, as they are more versatile to most of our customer base.

How did you determine what weights of yarn you stock?
I listen to my reps and customers' requests.

You can buy this yarn here.

How do you come up with names for your yarn?
We just brainstorm. Sometimes it's whimsical or fun, some of my yarns came named, and I've changed a few.

Could you give us an idea of how long the process is to dye a batch of yarn and prepare it for sale?
If all conditions are in our favor it usually takes a week from start to out the door. We are small, and I like the control of  doing each one specially, so not to get to be a machine.

Do you look at other dyers' work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their yarns?
Sure, I look, but I tend to like what I do better!

Are you a knitter as well?
Yes, and also I spin, weave, and love all arts mediums. I've done some cement work, some's all fun.

You can buy this yarn here.

Did you do a formal business plan?
Oh yes!

Do you have a mentor?
Yes, I bought my business from Judy Ditmore, who was my friend for a long time, and I learned a lot from her. She unfortunately passed away from cancer.

Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
No, I like to do my own creating!

What impact has the Internet had on your business?
I love it; we can share pictures, ideas, and more, and it makes ordering so much easier.

You can buy this yarn here.

How do you maintain your life/work balance?
Life? What's that? No seriously, it's hard, because I run my business from my property, so it's always here. I try to make evenings just home stuff, and not work.

How do you deal with criticism?
I listen, then decide if I need to change something or not.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
Six months.

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in hand dyeing yarns?
Try to do your own thing, and not copy someone else's ideas and work.

You can buy this yarn here.

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