|My yarn wall and two awesome cats!|
I knew that I wanted Chandi to be my first interview because spending time reading her blog and crocheting with her yarn makes me so happy, and I felt that she is truly inspiring in so many ways. Luckily, she was very excited when I asked her if I could interview her. I hope that you will fall in as much love with her as I did!
|Chandi's yarn studio|
Glimmerwood: I've noticed that you seem to share a lot of secrets to your success. Your blog on how to grow your Facebook following was an open book. Why do you choose to share these details?
Chandi: I choose to share such things because if I can help another to find success, then I've done far more in the world than make a buck. In a previous business I operated, I was very introverted and closed off from my customers and "competitors." For Expression Fiber Arts, I am taking a newer and better approach. We are all humans. We all want to be happy, have love in our lives and be able to enjoy the good things of life. If I can share some info that will help another to do and have these things more easily, then I will. I am not into just making money and beating out the competition. That is a yucky feeling and a sour way to do business. I am of the belief that the Universe provides for us all in abundance if we allow it. I don't feel that if someone selling a similar product to mine makes money that I have lost out. Quite the contrary... it makes my heart rejoice that they are becoming successful!! Anything I can do to help others, I want to do so. I haven't always been this way, but I don't feel there is any point in remaining closed off or keeping secrets. This is LIFE! We're all in it together and we all need each other.
GW: I think that is such a fascinating idea, I read a book recently (blanking on the title right now) but it mentioned saying something about not hoarding ideas, to tell people because it forces you to come up with new ones again and again. Do you agree with that idea? Or do you have tons of secrets just awaiting us eager customers?
Chandi: Hmmm... Very interesting question! I usually just post things as I think of them. And if I ever get writer's block, I just ask my Higher Source to help me and reveal what I should share and write. Before writing each of my posts, newsletters, etc, I ask that 1. I connect with others 2. I bring positive inspiration and joy to others' lives 3. I entertain them in some way, even if just providing a beautiful picture to brighten their day.
Now that I think about it, though, I do have a lot of ideas, both about running a business and creating a successful happy life... Someday I hope to start a blog and company based on those ideas, so we shall see! I still will infuse them into my current business, though!
GW: I would definitely read that! Your Facebook page is really a huge inspiration to the point where I suggest it to friends that don't crochet or knit. Where do you get your inspiration?
Chandi: Thank you! I started my business with the intent to inspire others to create more freely and boldly, so to know my Facebook page inspires you really brightens my day. I take inspiration from everything... I get a lot of ideas from nature. I will see a sunset or a rock nestled in the snow or a red bird or a spruce tree and think... "I need to turn that into a yarn colorway!"
GW: It is definitely clear you draw inspiration for colorways from everything! Do you have a favorite colorway?
Chandi: I do draw inspiration for my colorways from many different things. Sometimes a photo or an object will just pop out and I just know... It wants to be a yarn colorway. So I oblige and make it happen. I'm not sure if I have a favorite colorway, as they are all so unique... but I am partial to purples and grays.
GW: I remember thinking Indian Corn was so unique, and I think I bought it because it was limited edition and had a project in mind. I did have a blast with it, but it isn't my favorite colorway of yours (There are like six tied for first place!) so I was surprised when I saw that it was a number one seller - Were there any colorways that have surprised you in their success?
Chandi: Oh, for sure the Indian Corn surprised me! I honestly thought it wasn't super pretty at first and then when I introduced it, it just flew off the shelves. I could barely keep it in stock! You just never know what's going to sell and what won't. That's the part I love... introducing a new shade and then... waiting. Waiting to see what people think, say... do they purchase it? Are they inspired by it? It's always a delicious surprise!
GW: On Facebook you keep people engaged with different questions; one of my favorites is when you ask for suggestions for a colorway. Have there been any ridiculous suggestions that still have you giggling?
Chandi: Yes, I once asked for color name suggestions and was shocked at the huge response! Ever since, I have enjoyed asking for suggestions and reading all the answers. There have been some doozies for sure!! I vaguely remember one about a guinea pig placenta... or something. HA HA! It had me laughing!
GW: So when did you decide that you wanted to dye yarn and how did you learn?
Chandi: I decided to start dabbling in yarn and wool dyeing a few years ago. At that time, I was a pretty miserable little duck, with few joys in life. My knitting, crocheting and spinning kept me happy during those dark times. One day, after knitting for 10 hours straight, my wrists gave out on me. They were burning with icy hot fire and I could barely move them. For weeks, I couldn't knit or crochet and could barely type on the computer or do other tasks... From that time on, I have had to be careful and not over-tax my wrists. But I decided I wanted to take up yarn and wool dyeing at that time to still be enjoying the fiber arts, without having it be so rough on my wrists. I started out just doing it for myself as I didn't intend on ever having a yarn business... but it's funny how life works out and now here I am, dyeing and selling yarn and roving! I was self-taught, via YouTube and books and lots of experimentation! I loved the days of using Kool-aid and Wilton cake dyes! Now I stick to professional wash-fast and light-fast dyes.
|This colorway was a funny story on Chandi's blog!|
GW: Is there anything that has really challenged you in dyeing? Are there any inspirations that are just not translating well?
Chandi: Dyeing presents many challenges. At first, I was shocked at how difficult it was to reproduce a color exactly. But time and trial helped significantly and it's not really an issue anymore. Dye definitely has a mind of its own!
GW: Are there any particular YouTube videos or books you would recommend for the novice dyer?
Chandi: I learned to knit, dye and spin yarn via YouTube, and I'd highly recommend it! I honestly don't remember any specific videos as it's been years since I looked at them. (Another dream of mine is to create my own YouTube channel showing how to do various things, including dyeing, spinning, knitting, crocheting, etc, while being inspirational, uplifting and entertaining). I have read many books on these subjects as well... I recommend The Intentional Spinner by Judith MacKenzie McCuin and also Hand-Dyeing Yarn and Fleece by Gail Callahan.
GW: What made you decide to make it a business?
Chandi: I got divorced 2.5 years ago. I rested for about a year, unsure of what to do with my life. I was reading a book one day, in the summer of 2011, (I believe it was the Millionaire Mindset by T. Harv Eker) which got me to thinking about what I would do if money were no object. And I knew right away. I wanted a state-of-the-art yarn dyeing studio. I still have the ideal studio in my head, of stainless steel sinks, enormous windows, located in a warm, tropical place... But I'm perfectly content now to be working and living in the same space, with a work shop separate from the house, here in Alaska. It's an adventure for sure!
GW: Do you prefer knitting or crocheting?
Chandi: I love both knitting and crocheting equally. Knitting takes longer for me and is a greater challenge as it was my "second language." After years of knitting it still feels a little foreign to me. But I love the fabrics you can create with knitting... I prefer my mittens and socks and sweaters be knitted. Crocheting is like breathing to me... I've done it for so long, I don't even have to look at what I'm doing and I often create patterns as I go. It's easy and enjoyable and creates a thicker, slightly stiffer fabric, depending upon what size of yarn I use, as well as hook size, etc. I usually like to crochet hats and cowls. As for scarves or shawls, I have knitted and crocheted them and love both methods!
|The Gail Shawl Chandi knitted|
GW: I just finished crocheting a sweater that was about 30 hours of work, but the easiest pattern ever. What was the most involved project you have ever tackled?
Chandi: Oh, 30 hours! Congrats on finishing that! I don't have much patience really, when it comes to knitting and crocheting. This is the reason I mainly create accessories. It took me 5 weeks one time to make a sweater, but it was fairly easy going. Probably the most difficult project I've ever created was the knitted Gail shawl on Ravelry... it requires constant reading of a chart, which I have decided I don't care for. But the end result was stunning!
GW: Do you often write patterns? Where can we find them?
Chandi: I have written a few patterns, available on my blog: http://blog.expressionfiberarts.com
Chandi: Yes, I adore spinning! I have a beautiful double treadle 28" Lendrum Saxony which I guard with my life. When I moved up to Alaska from Arkansas in the dead of winter, I had my brother and nephew carry all the pieces into the hotel room each night so it wouldn't get cold. These babies are hard to come by, but if you can get one, they are an absolute DREAM to spin on. I highly recommend spinning in general as a meditative, relaxing art form... and wheel spinning in particular is wonderful for those of us wanting efficiency. I have tried using a drop spindle, but it was a little too slow for my preferences. Maybe someday I'll try again...
GW: I recently got a drop spindle and it definitely has a learning curve! I'd love to try a wheel. Have you ever sold your hand spun yarn? (hint... hint)
Chandi: I so highly love and recommend spinning! I have not sold my hand-spun yarn due to the time it takes to create. I can have up to 10 or 12 hours in a small 4 oz skein of yarn. To sell it would be like selling my child. Just can't do it. Perhaps someday if I get faster, I'll list it for sale!
Chandi: I have tried a gazillion crafts! Basket weaving, candle making, soap making, painting, drawing, ceramics, polymer clay, you name it. Now I mainly stick to the fiber arts as they are my true passion. I love being surrounded by color and being able to create beautiful things for those I love.
GW: Any final thoughts?
Chandi: I appreciate you choosing me to interview! What an honor! I truly hope my business and products help to inspire others to live the life of their dreams! Anything is possible if we believe in ourselves!!