Meet the Maker: Ash of Vessel Yarn Co
Meet the Maker is an ongoing series in which I introduce you to some of my favorite indie makers -- or rather, let them introduce themselves! Today I'd like you to meet Ash Christine of Vessel Yarn Co. I met Ash via Instagram early in my designing journey, and we've kept in touch since then. When she told me she was adding a MCN base to her line, I was thrilled we could work together on a pattern! We collaborated on the Bubblish Shawl.
Without further ado...here's Ash!
Introduce us to your business!
Hi, I’m Ash Christine. I first started dyeing yarn in October of 2016 as a fun way to let some of my creativity out. I quickly realized that dyeing yarn was more of a passion than a creative hobby. So, in May of 2017, I launched my hand-dyed yarn company: Vessel Yarn Co.
It took me a long time to decide on the name for the shop -- I went through so many changes! The final name didn’t come to me immediately but it was one of those moments where a light just went off as soon as I thought of it.
The name I chose is based off a story I read as a child. It was a story set in a small village, and it talked of magical beings that looked to seek justice on behalf of the innocent. These creatures were seen as protectors and would use the strongest of the villagers as their vessels in order to set things right again. Any injustices or terrible tragedies were made right by these protectors. They sought nothing in return -- only existing to right the wrongs that were made in the village.
There was something so fascinating about the story to me and I’d completely forgotten all about it. Until I was trying to decide on the name and it came to me again, like a flash of brilliance. I’ve since lost the story book it was in and I can’t find any mention of it online anywhere -- but I know I’ll always remember it and it’ll live on in my business!
What's one of your favorite aspects of your business?
What I love most about my job as a yarn dyer is getting the chance to explore new colorways and colorway combinations that I might not have thought of before. When I first started knitting, I wanted to add color to everything. Plain scarves were knit with stripes and a simple hat was adorned with a colorful pom-pom.
Playing with color is key to yarn dyeing and it’s when I feel the happiest -- I guess I grew up and traded my coloring books and crayons for yarn and dye!
What do you find most challenging about dyeing?
Honestly, the space and time. Once I’m set up to dye, I can usually get a lot done in one go. But my current dyeing situation is out of my home kitchen -- meaning I have to set up and take down all of my dyeing supplies every time I have a dye session. It can get frustrating sometimes, but the end result is always worth it to me. And like they say -- no pain, no gain!
When you find yourself in a creative slump, how do you get through it?
Oh jeez…that’s quite the question to unpack here. So, confession time: I have so many creative pursuits, but I tend to deal with slumps in each of them pretty much the same way. I’m queen of having multiple projects on the go no matter what outlet I’m pursuing at the moment.
If I’m stuck with a certain dye job, I’ll move on to a different formula I’m working on and give that a try while the other one sits on the back burner. I do the same thing with my knitting and writing -- take a break from one project and move on to the other. It’s almost like hitting a refresh button. It’s incredibly rejuvenating to see progress being made on something else when I’m feeling stuck. It makes returning to that difficult project so much easier.
What advice would you give to someone who also wants to sell their handmade items?
Study what other makers in your line of products are doing -- not what kind of products but everything else. How do they handle their social media? What do their listing photos look like? How are they interacting with customers? What kind of sales or deals do they run?
You can create anything you want to and find a niche of customers that want that thing -- you just have to know how to market yourself and your business right.
How do you unwind from your work?
I love working, honestly. First and foremost, I love what I do -- I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t. But everybody loves their down time and I’m no different!
I spend my down-time writing, knitting on non-work-related projects, and spending time with my family. Of course, coffee is involved during all of those activities!
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
To those close to me, this is no secret, but singing is second nature to me. Music means so much to me - it’s such a big part of my life -- and I plan on recording some of my own one day!
If you were a superhero, what would you want your superpower be?
The power to wind yarn from hanks to cakes just by looking at them, haha! I think as far as traditional super powers go, I’d love to be able to fly!
Lighting round! Share some favorites with us:
Book or show? My favorite book is The Only Alien On The Planet by Kristen D. Randle - though I’m almost finished with a fantastic one called We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson… I’m completely hooked on it!!
Podcast (knitting or otherwise)? My favorite knitting podcast is The Knitting Expat Podcast with the lovely Mina Philipp -- she inspires me so much! Non-knitting fav podcast is Welcome To Nightvale -- I’m severely behind but I love it so much.
Dish or cuisine? I’m a sucker for a good lasagna!
Musician? This is so tough for me! Like I said earlier, music is such a big part of who I am. My favorite is probably The Wonder Years -- they formed their band in 2005 so I’ve practically grown up on their music!
Fellow maker? A good friend of mine is actually one of my favorites. Kelli Small of theredpansy -- she designs patterns, dyes yarn, and has recently launched her first pin! Everything she puts out there is just stunning and if I could give a shout-out to anyone, it’d be her! She’s one of those people that I get super excited about her success because the work she puts in behind the scenes is so dedicated and incredible.
And of course…what’s on your needles right now?
As of right now, the WIP pile is a little high! I’ve got a design sweater on the go (my first!!), my Clark socks (pattern by Jaclyn Salem), a Reyna shawl (pattern by Noora Laivola), a pair of mitts for charity, and a few blanket projects. What can I say -- I like options in my knitting!