The time has come, it's time for an interview with the owner, Ashleigh! Let's see where it all started, what her favorite non yarn item in the Sewrella Market is, and maybe a preview of a collection to come!
take us back to the beginning, what made you want to start dyeing yarn?
I started knitting and crocheting around when my great grandmother was passing away in the hospital in 2014. She was a very crafty lady and had been her whole life. She sewed wedding dresses and would always change up the crafts she was doing to try something new. When she was sick, I wanted to figure out a way to be closer to her so I went to the craft store and wandered around. As a broke college student I couldn't afford all of the things needed for sewing so I grabbed the next best thing, yarn. Even though my great grandmother never knit or crocheted, her mother did so we always those family heirlooms around the house that she made. Fast forward a couple of years to when I was pregnant with my first son Parker, I wanted to crochet and knit a lot of things for him. While I was on an extended maternity leave, I decided to start a blog to document all of the things that I made for him. I made a little baby hat that I called the “Parker Baby Hat” - I designed it because all of the baby hat patterns that I saw online were girly and I wanted something simpler. That took off on Pinterest and Google very quickly and got me noticed by a few big yarn brands. Once I figured out that I could support my family and make some money blogging, I just never looked back. I told myself if I never made any money blogging or didn’t enjoy it anymore, I would go back to a “real world” job. But that was over 6 years ago and here we are! After, the blog became really busy and a lot of work - I was working with big yarn companies and box stores, I was getting burnt out with designing things and it wasn’t my hobby anymore. I needed a hobby again and I wanted something in fiber arts because that’s what I was passionate about so I just watched a bunch of YouTube videos and researching and tried out dying some yarn. I shared it in my stories and a lot of people were interested in buying that yarn! Since I could dye yarn a lot faster than I could use it, I decided to put some up for sale to get rid of the inventory couldn't make use of. All of that led to where we are today!
what does your typical day look like?
I usually get up around 6:30/7 if the kids don’t get me up any sooner. I start by getting Parker ready for school, then get the twins up and get their breakfast going. Then it’s time for my FIRST cup of coffee for the day, it’s never my last! I then get myself ready to go for the day. Usually that means curling my hair because I feel so much more put together and ready for anything when I spend 5 minutes on myself. We then get Parker to school then head to the office by 9/9:30. By now I usually have had a second cup of coffee. When I first get to the office, I check in with the team to see what they need from me, then chat with Brooke to check in on the latest collection and where we’re at with that. I then check in with CJ to see where we are for content. We've been working on a more structured calendar for content lately so we check in daily about that so if we need to shoot anything we can get that while the lighting is good and out of the way. Then I check in emails and get a few administrative things out of the way. I’ll check in with Brea, who is our customer service lead first thing to see if there’s anything from the previous day that needs catching up. If there’s any outstanding orders that I can print shipping labels for and ready for the team.
Then I start tackling whatever is on my calendar. So all of that gets done before I get to “active” working tasks. So what those calendar tasks might look like are mood boarding for a collection that is currently in development. Brooke and I work on development together and I’m responsible for the creative direction and jumping off point so I pull all of the creative elements, color palettes, and make some creative decisions for the vision of the color way. If all of that is taken care of I'll check in with Abby at some point in the morning and see if she needs anything from me like photos for the blog or outreach with pattern designers or other collaborators. Usually at some point depending on where we are during the week, I’ll check in with Kelsey for her illustration components we need for the week. Whether that’s packaging illustrations or blog/content.
Now, I’m researching for the collection that we are in the phase of producing. Researching colorways, fragrance inspiration, shopping for samples and planning the photography content and what props we will need for that. It’s a lot of researching and finding little elements to put together a cohesive collection. We’re knee deep in researching and gathering things right now. As well as getting everything together to shoot for our summer tonals soon.
I’m usually out of here around 5 depending on shooting products or if we have to finish up something. Then I get home and spend the rest of the night with the kids and get them through to bed time. Sometimes I’ll hop on the treadmill for a walk but in the evenings I’ll pick up a project that I’m working on, maybe a glass of wine or a cup of tea and relax. I try really hard not to work during those hours because I spent the first 5 years as a business owner working after the kids went to bed and it’s definitely a different schedule that I don’t miss. I've been trying really hard since we’ve had an office to delegate so I don’t spend those evenings working but every once in a while I’ll have to finish up those calendar tasks.
what is your vision for the future of Sewrella Yarn?
My biggest hope is that it can be a lifelong career for me. It’s a very small niche and a very particular thing that we do. Being an independent yarn dyer of high quality luxury yarn is even smaller. I feel like I have the creative drive to do this forever, I never feel like I'll run out of ideas or feel uninspired in this tiny niche. I just really hope that I get to do this forever and create all of the things that I want to try!
favorite Sewrella yarn base?
Classic DK. I really like the versatility of it, the feel and the drape of it worked up. I love it in crochet and knit. I have never used it and thought “ugh I don’t want to use this”. It’s such a great workhorse yarn and that’s probably why it’s our most popular. I feel like it’s a great middle ground for working up quickly and still having really nice drape and amazing stitch definition. It’s a really easy, user-friendly yarn.
Probably knitflix. I know we just launched it but I really think it’s my favorite. I really pushed myself with storytelling in this collection more than I ever had before. I thought about the story I would tell with each colorway before we even dyed it and I created very extensive mood boards for each before we dyed them. Previously, and I feel like a lot of people do it this way, I just dyed something that looked pretty and there’s definitely something to be said about that. But with the knitflix collection I tried to expand my horizons creatively. To dye something with more substance in terms of storytelling - putting different colors together, arranging color, and dye method in a very intentional way.
what's your favorite non yarn item in the Sewrella market?
Probably tea because I drink it everyday, it's the item that I use the most often. I don't think I’ll ever stop carrying tea because at this point it just goes hand in hand with yarn for me. Like when I sit down to crochet or knit there is always tea there. I just also love the diversity of the kinds of tea that you can have. I really like that there’s something for everyone and it never gets boring!
But I also really love our wool wash especially with the new recipe. I’ve used a lot of different wool washes and did a lot of market research and comparison tests in the studio when redeveloping the recipe. I personally believe it’s the best wool wash in the market.
what is one thing that you can't wait for this year for Sewrella Yarn?
We’re launching a new product in a few weeks and it’s a product I've been wanting to launch for a really long time so I’m really excited about that. There’s also a lot of really big projects coming down the pipeline that we’ve been working on for a long time - product based and non product based.
I think this year is probably going to be the biggest year that we’ve had in terms of products launching. So I’m really excited to see the reception of all of that and be able to finally show these things that we've been working on for so long because I am really excited and proud of them.
one color you can't wait to create?
There's a colorway that should be coming up in our May collection that I just created the mood board for that I’m really excited about. It’s going to be inspired by my favorite drink that’s not tea. So if that gives you any indication of what that colorway will be - I'm really excited to see that one come together. I think it will be a really really pretty one for all kinds of projects but especially for a certain project that I have in mind.
what collection are you most excited for this year?
We have a collection coming up this fall that’s our big collaborative project for the year where we’re collaborating with one of my close friends. We’re going to be doing some travel for it and working together with one of my favorites to create hopefully a really fun and cool collection. So definitely stay tuned for that and look out for that in August!