Whole 9 Yarns: Amor Esperanza

Even though it was a couple of years ago when we first met Amor, we still remember seeing her Crave Yarn booth from across the aisle of a crowded yarn fest. There, in the midst of yarn-hungry knitters, was the most zen-like booth, filled with sleek, beautifully dyed yarn. Beyond the rich, single-hue colorways, was fiber that was ridiculously soft and with a luxurious sheen. It wouldn’t be until just recently (when we finally made a project collaboration happen! Woohoo!) that we would understand the thoughtfulness and meticulous care behind the brand.

Over the past couple months of planning, test knitting, “ooohing” and “ahhing” over colorways, and smooshing yarn against our face (seriously, try it with your skein of Linea if you haven’t already), we have enjoyed getting to know Amor and her yarn. Both are confident, steadfast, and full of inspiration. If you’ve ever knitted with a skein of Crave, you know it will leave you wanting more. So here’s more about the woman behind the yarn from our Whole 9 Yarns Q+A series:

1. How long have you been knitting?

Well, I had a few false starts when I was in my early twenties. I remember I started a scarf, that no doubt would have been garter since the knit stitch was all I could imagine at the time, but the strands running between stitches (the ones we pick up to m1) were unbelievably long and baggy. I had no idea what was going on. I was confounded and demoralized. Needless to say I didn’t finish that scarf. And I still don’t know what the *bleep* I had done to create such ridiculous stitches…very twilight zone-esque. In graduate school I gave it another try, as I was in serious need of a good earnest procrastination skill. And by then there was a good momentum of youtube tutorial videos out so I managed to subvert the trickster spirits that had doomed my garter stitch scarf some years before 🙂

2. Who taught you how to knit?

Well, I guess I taught myself how to knit, but thats kind of a boring story. So I’ll tell you who taught me how to appreciate the magic of pretty string and loops. My grandmother taught me to crochet as we sat beside each other on a big hope chest in her storage shed. I think I must have been 5 years old at the time. She taught be how to make circles, and by the end of that afternoon I had a little pile of colorful soft dots that were lovingly guided by my beautiful grandmother. My mom and I and my grandmother lived together throughout my childhood, so she was really as much a mom to me as my Mom was. I was very lucky. She was amazing and absolutely set my fate in motion on that warm summer afternoon.  Of course, my fate was resting at the train station for a good long while as I pursued other paths, but it was right there waiting for me when I followed the yarn strands back to my crochet hook and then knitting needles in my late twenties.

3. What is currently on your needles? 

Oi! That’s a question…okay, deep breathe: 1) a revised version of my first shawl design, “Wayland”, which I am reworking to rerelease it in the upcoming months; 2) a new shawl design that makes me giddy, which will hopefully be ready for testing in June; 3)  Ambah O’brien’s “Aperture,” which I love; 4) Melanie Berg’s “Whiskyfied;” the texture on this baby is so very satisfying; 5) and the lovely Isan Socks by PostStitch just got cast on a few days ago. Every stitch closer to the toe makes my heart smile 🙂

4. Where is the strangest place you have ever knitted?

Okay, so I have a penchant for relentless enthusiasm when I’m really hooked on a project or there’s a blossoming idea swimming around in my head, which makes me quite susceptible to insomnia. And I travel a lot and hence patron a lot of hotels. Well, when you are sharing a hotel room, you are bubbling with insomnia-tic enthusiasm and it’s 3am…you find yourself shuffling in your cozy hand knit bed socks to the restroom so you can knit with impunity and not wake anyone.  And when you get tired of sitting or your legs fall asleep, well heck, just stretch out and knit in the tub…it’s not so bad 😉

5. Where is your favorite place to knit?

My Bed! There is something so decadent about sitting on my bed in the middle of the day with a cup of tea and my notions spread across a bed tray. It really is a sweet treat, and if the sand fairies move me I just take a little cat nap with my lovely cakes of yarn to accompany me. Did I mention the dark chocolate….?

6. What is your favorite thing in your notions bag?

Really great scissors. Between skeining and tying off yarn, assembling color cards, stringing tags, weaving in project ends, etc., I use scissors a lot. And just as there is nothing worse than a dull pair of scissors, there is also nothing better than a super sharp and shiny pair of scissors at my fingertips. I actually just received a pair of stainless steel barber’s scissors as a gift from my mom. Every snip is euphoric! Exaggeration? I think not! Even the sound of those sharp little angels makes my heart skip a beat.︎

Linea - a superwash merino and cashmere, fingering weight yarn - from Crave Yarn.

7. What do you do when you’re not knitting?

Well, even when I’m not knitting I probably have my hands on yarn or engaged in the service of yarn. I do love to read, but find I have so little time for that these days, so I listen to a lot of audio books (The Night Circus & The Golem and the Jinni are both deliciously narrated, your welcome) Beyond that I am very lucky that the hobbies I am most passionate about are the ones I get to immerse myself in everyday with Crave Yarn. And because I work from home I also get to do it all in the company of the loves of my life, my wonderful husband and amazing daughters. I am grateful to no end for these lovely circumstances…even when I have to pull all nighters getting ready for a show…cause even that is a soft and colorful burden.

8. What is on your knitting bucket list?

Full size blankets for my daughters. My eldest is going into her third year in college next Fall and I still haven’t finished the blanket I intended to deliver when I dropped her off her freshman year…so it may end up being a really awesome graduation present. My youngest is 13, so I have time on that one…especially if the tradition is for graduation blankets. There just seems to be no time for such large projects. I may have to take a sabbatical for the strict purpose of blanket knitting…perhaps in an oceanfront cottage in Ireland (hint hint to the make-my-dreams-come-true fairies).

9. Who is your favorite knitting buddy?

My husband. He doesn’t knit, but we have the best conversations, and laugh and cry together at the best movies, and have the best roadtrips with one another all while I knit row after row with my heart aglow.  I know its sappy, but I’m not afraid of sappy…just ask my daughters who get their own hefty doses of my sap 🙂

Oh, and at least once a month I try to spirit away for a weekend with my Mom and those weekends always feed my soul immensely. She actually just relearned how to knit after about a 40 year interim, Yay Mom!!! But she’s a silversmith and very talented jewelry designer so it’s always great to sit with her at the kitchen table with our tools of each trade spread out in front of us as we both indulge in our arts. She’s pretty Fantastic!

I am also incredibly lucky to have two really great knitting friends that are always there for me, Alyssa︎ and Gretchen︎…better friends I could not find and both with enough knitting talent to make your head spin!

Learn more about Crave Yarn and pick up a skein (or 10) at www.craveyarn.com.

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