There are many enterprising yarncentric folks out there, creating wonderful lives for themselves by building neat yarn oriented businesses on the net. Jennifer Tan of ‘Gosh Yarn It’ is one of those nifty yarntrepreneurs.
I ‘met’ Jennifer a year or so ago when she commissioned me to make her daughter a one of a kind spool knitter and then asked me to design and make some 2 peg spool knitters for ‘Gosh Yarn It’. It’s been fun to see Jennifer growing her business and when she got in touch with me again a couple of weeks back, I asked her if we do do a profile of her and ‘Gosh Yarn It’ for Hankering for Yarn.
So, here we have it: Jennifer Tan and ‘Gosh Yarn It’:
1. How did you come to create ‘Gosh Yarn It.’?
I sold my own crocheted creations for years to private clients, for weddings, and at shows. As I began to teach more, I needed quality tools for my students. Everyone wanted a beautiful, useful tote and case, too! I began selling some tools and totes as a designer, and then expanded into a full online shop. I wanted to support artisans and purchase from them in stead of from larger companies as much as possible, offering products that were different from what you might find in a local yarn shop. My father-in-law came up with the name! I then opened up Etsy shops to sell my own creations and patterns. I also sell my patterns on Ravelry.com (my ID is “gyi”).
2. Do you have a favorite product or aspect of all that you do and make with and for ‘Gosh Yarn It’?
I really love Tunisian crochet hooks and drop spindles. Both fiber arts are my favorite, and I truly enjoy using and selling beautiful tools.
Balancing the business and the creatives ends…always a challenge!
Teaching is the most rewarding part of what I do. There’s nothing better than seeing someone leave a workshop with a new fiber arts skill. Some people email me pictures of their creations later, and some go on to teach themselves. I love it!
I have been designing and crafting fiber arts for around 17 years professionally.
6. What triggers your creativity? What is most inspiring to you?
Being surrounded by lovely yarns, colorful fibers, and beautiful tools always makes me want to try something new!
7. Are the fiber arts your main focus?
In my life, fiber arts is a main focus. I also homeschool my three children, teach university classes, do custom aromatherapy blending, officiate weddings, perform and teach flute, and teach a variety of holistic pregnancy/baby courses, such as prenatal yoga.
8. What is your favorite way of getting your work out into the world?
Word of mouth! Between Ravelry, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, people are connecting and communicating more than ever. Being referred by someone is always better than paying for advertising.
9. Does where you live influence your work in any way?
Absolutely! I live in Northern California which is full of fiber artists. Being near guilds and wonderful yarn shops is a bonus! I am inspired daily by the incredible beauty that surrounds my home…a creek, garden, trees. There’s nothing better than hanging freshly dyed and spun yarns outside near the avocado tree, artichokes, and apple tree!
10. Where can people buy your work?
Fiber arts tools, totes, patterns, books and accessories: www.goshyarnit.com My crocheted/knitted/handspun items and aromatherapy: www.tlwoldc.etsy.com My naturally dyed fibers/yarns/silks and homeschooling supplies: www.syrendell.etsy.com
11. Do you maintain a blog or website? If so, what are their urls?
My blogs: Gosh Yarn It! www.goshyarnit.blogspot.com Syrendell www.syrendell.blogspot.com
12. Do you have a crafting or arts community that influences you and is important to you? (online or ‘real life’). Is it important to you to be in touch with your peers?
Although I belong to a variety of guilds and groups, my favorite arts group that I connect with is the Griffin Dyeworks Dye & Fiber Retreat group. I attend their annual retreat and get to learn about natural dyeing, as well as teach classes, and learn everything from sprang, to lucet, to kumihimo! It’s the nicest group of people, and we share so much with each other. www.griffindyeworks.com
13. Do you have an all time favorite piece that you designed?
One of my first crazy-handspun yarns (I learned how to card a crazy batt and make the yarn at Camp Plucky Fluff www.pluckyfluff.com) was so unique, but also didn’t have a lot of yards. So, I Tunisian-crocheted it with a size U hook into a scarf! I never wear it, but have it on display at home. It’s precious. It got featured for a couple of seconds on the DIY Network’s Uncommon Threads when I appeared on the show.
14. Is there a project or product that has ever flumoxed you and just refused to work out?
Still flumoxed by knitting socks…I think it’s just a mental block! It’s my goal to make my children all socks, so it will be a fun challenge to take on.
15. Is there anything that I have missed that you would like to share with the readers of Hankering for Yarn?
We are offering free shipping on all US orders during August when you use coupon code AUGUST during checkout at www.goshyarnit.com. Lots of items on sale!