Today’s interview is with Ana Campos of Toil and Trouble who does a bit of everything yarny! She dyes beautiful yarn, writes patterns that show off hand dyed yarn, and sells hands knits… Despite being so busy, Ana took the time to answer a few of my questions.
What’s your favorite drink to have by your side while you’re crafting?
In the winter, I love warm apple cider. My husband and I bought handmade mugs at a country fair a few years ago, and it’s become a winter tradition. In the summer, probably a pomegranate lemonade.
Do you like to have some background entertainment while you’re working? A favorite movie or maybe an audio book?
When I’m dyeing yarn, there’s a lot of running around so I don’t manage to pay attention to anything. But when I’m knitting, I love to watch movies and some TV shows. If I could have endless episodes of Game of Thrones and Doctor Who, that would be amazing.
What is an average day in your life like?
This is such a hard question to answer! I thought about this a lot, and I don’t think there is such a thing as a typical day. I am juggling many different things, and the one requiring the most attention on any given day is always changing. Some days I have a lot of yarn to dye. Other days I need a break from the heavy lifting and focus on the knitting… I’m making more of an effort lately to make sure I’m not working 24-7, so I also sneak in rock-climbing dates with Nate and some non-business crafting.
What’s your creative process when you’re dyeing yarn?
It’s a pretty disorganized process! A lot of ideas happen while I’m falling asleep, so I end up sending myself cryptic emails to read the next day. Sometimes I’ll get a story stuck in my head, and then I’ll obsess over it until I come up with a color combination that feels right. Other times, the color comes first. If I’m feeling stuck, I start mixing dyes and experimenting with combinations on the spot. Then I’ll go through a process of trying to figure out a matching name for the new colorway. “What story does this yarn look like?” is a question my husband hears a lot.
Of all of your yarns, do you have a particular favorite? What makes it special?
I love Starry Starry Night and Sun Also Rises. I love Sun Also Rises for the bold color combination, and I knit it into gloves that make me feel really happy when it’s cold. Starry Starry Night is a favorite because I love Van Gogh, I love Doctor Who, and I think Vincent and the Doctor is one of the best episodes of Doctor Who ever.
What is your go-to source for inspiration?
Stories! I look through my bookshelves, re-read favorite myths, and learn about new-to-me myths.
If you had the time and resources to pick up a new craft, what would you try?
If I had endless time and money, I would try everything! I’ve always wanted to try glass blowing and furniture making. I tried blacksmithing, but I learned I’m not built for it. My wrists were throbbing the next day! I’d also spend more time on my sewing, try letterpress, and learn ceramics.
What have you been working on lately?
This is the time of year where I start adding new stuff to my shop on a regular basis! I’m testing out new knitwear designs, and plotting a few new colorways for the fall. I also started teaching classes this summer, so I’m working on developing a few classes, ranging from beginning knitting to cabled designs to basic wire knitting.
Thank you for having me on your blog!