This month I’m introducing you to Jennie Powell, the owner and dyer of Owl About Yarn.
These monthly features of other creative businesses are a way for all of us to get to know these wonderful businesses; it has been a long-time interest of mine to explore how other creative people make their way as professionals.
In her own words: “I’m Jennie Powell and I’m an indie dyer and geeky sewist living in Cardiff, Wales, UK. I’ve had my own business Owl About Yarn for nearly two and and half years now although I’ve been dyeing yarn for nearly seven years.”
I can’t wait to learn more.
Introducing Jennie Powell, Indie Yarn and Fiber Dyer
Q: Jennie Powell, welcome! I always wonder how each Maker/Creative I talk to gets the support they need to embark on these adventurous businesses. So who has been instrumental in your creative business, Owl About Yarn?
A: There are two people who spring to mind as having been influential and really helpful to me as a businesswoman. Firstly, Sara Millis of Sara’s Texture Crafts was and is very inspiring to me. She is an indie dyer and pattern designer of whom I have been aware for many years, and there is always something in her shop that I want for myself! Before I even applied to vend at any craft shows she was very encouraging and supportive with good advice for me. That advice and friendly support is ongoing to this day and I’m proud to be able to count her as a yarny friend!
Secondly, Tara Swiger of www.taraswiger.com has been key to the organisation and confidence I have in my business life. I discovered her on Periscope about a year ago, and since then every time I watch her videos or read a blog post it is as if she is speaking directly to me! I was lucky enough last November to be able to take classes with her in person, and I got so much out of those sessions that I still have notes and ideas to finish applying to my business!
I’m constantly struck by how generous others are in helping each of us on our way and how often finding that special person is a key. I’m part of the Starship and Tara is a great spirt for guiding creatives!
Q: So what’s your thing? I should say things–and tell me why they are!
A: I sew project bags and make stitch markers, but my main love is my dyeing. There is something magical about starting out with a plain, undyed skein of yarn or braid of fibre and adding colour in an individual way. I think most dyers have a style of dyeing and so the way I apply dye to yarn is like a signature. I love vibrant colours and complimentary palettes and this is reflected in my dyeing.
I feel happy when I am making. For many years this was only really expressed through my knitting, but since beginning to grow my business two and a half years ago I’ve been blessed by being able to turn my creating needs towards something that I can sell and that can bring joy to other yarn and fibre lovers.
Project bags seem like a great way to remind people of your business–and a constant reminder of your brand on the front burner of our awareness. There is so much yarn, and although each has, as you say, a particular signature of the dyer, it can be difficult to keep it all sorted. Bags and stitch markers seem like the perfect compliments!
Q: I think you may be the first non-North American I’ve had as a guest on my blog. So tell me where you do your work, but also a little about where in the world you are!
A: I work from home, and while I’m still struggling to set a boundary between work time and not work time, I love that I’m always available for my children when they need me. I have a room set aside as an office in my house, and that is where I retreat to when I need quiet and time to focus on ideas or buckling down to computer work or sewing. We have an long galley kitchen which is where I dye yarn and fibre currently, although I have dreams and aspirations of turning our garage into a studio/workshop one day!
I grew up in rural mid-Wales and went to school overlooking the sea in a little town called Aberaeron. I love that town because all the houses are painted in different colours, so that really appeals to my aesthetic!
I moved to Cardiff for university (I studied Law) and then we liked it so much that we stayed! Cardiff is a really nice city. It is small enough to not be overwhelming, but has everything we need. Lots of green spaces and access to the coast, but also is only two hours by train from London if we want to travel. And it appeals to the Geekiness in our family because it’s the base for filming Doctor Who and Sherlock!
What a beautiful place. I favor being near water too. From the sky in your photo it looks like ample opportunities for sweaters and wooly things.
Q: Share with us what is in store for Owl About Yarn in this new year. What goals come to mind?
A: I’m hoping that 2017 will be another year of progress in my business. I am renowned for having a terrible memory and I have yet to properly look back over the whole of 2016 but, I think when I do, I will be proud of what I achieved. I will, in 2017, be going to my second year of yarn festivals as an exhibitor. I will be bringing out new products including aran weight yarn and I will be starting to offer kits of geeky project bags with coordinating yarns and stitch markers. I have some pattern ideas floating around my head which I plan to commit to paper, and I’m just generally excited to see what the next twelve months will bring! I think my main theme for 2017 will be “optimism”, and I’m hopeful that an optimistic outlook will bring good things my way!
I’m with you at not being good at remembering things I’ve completed. I have a decided tendency to plow ahead, rather than reflect back. I’ve been working on it on a day-to-day basis, but that big picture is hard to keep in focus looking backwards!
My best to Owl About Yarn as you launch optimistically into 2017! May we all find good things ahead.
Where to find and follow Jennie!
Learn more about Jennie on her website – owlaboutyarn.com
Shop for yarn, fiber, project bags, and notions at Owl About Yarn on Etsy – etsy.com/shop/OwlAboutYarn
Also be sure to sign up for the Owl About Yarn Newsletter so you know the moment those geeky kits she mentioned are available.
Or join the Owl About Yarn Ravelry Group and connect with other geeky handpainted yarn lovers – ravelry.com/groups/owl-about-yarn
And be sure to follow Owl About Yarn on…
Ravelry – ravelry.com/people/OwlAboutYarn
YouTube – youtube.com/channel/UCV7pB65QQBpWEtsTZCEwZxQ
Facebook – facebook.com/owlaboutyarn
Instagram – instagram.com/owlaboutyarn/
Twitter – twitter.com/owlaboutyarn