I just love Toil and Trouble's fiber art! Her shop is unique and showcases her talent quite well! One of my favorite items is this cowl, also pictured below. It would be great for anyone, but perfect for cyclists of either the pedal or motor variety. Warm and cozy like a scarf, without the danger of it flying away or coming loose!
Here's what she had to say:
What's your sign?
I am a Virgo born right on the cusp of Libra. In a nutshell, I am a neurotic perfectionist.
What is your inspiration?
That's a tough question. It really depends on the day and what I am doing. Sometimes I see an item of clothing I like, and think about how I would change it. I play around with it in my head, and then it eventually becomes something I want to make. Sometimes I wander through a yarn store and pick up several skeins that catch my eye because of color. Then I sit there, stare at them and touch them. I get rid of the ones I don't find soft enough. With the soft ones, I day dream about the feel of the yarn, the kind of texture that it would go well with, how it would drape, and so on (My husband hates this part, he stands around looking grumpy because I take forever). I take home the ones I fall in love with.
Some nights I dream about knitting projects (I think I may have a problem), so I wake up and sketch something out quickly. I also ride the train to work every morning, so I end up spending time daydreaming about new projects, and I think that's where most of the ideas end up coming from. Sometimes, I will see something that just happens to inspire me, like a beautiful photo.
What led you to sell on etsy?
As a child, I wanted to grow up to be an artist. I always drew and painted, and thought I would grow up to be an illustrator. When I was 9, I learned how to crochet (poorly) and went through a phase of making rings and necklaces out of crochet. I tried to sell them to my parents' friends, but that didn't work out very well. I found Etsy when I saw a friend of mine making something, and I asked her about it. She told me she had a shop, and gave me the link. I fell in love with Etsy right away, and knew I wanted to have a shop one day. Originally, I was going to have a joint shop with a friend, and we were going to sell all sorts of crafts. We signed up in January of 2008, and the project never went anywhere.
I had learned how to knit a few years back, but it hadn't occurred to me to try selling that. I had given up on knitting because I realized I would never have enough closet space or days to wear everything I wanted to make. At one point it just made sense. So in February of 2009, I took the shop that my friend and I were originally going to share and turned it into a fiber art shop.
What is your favorite song and why?
This is a really hard question to answer. There are so many different songs that are associated with good memories, and other songs that I just enjoy listening to. I would have to say that my most important song is Time Has Told Me by Nick Drake. I love Nick Drake, and that song became very important to me and my husband when we went through a rough patch.
What is your favorite handmade item that you've bought?
When I was a little girl, my mother took me to an art fair. There was an artist who would take tiny quail egg shells and paint very detailed and beautiful images on them. I fell in love with one of them, and my mother humored me and bought it. I still have it sitting on a shelf in my apartment. Technically I guess didn't buy it myself though...
The sun finally came out in Boston today, so I am in a great mood!
Etsy is a wonderful place. It has helped so many people pursue their dreams of being artists, and it brings so many beautiful things into people's lives. I hope more people keep supporting the handmade movement.