Happy Wednesday (and almost Thursday, which is almost Friday--hooray!) friends! For your mid-week enjoyment, today I am happy to bring you a little interview I did with Tasha, of Tasha Miller Griffith Fiber Arts. Tasha makes adorable hats from recycled cashmere and also sells materials and tutorials for people who want to make their own cashmere lovelies. Welcome Tasha!
Me: Your "Fiddlehead" hats have such a fun and whimsical design. I love the little curly-Q on top! How did you come up with it?
Tasha: Thanks! This design just popped up one day, almost fully formed. It was back when I was making a lot of bags from recycled felted sweaters. I had a couple of cashmere ones in the mix, and I decided it would be fun to make my little niece a simple hat out of them. A couple of hours and one abandoned prototype later, the first Fiddlehead appeared. If I could tap into whatever realm of design ideas this one came from whenever I wanted, I certainly would!
Me: And you manage to find such beautiful sweaters to re-purpose! Do you re-dye them yourself to get those lovely colors? Or do you just have good luck at the thrift store?
Tasha: When I first started out I would scour thrift stores, but I pretty quickly outgrew the recycled cashmere supply in my home town. And what I would find was fun but so random—sometimes nothing, sometimes 8 sweaters in one store—all blue! Now, I work with a woman in CA who sends me 50 lbs of used cashmere at a time. It’s still somewhat random, but that’s the fun part for me. What keeps it interesting is seeing the new & unique colors I get in each batch, and finding those two exact colors that harmonize beautifully together. I do dye some of them, mainly when I run out of a color that I really need, like pink or orange. The cashmere takes dye beautifully, but I try to stay focused on sewing the hats, and use most of the colors as they come to me.
Me: In addition to making hats from recycled cashmere, you also re-purpose the scraps from your hat making into DIY scarf and blanket kits. I'm completely adoring the blankets, in particular! Tell me, are they easy to make even for those of us who aren't pro sewists?
Tasha: Yes, I decided I shouldn’t be the only one who gets to make stuff out of what are possibly the world’s loveliest scraps! The sewing for the blankets and scarves isn’t hard at all, just straight lines. The material takes a little getting used to, but if you’ve sewn with knits before, it’s no big deal. Even if you haven’t, just give yourself a little time to play with it, and I bet you’ll agree that it’s pretty forgiving. I think wools in general have an aura of being harder to sew, but actually they’re a dream. Once you figure out how to manipulate them with your hands and your steam iron, you can mold them into pretty much whatever you’d like! Plus, I have a policy that whoever buys one of my tutorials gets support, so you can always email me with questions if you get stuck.
Me: Do you have any new ideas or projects we should watch for in 2015?
Tasha: Oh man, I always have millions of ideas and projects, the problem is getting some fraction of them out into the real world! I’m passionate about teaching—empowering folks to make things themselves, and to realize the satisfaction that comes from that. I write a blog (Stale Bread into French Toast) that has a lot of tips for making and fixing things, especially fiber things like sewing and knitting. I’d love to do more tutorials, kits and patterns, so if any of your readers have a question they’d like answered, or something they’d like to make and can’t seem to find a pattern for, please let me know!
Tasha is generously offering 10% off of all of the items in her shop for My Bit of Earth readers through the end of November. Just use the code BITOFEARTH during your Etsy checkout and go stock up for the cold weather!