Fiber Hooligan Podcast
Tune in every Monday morning at 11:00 AM (CT).
- Engaging interviews with leading fiber artisans and industry experts
- Current trends and discussions about the hottest new products
- All things knitting, crochet, spinning, and weaving!
Hosted by XRX, Inc. CEO Benjamin Levisay, Fiber Hooligan is a one hour weekly podcast featuring the latest in all things fiber. From knitting techniques to interviews with innovative designers and artisans, the show covers the hottest trends and industry news fiber enthusiasts really want to know.
September 22, 2014
This week (09/22/2014) my guests will be Art & Barbara Elkins, the founders of WEBS - America’s Yarn Store.
We’ve had Steve Elkins (their son) and his wife, Kathy Elkins, on the show before to talk about WEBS. But this is going to be a fun, almost prequel to that show.
Art & Barbara are going to share with us the history and the evolution of WEBS… from a basement business to the industry leader that it has become over the last 40 years. And for those of you who may have missed it, this is the 40th anniversary of WEBS.
These are two remarkable business people who I remember meeting for the first time when I was a teenager.
I’m so pleased to have them on the show so you can hear how they defined and innovated their business model in the fiber arts world. I hope you’ll join us for this very special show.
Information coming soon!
September 15, 2014
This week (09/15/2014) my guest will be Andrea Marquis of YarnSuperhero. She is a long-time knitter crocheter, and newly impassioned spinner. She loves to make things and grow things, and her superpowers include working with what is available, seeing the bright side, and helping people reach their Next Great Idea.
Witht wenty years of business to business sales experience, Andrea approaches the yarn business and the rest of life with an improvisational spirit. An unrepentant optimist with a weird love for spreadsheets, she is a member of the small but mighty Spinzilla committee.
Andrea will be joining us to tell us more about herself as well as telling us all about Spinzilla. This will be a first for us Fiber Hooligans… delving into the world of spinning.
I can’t wait to have Andrea on the show so we can learn more about her and this growing (even international) event that is Spinzilla.
September 8, 2014
This week (09/08/14) my guest will be Karin Skacel, the president of Skacel Collection, Inc.
The Skacel Collection has been supporting Local Yarn Shops as a wholesaler of high-end yarns and needles for over 27 years.
Skacel is the sole North American distributor for the addi Turbo® line of hand-knitting needles and accessories, as well as the Zitron, Schulana, HiKoo®, artfelt®, and Schoppel yarn lines. As a family owned and operated entity, they strive to provide top-notch customer service world-class products and cutting-edge designs
Karin has been involved in the artistic crafts industry her entire life. Prior to taking over Skacel, she taught classes in glass fusing and lamp work, clothing design, sewing, knitting, crochet, and pottery painting. She is also the leading authority on art felt® in North America. She was the first to experiment with the paper and through trial and error has discovered many amazing possibilities using the paper as a base for felting. She is currently working on an artfelt® book and has been teaching classes and doing demonstrations throughout the United States.
Although her resume and credentials are impressive… it doesn’t do justice to this remarkable and generous lady who does so much to support the entire fiber arts industry. I can’t wait to have her on the show so you can learn more about Karin and her company.
August 25, 2014
This week (08/25/14) my guest is knitwear designer and author, Deborah Newton.
Deborah has been designing knitwear for the yarn industry and Seventh Avenue for over 30 years. Her book DESIGNING KNITWEAR (Taunton Press) has been in print since 1990. Her most recent book, FINISHING SCHOOL (from Sixth & Spring), was chosen by Amazon to be one of their Top Ten Craft Books of 2011.
She lives in her favorite city, Providence, Rhode Island, with writer and book reviewer Paul Di Filippo. She is an avid gardener and also works daily in her family's business, Maps for the Classroom.
Deborah has been a collaborator and ‘friend of the family' for decades. I’m so pleased to be able to share this wonderfully talented lady with all of you. I hope you’ll join us for a great show.
August 4, 2014
This week (08/04/14), my guest will be the very talented Rick Mondragon, editor of Knitter’s Magazine. He’ll be talking about upcoming Fall 2014 issue. We invite you to listen as he takes you into the pages and between the lines of Knitter’s Magazine.
Rick, who also is the co-host of STITCHES, will also be giving us his take on what we’ll be seeing at STITCHES Midwest in early August… from the market to the fashion show.
He’s one of the smartest and most creative people in the fiber arts world. And I know you’ll love his insights. I hope you’ll join us for the show.
July 28, 2014
These returning champions of the show are back to tell us how they are going to work together to help support Chelsea’s Light foundation with a new beautiful kit… which includes the Rivington Cowl pattern from Kirsten Kapur.
We’ll also be talking about new fibers from Dream In Color as well as some great stuff from WEBS as part of their year-long 40th anniversary celebration.
This is going to be a fun show. And it should be a great time to catch up with two of our favorite past guests.
I think these are two of the very best people of the fiber arts industry. I hope you’ll join us for the show!
July 21, 2014
This week (07/21/14) my guests will the newest dynamic duo to hit the fiber arts scene, Steven Be & Stephen West.
These two amazing fiber artists are on an epic fiber tour across the United States — the Stephen & Steven Tour - 2014. To imagine it fully, you have to first conjure up thoughts of a traveling rock band, then take away the bus, the sweaty roadies, and the music. Add instead two jet setting, fabulous Steph(v)ens (one with a 'v' and one with a 'ph'), luscious yarn and wild creative abandon and then... you’re almost there.
Among the many things that we’re going to talk about, there is a pattern book… a collaboration between the Steph(v)ens to commemorate the aforementioned fabulous yarn tour. Comprised of favorites by both designers, as well as a couple of new, never before seen patterns, this book is bound to knock your hand-knitted socks off.
I managed to catch up with these incredibly talented men on the road. And they’ve got a lot to share about where they’ve been, where they’re going, new yarns, new patterns, great classes, and just an explosion of enthusiasm.
I hope you’ll tune in for this show so you can hear from these fiber artist road warriors yourself.
July 14, 2014
This week (07/14/14) my guest will be the very talented Australian crochet designer Jenny King.
She has been designing in crochet since about 10 years of age… well before she knew it was called designing… just making what she wanted without a pattern. Then, at age 12, she made her first crochet bikini from a pattern in a magazine. There were lots of designs in every magazine as it was the 70’s, and crochet was supreme! Then the patterns for crochet dried up, so she just grabbed a Vogue Knitting magazine and crocheted to the schematics in Vogue.
She crocheted her first bikini commercially and sold it to a boutique in Byron Bay at age 15. Many years have passed and many projects have been created.
Now Jenny is all about teaching crochet and writing the patterns for others to make her designs. And the reason for this is that she would like everyone to feel the sense of satisfaction that comes from creating a work of art, the sense of peace that comes from crocheting, and the ability to open up the brain with the satisfying rhythm of repetitive stitching.
She believes that taking time out each day to stitch is both therapeutic to the body and brain, and that it will always keep it young. So, she is attempting to take over the world one crocheter at a time so that everyone can have this pleasure.
Jenny will be our first guest from Down Under. And I’m delighted to be able to share this preeminent crochet designer with all of you. I hope you’ll tune in for this show. It should be a lot of fun… and heck… you’ll love her accent.
July 7, 2014
This week (07/07/14) my guest will be the very talented and stylish Kristin Omdahl.
Founder of StyledByKristin.com and design company KRISTIN, Kristin Omdahl frequently contributes to the website that bears her name. In addition to showcasing her designs, Kristin serves up terrific articles about knitting, crochet, yarn and even a few sneak peeks at what's new.
Kristin Omdahl designs knit and crochet garments and patterns under her label KRISTIN, and is the author of “Knitting Outside the Swatch" (Interweave, October 2013), "The Finer Edge" (Interweave, December 2012), "Seamless Crochet" (Interweave, December 2011), "A Knitting Wrapsody" (Interweave, January 2011), "Crochet So Fine" (Interweave, July 2010) and "Wrapped In Crochet" (Interweave, 2008).
She was the crochet expert for 8 seasons on Knitting Daily TV on public television, and she conducts seminars around the country on crochet and in her DVD workshops, "Crochet Basics and Beyond with Kristin Omdahl" (Interweave 2011) and "Innovative Crochet: Motifs" (Interweave, 2009). Kristin’s work has appeared in Interweave Crochet, Interweave Knits, Knitscene, Vogue Knitting, plus books including "Blueprint Crochet Sweaters" (Interweave 2012), "Unexpected Afghans" (Interweave 2012), "Crochet Gifts" (Interweave, 2009) and "Crochet Me" (Interweave, 2007).
Passionate about design, Kristin seeks inspiration in textures geometric shapes found in nature. Her quirky fondness of mathematics and attraction to natural fibers make knitting and crochet heaven on earth for this talented designer.
She’s got a lot of projects going right now. She also has some big announcements that we will be lucky enough to hear directly from her. I hope you’ll all tune in next week for what I know will be a remarkable show.
June 30, 2014
This week (06/30/14) my guest will be very talented and effervescent crochet teacher & designer, Stacey Trock.
Stacey has been bringing cuteness into the crochet-world with her adorable stuffed animal designs since 2008. Her website, FreshStitches.com is a premier destination for crochet patterns, tutorials and kits. She is the author of Cuddly Crochet, Crocheted Softies and Modern Baby Crochet.
Stacey firmly believes that there's no 'right way' to crochet and enthusiastically experiments with a variety of techniques (even less-popular ones!) to achieve the desired finished product. This philosophy spills over into her teaching style: she encourages students to discover what works best for their own crocheting style for maximum crochet enjoyment!
A passionate crafter and advocate for self-sufficient living, Stacey and her husband live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she knits, bakes bread, makes jam and tends to her garden!
Stacey personifies cute… and that cuteness is infectious. I hope you’ll join us next week for a healthy dose of both creativity and enthusiasm.
June 23, 2014
This week (06/23/14) my guest is the very funny and enthusiastic Nicole Snow.
Born in central New Jersey where she grew up in a log cabin and spent hours playing craft corner with an old fashioned cash register and her parents office supplies, Nicole Snow is the founder and CEO of Darn Good Yarn, the world's greatest online recycled silk yarn company. Nicole had known since the seventh grade that she wanted to serve as an officer in the United States Air Force; she started taking flying lessons when she was 13, dreaming of flying KC10's. Nicole attended college on a full United States Airforce Scholarship at Clarkson University in upstate New York, where she played on the tennis team and was a Resident Advisor. She also met Mike, a fellow Resident Advisor who became the love of her life and now husband while at Clarkson. Nicole received a Bachelor's of Science in Business and Technology Management with Honours, with a concentration in International Business in 2004.
Nicole served two years of active duty service as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force, before launching ‘ round the Om', a general imports from around the globe company in 2006. Mike’s career as a Civil Engineer has taken Nicole to California, Alaska, Utah, Maine, New Hampshire and New York. Wanting to create a business that she could take anywhere with her and fulfill her goal of creating social consciousness through crafting and design, Darn Good Yarn was founded. Since 2008 Darn Good Yarn has saved over 25, 000 pounds of material from ending up in landfills, recycling it, and employing over 300 women in India and Nepal who create Darn Good Yarn's hand-spun, hand-dyed silk yarn and craft supplies.
Nicole is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Policy Commitee, and in 2013 was the $25,000 Grand Prize Winner of FedEx's inaugural Small Business Grant Contest. She has worked closely with Maine’s Governor Paul LePage since 2013 to grow Micro-Businesses in the state, and has passionately shared her own micro-business expertise as a consultant.
Nicole and the Darn Good Yarn gang are currently moving—bringing Darn Good Yarn operations to Schenectady, New York, where Darn Good Yarn will open their first retail location in the historic downtown business centre this month. But she’s be taking a break from unpacking & renovating to talk to us about her story and the amazing business that is Darn Good Yarn.
I’ve had a chance to talk with Nicole… she’s not only an amazing entrepreneur, she’s a kick! I hope you’ll all tune in next week so you can hear from this dynamic woman yourself.
June 16, 2014
This week (06/16/14) my guest is the very talented and versatile Edie Eckman. Edie grew up in Georgia but has spent most of her adult life in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She learned to knit and crochet from her grandmother, who lived with the family, and to sew and needlepoint from her mother. While she always had some kind of craft going as a child and teen, it wasn't until she was a young adult that knitting became a passion. One of the first sweaters she made was a complex fingering-weight shawl-collared vest made with a combination of fair isle and intarsia. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the best choice for a beginner, but she didn't know any better than to try to attempt it.
Edie serves as a technical editor for yarn companies and independent publishers and writes columns for both Creative Knitting and Crochet! magazines. Her designs have appeared in Knitter’s Magazine, Interweave Crochet, Creative Knitting, Knit N Style, and many other publications. She has taught at STITCHES events, The National Needlearts Association, The Knit & Crochet Show, Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair, New York State Sheep & Wool Festival (Rhinebeck), Fall Fiber Festival (Montpelier), and other national venues.
She considers herself fully bi-textural, and likes to serve as a Knit-Crochet Diplomat, easing the schism that can exist between the two disciplines.
Edie is one of the smartest and hardest working people in the fiber arts world. She’s also very sweet and someone I consider a friend. I hope you’ll join us next week so I can share this very special lady with all of you.
June 9, 2014
On this edition of Fiber Hooligan (06/09/14) my guest will be nationally known knitting instructor, Anne Berk. Anne was born in Grinnell, IA., and learned to knit at age 8, from her friends’ mom. She did lots of crafts, growing up… crochet, embroidery, counted cross-stitch, macramé, sewing. She moved to Portland, OR at age 10. In college, she was a camp counselor at Camp Namanu in Sandy, OR, and was a craft director for a few summers. Her main interest besides school and crafts was singing, playing guitar, and writing songs, and she worked her way through college and grad school by performing (weddings, restaurant sets, musical theater, etc.).
Anne majored in Natural Science at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR, pre-med. Her junior year was spent studying abroad, in Ireland, where her interest in fiber arts was re-kindled. While there, she knit and crocheted all year, but on returning to the States, she didn’t have time or resources to keep it up, and went back to studying (and singing) full-time.
Anne attended Pacific Univ. College of Optometry in Forest Grove, OR, becoming an Optometric Physician in 1985, and also married Bill Berk, a fellow student, that same year. They set up private practice together in Portland, and expanded to a second office in Clackamas a few years later. They now live in Clackamas and still run both practices full-time.
When her now grown children started school, she felt the urge to start crafting again. She did a lot of needlework, and decided to start knitting, also. When Anne ran out of space on the walls for the needlework, she got serious about knitting, and decided to enroll in the TKGA Master Handknitting program. As she worked through the program, a patient of hers, who owned an LYS, asked if she would be interested in teaching in her store. It turned out that she not only enjoyed teaching… she was pretty good at it. By the time she graduated from the Master Handknitting program in 2003, she was teaching at events in the Northwest, and had a busy sideline doing commission work for yarn store customers who needed hand-knits finished, repaired, restored, or custom-made.
She is a problem-solver by nature, which makes her a very good doctor, and has also informed her path as a knitter. She builds knitting courses based on problems that knitters have, trying to solve issues in the most efficient way possible.
For the past three years she has been working on her self-published book, Annetarsia Knits, a hardcover, 224 page resource for intarsia instruction at every level.
Anne has to be one of the busiest people I know. But she’s going to take a break from her practice to tell us her story and talk to us about her new book. I hope you’ll join us for what I know will be a fun show.
June 2, 2014
On this edition of Fiber Hooligan (06/02/14) my guest will be Patty Lyons. Patty is a nationally recognized knitting teacher and technique expert who is known for teaching the “why” not just the “how” in her pursuit of training the “mindful knitter”. She specializes in sweater design and sharing her love of the much-maligned subjects of gauge and blocking.
After deciding to leave her previous life as a Broadway stage manager to follow her passion and work in the knitting world, Patty managed a New York yarn store, and then in 2008 she joined Lion Brand Yarn to create the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City, where she served as the Studio Director for five years.
Patty now teaches nationally at guilds & knitting shows around the country such as Vogue Knitting LIVE, Knit and Crochet Show (the official show of TKGA and CGOA), and STITCHES. Patty’s popular classes can also be found online at Knitting Daily (Interweave Press) and Craftsy, and her “Improve Your Knitting Class” was named Craftsy’s most popular class of 2013!
Patty designs for yarn companies like Cascade Yarns and Takhi Stacy Charles, and her designs and knitting articles can be found in Vogue Knitting, Creative Knitting, Knitter’s Magazine, Knit 1,2,3 and KNITStyle magazine.
Patty loves to knit, crochet, spin and has even dabbled on the knitting machine. She is currently attempting not to get sucked into another yarncraft, but weaving is looking pretty interesting.
Patty lives in Brooklyn with her husband, a room full of yarn, and her rooftop garden. But she’ll be taking a break from her busy schedule and her rooftop garden to join us for what should be a great show. I hope you’ll tune in so I can share this wonderful lady with all of you.
May 26, 2014
Benjamin is joined by Drew Emborsky (a.k.a. The Crochet Dude™). Drew talks to us about his career as a designer, teacher, and as an icon in the fiber arts world. He also talks about his line of yarns, his new Craftsy.com class, and the other great things he has planned for this year.
May 12, 2014
Stuart Hochwert, President and Founder of Prime Publishing, joins Benjamin for a friendly and informative chat about internet marketing and niche content. An expert and cutting edge entrepreneur in the world of digital publishing, Stuart has been in the media business for quite some time. Prime Publishing includes 27 cooking and crafting properites, including the popular yarn websites: AllFreeCrochet, AllFreeKnitting, and AllFreeCrochetAfghanPatterns.
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