I had the chance to do a written interview with Alecia. Enjoy!
1. Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I'm a mother of (almost) five little ones, from ages: due in December - 11 years old. I am an art college graduate, with a concentration in painting & art education. I taught art for a few years after college, but when our first son was born, I left teaching to stay home.
Sort of on a whim, after our fourth son was born, I opened madbird on Etsy. I wanted to offer knitting/crochet supplies for a more discerning crowd. I was never satisfied with any organizer or project bag I bought that was mass produced, and I was sure I wasn't alone. A couple years later, we launched our own website.
Although I'm responsible for all of the product design/creation, I do have help. My husband, Rob, is a huge support and is really half of madbird. All the care that goes into shipping our product, all the product photography, media design, web content - that's him. I couldn't run this smoothly without his help! His part in madbird allows me to focus 99% of my efforts on the product itself. He also has a full time job, so he's a busy guy.
2. Your knitting organizational products are really wonderful! Can you talk a little bit about what inspires you?
Thank you! I'm inspired by colors and patterns. That is probably the most basic explanation. The source sometimes comes from nature, art, or the fabric itself. There's nothing more inspiring than fresh bolts of fabric!
3. You offer a wide variety of organizers, do you have a favorite tote or project bag that you personally use?
My new tote is my current favorite. I love the yarn guide, the softness of the fleece interfacing, and the capacity to hold my project and my ipad. I have been using mine a lot lately!
4. How do you come up the shapes and products that you make?
Usually I come up with a product design out of necessity. When I was knitting at one of my son's baseball games, I had a sock pattern cut up into small index card-sized pieces. I wanted to keep the pattern nice and compact, but it didn't work out. The pieces were flying everywhere! I commented to Rob how nice it would be to have something to keep my tiny pattern organized. He said "So, make something". A day or so later, the mini pattern wallet was born.
5. What will be next for you? Do you have new things in the works that you can share with us?
We have our products in many LYS's across the country, and even out of the country - which is very exciting! We'd like to expand to even more LYS's in the future. Also, something we haven't had a lot of time for is fiber shows. With a large family to take care of, it just hasn't fit into my schedule as well as I would like. I'm hoping that after our fifth baby is born (and a bit older!), I'll be able to focus more on shows. We live 20 minutes from Boston, so it won't be very hard to find plenty of shows to partake in.
6. I always like to ask, why do you knit?
I knit because I love handknits. It's really that simple! There is nothing quite like a handknit article, whether for yourself - or as a gift. I absolutely love gifting something I made with my hands. Nothing is more special than that. And, as a knitter, I love receiving them as well. Aside from that, even though I'm constantly making something, I can't deny the satisfaction that comes from completing a project and saying "yeah, I made that"!
7. When did you learn to knit and who taught you?
I learned to knit around 2003 - when our second son was born. The world wide web taught me! And if we're being completely honest, I'm self taught in the realm of sewing as well. One day, at about age 16, I bought a sewing machine, read the manual, and made a dress (and it was wearable!). Not all my craftiness is self-taught, however. My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was very young. I remember making doilies with her, and little hats for my dolls. She doesn't crochet anymore, and recently gave me all her hooks. They're something I'll always treasure.
8. If you were to knit and live anywhere in the world, where would you knit and live?
Oh, that's tough. I can't see myself living outside of New England, honestly. I would love to visit other countries (and bring my knitting along)…New Zealand in particular. It looks so beautiful! But, if I had to pick a place to settle down, I would find a nice piece of land in Vermont. Rob and I both love it there.
9. What's been your worst knitting disaster?
Ugh. A sweater for one of the boys. And, no, I didn't make him wear it! By the time I finished it, it was at least a size too small anyway. It just did not in any way work out! It was my first attempt at stranding. What a mess.
10. And last but not least, if you were enjoying a favorite drink while reading my blog, what would it be?
Well, since I'm pregnant…it'll have to be non-alcoholic. The orchard in our town sells delicious sparkling fruit juice drinks. I'd be enjoying one of those with a lime, and a few cherries. ;)
Madbird has sent over two gorgeous and very functional project bags/totes for two lucky followers to have a chance at winning. Check it out:
The larger tote in the back has an adorable coffee themed print and a magnetic button closure, so you can keep your ball of yarn safe in there and knit away while the yarn feeds out of the bag. The inside also features a really cool yarn guide (that I unfortunately do not have a picture of). The smaller pouch has a really cute modern floral fabric pattern and zipper closure. This little bag is still large enough to hold a small project… say maybe a pair of socks!
I would like you to do the following if you would like to be entered into this week's giveaway:
1. Read over the rules if you have not done so already.
2. Leave a comment on this blog post by the end of Sunday, 10/21/12. Which madbird product is your favorite?
I'll randomly pick the winners in 2 weeks and post the results along with the new giveaway, so be sure to check back. Good luck everyone.