Amy Wilson taught herself how to spin wool as a way to unwind and unplug from the stresses of urban life. It soon became more than just a hobby, and a few years later, she runs a successful Etsy shop, Type A Fibers, and sells her homespun yarns at local markets.
When you think about spinning, you might picture a bonnet-wearing woman on the porch of a farm house somewhere in rolling country hills. But Amy’s yarn is unmistakably cool, and very much a product of her home. It’s an art form that she has crafted locally and creatively– a process that inspires us to think about where and how our clothes are made.
Amy gave us some insight into what she plans to bring to our Fall Market (10/12) and after talking with her, we’re tempted to buy a spinning wheel of our own.
GP: How did you go from an amateur yarn-maker to having your own brand?
Amy: For years, I was curious to try yarn spinning, and one day I did – teaching myself by reading books and watching YouTube tutorials, first on a drop spindle, then on a spinning wheel. I quickly started making far more yarn than I could ever use myself, and so I started selling it on Etsy. Today, I primarily sell my “art yarns” on Etsy, keeping my more utilitarian yarns for fairs and markets. For the upcoming Greenpointers Fall Market, I’ll be bringing a mixture of both.
GP: Do you have a day job as well?
Amy: Yes, I teach at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and also create work (paintings and drawings) as a fine artist.
GP: Is it easy to spin yarn (such a traditional craft) in a modern, urban environment? How much of it do you do yourself?
Amy: All the washing, processing, spinning, dyeing, and so forth is done by me in my studio in Jersey City… I do everything but raise/keep the sheep! I hand-wash the wool, prepare the fiber on a hand-cranked carder, and treat the fiber into yarn on a foot-pedaled spinning wheel.
GP: How eco-friendly is the yarn?
Amy: My product is very eco-friendly. I take great lengths to make sure that the animals I get my fibers from are treated well, and are pets rather than property. I blend my wool with other fibers that are also eco-friendly– bamboo, banana, corn, and other fast growing fibers, all of which are renewable.
GP: What do you love most about this line of work?
Amy: I love to create one-of-a-kind yarns for knitters and crocheters, so they can make their projects extra special and unique. I also really love supporting local farmers and connecting to a craft tradition that is hundreds of years old. All of my animal fibers (wool, alpaca, etc) are from very small, independent family farms. As an example of one of my providers: much of the white/grey wool I use is from a small farm in NJ tended by a single mom.