It's no secret that we love small businesses. After all, we are one and when we can support one another, we make it our business to do so. When Barbara Pinto, one of our KC long-time friends and a regular, told us how something we do helps another small enterprise, we asked her to tell us about it! Here's what she had to say.
A Tale of Small Business Support
I’ve often wondered how small businesses are able to survive and thrive. Aimee and Sara Schiwal of Hook and Matter jewelry design, a Brooklyn-based business, have found a partial solution. There are many ways, but success demands originality and resourcefulness.
When these designer sisters create their fine crafted metal and fiber jewelry, it's not just about making something new. They have an appreciation for using recycled and found materials. To that end, you can see them utilizing yarn ends that would ordinarily be wasted.
At Knitty City, and many knitting stores, there is a bowl near the ball winder for yarn ends – those bits of yarn that come from wrapped skeins or ends left after a project's completion. When yarn is wound, those extraneous knots and ends are deposited there and often get tossed at the end of the day. At Knitty City, there's another fate for this "waste yarn". Thanks to the cooperation of Pearl and the KC staff, yarn ends are saved.
On a regular basis, they’re scooped into a recycled plastic bag (rice cake or bread bags work particularly well), and delivered to the Schiwal sisters by me, Aimee's mother-in-law. The regulars at KC call them "Aimee-ends" Many knitters have brought small balls and ends of yarn directly to me for this mission. You know how it is: Knitters don't waste ... and this "waste yarn" doesn't get wasted!
Often a knitter will ask, "Barbara, what do you do with those bits?" Hook and Matter uses them to make colorful ties for their gift boxes.
Smaller pieces get sent to a weaver or spinner friend, an independent yarn maker, a crochet designer, or they are re-used for pillow stuffing. Currently they've been trying to find a way to use all the waste – even the knots. One idea is to make collage or other artwork. Maybe Aimee's 3-year-old daughter or Sara's 2-year-old, will have some ideas on that.
Besides helping the budget, Aimee gets rave reviews on the "personality" of her packaging. One time a knitter and friend of mine (Stacey) ordered a necklace and received it in a box tied with a bright, plump fuchsia yarn. She immediately recognized it as the same yarn from her last knitting project - the very yarn she had donated to the Aimee stash. Needless to say, she was excited by the providence of that occurrence.
Without the cooperation of all, this bonus yarn would get wasted. So when my friend Michele Wang, knitting designer, flew back to NY after moving away, in her suitcase was a large plastic bag of yarn ends and swatches. It was a stash of Aimee-ends for the cause. I repeat: Knittters don't waste!