It’s no secret that we, here at Monarch, have long admired Shibui Knits yarns. From their minimalist and sophisticated aesthetic, to their mixing of fibers in each base they produce, and to their extensive pattern library, it’s no wonder that we often refer to our famous “wall of Shibui” each time we’re planning projects. We’ve been so honored to collaborate with them on multiple occasions. Last year, during Stitches West, we had the pleasure to work alongside Sandy Barnes, Shibui’s Sales Manager. We’re so excited that she will be joining us again this year – we just adore her! To help celebrate Stitches month, Sandy has graciously offered to be a guest on our blog. Thank you, dear friend!
What was the path that led you to Shibui Knits and to your position as Sales Manager?
I learned to knit when I was in third grade. My mom made arrangements for Susan Beattie, a local Boulder knitter, to meet me after school in the elementary school library. I don’t really remember those early years, but in Junior High I knit a colorwork vest that won a blue ribbon at the 4H County Fair. The following year, I received a reserve champion for an aran sweater I knit.
I’ve knit off and on over the years, but really picked it up again while living in Germany in 2006. When returning to Portland I took a class at Knit-Purl from Darcy Cameron and casually asked if Knit-Purl was hiring. I started the following Tuesday and the rest is history.
Over the years I wore multiple hats at Knit-Purl, as everyone does in a small business. I worked on the sales floor, taught beginning knitting classes, became the Store Manager, and then the buyer. During my tenure at Knit-Purl, I was always involved with the planning and executing of TNNA for Shibui. So, it was natural in 2012 to move to Shibui and the wholesale side of Cameron Design. At first, I wasn’t sure how much I would like it, because I felt like I was losing the customer connection that I so enjoyed. Now I can’t imagine not working for Shibui. I love the shop owners and I love getting to meet knitters at special events.
We’re really big on collaboration at Shibui. In addition to working with our sales reps, and retail shops, I get to be a part of the design and yarn development team.
As evidence by our large Shibui wall, we love knitting with Shibui yarns! What are some of your favorite bases with which to work?
It’s really hard to choose a favorite yarn, or choose a favorite fabric. I’d have to say Silk Cloud added to any of our yarns is like “adding cream to your coffee, once you start you don’t stop.” I read that on the Fringe Blog and it has really resonates. If there only one yarn on the planet, I would want it to be Pebble as it is great for every season. If I could choose a second, it would be Twig for the warmer months.
What’s currently on your needles and in your notions bag?
I just finished one of the new Shibui designs for Spring/Summer2018 collection. While it is still a secret, it’s one of my favorites. I currently have the Churchmouse Twice Reversible Poncho on the needles using Silk Cloud and Maai (so luxurious) and I’m about to “cast on” for a yet to be released design that I’ve sworn not share. I love knitting bags! One can never have too many right? I knit exclusively with Addi Rocket needles and you’d find my knitting bag full of CocoKnits accessories.
Besides all things yarn, what are some of your other passions?
In my spare time I love visiting my daughters, exploring new places and hiking. My girls are the light of my life, nothing has been more rewarding than being a parent. Sometime this year, I’ll be gaining a son-in-law and a grandpup, I feel truly blessed! I always tell people I meet that I’m so lucky my job is something I’m passionate about. I love working in this industry. I meet so many wonderful people and my day isn’t complete unless I knit at least a couple of rows.
Such a wonderful history! It’s always a joy to get to know such talented friends within our community. A huge thanks to Sandy for taking the time to be a guest on our blog. We cannot wait to join her at Stitches!