Hello there - My name is Melissa, and I live in Front Royal, "Gateway to Skyline Drive," "Canoe Capital of Virginia," where the two forks of the Shenandoah River converge, etc. etc. I've lived here for nine years now - I'm originally from North Carolina, and I believe my love of textiles is in my blood. I learned to sew, embroider and crochet before I could read, from my beloved great-grandmother who was an avid quilter and crocheter (of the tiny cotton yarn bedspeads and tableclothes variety). I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't have some kind of project going that involves a needle of some sort! I am also an artist in the more traditional drawing-and-painting sense, having majored in design in college (in the 80's).
My current main fiber interests are knitting (which I taught myself in middle school) and spinning (learned at a workshop in my 20's). I've rarely managed to follow a pattern without making major modifications, so for the last 15 years or so, I mostly design my own. For several years my goal was to make a sweater each year for each family member for Christmas, but as my family size increased (and I realized that I had no sweaters of my own!) I decided to give myself greater project freedom. I like knitting that looks difficult but has a simple logic behind it that makes it easy it knit (think domino squares, old shale lace, etc).
In the last three years, my life has changed dramatically due to divorce. I used to homeschool; now my children are in school and I am now a working single mother of seven! Knitting and spinning have been invaluable stress-relievers to me during this time!
My goal for this year is to expand my creative pursuits from hobby status to home business. I am working with a small-scale llama farmer to develop patterns/kits for yarns made from his animals, and I'm on the verge of stocking some of my handspun in an etsy shop. I've also promised myself that I will begin submitting some of my knitting designs for publication, and enter more contests (like Montpelier, where I received several ribbons last fall). And I've thought of combining my fiber loves with my art background to develop a line of t-shirts and notecards with fiber/yarn themes. As you can see, I've got the ideas -- the challenge is to find the time to carry through and still keep life running smooth everywhere else!
I look forward to getting to know more fellow fiber fanatics in Virginia. I am involved with a group that meets monthly in Luray (if anyone else is near enough to be interested, contact me directly), and in some online groups like EZasPi (where I met Olivia-Lee). Glad to meet you all!