World Crafters are people who make things in different parts of the world. Some turned their hobby into a profession, some are balancing a day job with small crafty business, some chose to keep their hobby and just enjoy making, creating and giving. Behind each stitch is a story…
There are journeys that are only starting but already have so much purpose and determination, that you can’t help but admire the person behind them. Today we are travelling to a beautiful state of Oregon, USA with Nicole, a creator of MISKUNN. It’s been just over a month since Nicole has opened her Etsy store, but her vision of life and craft already attracted thousands of people that follow her on this truly admirable and inspiring journey.
What were the first steps of your knitting journey?
I had wanted to learn how to knit ever since I saw “Lady and the Tramp” as a little girl. Watching Darling knit those sweet little pink booties for her coming babe just seemed so lovely to me. However I didn’t actually learn to knit until roughly a year ago. I taught myself how through a knitting book I picked up at a local craft store. My first project was a scarf in sock weight yarn, which ended up looking quite sad if I’m honest. I had so little knowledge about knitting when I started that I actually taught myself how to knit English style at first because I thought Continental meant “foreign” somehow and since I was from the US, I thought English was what I was suppose to learn. It was just silly the amount I didn’t know and I am only sharing it because my husband told me to since he always gets a laugh out of it. So be encouraged anyone who feels they can’t do it – If I can do it, you can too!
You use both knitting and crochet techniques in your pieces, how did you learn crochet?
With learning crochet, I had tried a few times, but since I couldn’t immediately get the knack of it, I was discouraged. Then about six months ago I really sat down and decided to learn and have grown to love it more ever since.
I know you started your Instagram page just recently and you already have a very strong following. What do you think attracts people most in your feed?
Instagram has been such a wonderful experience for me and has taken me by so much surprise! When I first started my Instagram it was just to build up some following before opening my shop – I had no idea that it would take off so! I am incredibly thankful for all of the support I have gotten there and for the amazing community I have met. As far as what is getting people’s attention, I think the biggest things have been the simplicity of my photos having a clear focus, a white background and soft colors in my knits.
As far as I know you were pretty excited and scared at the same time when opening your Etsy shop! How do you feel now?
Ah, yes! I had wanted to open my own Etsy shop for an embarrassingly long time before I actually took the plunge and did it. Now it seems quite silly to have been so nervous, but I have only had my shop open for a little over a month now. Regardless of how little I have had it, I am already proud of having one and the work that I have put into it. I feel like every day I am learning more about how it all works and what to expect and how to really create a brand I love.
Could you please tell us the story of MISKUNN? How was it born?
Miskunn is an Icelandic word that means “grace and mercy” and I picked this word for my shop specifically. When I was first thinking about starting my own shop I knew I wanted it to be founded on a greater cause. That was extremely important to me, but at the time of officially opening it, I hadn’t solidified exactly how I was going to do that. I will actually be officially announcing soon – so here is first to know! – that I will be giving a percentage of each sale to help end sex trafficking. The amount of unawareness surrounding this issue breaks my heart. I want to be a part of extending grace and mercy to these people that have been abused for so long. To help reaffirm that they are loved and cared for and that their life can move forward from here. I am so excited to be taking this next step and hope that others come along side to help end this horrific issue.
Who supported you on your crafty way? Were there people who were skeptical about your aspirations?
My husband was by far the biggest support from the very beginning. He has always encouraged me to pursue a shop and to learn and adjust along the way, instead of waiting for my brand to be entirely lined out and perfect before starting. He was always the first to say, “You can do this. We’ll figure it out all the way. Just go for it!” Most everyone else seemed to support the idea, but through much hesitation. Since opening my shop I have gotten increasing support from those who were previously hesitant about it. And of course, those on Instagram have been greatly encouraging in my shop and all that I have done so far, which I am thankful for.
Is your craft your full-time job or do you balance it with something else? How do you manage your time?
My husband and I recently moved and so my shop is something I do along side looking for other work. I adore knitting and working on all of my ideas and hope to make it my full-time job at some point, but right now, I am divided between a few other things. I try to set a timer for x amount and work on a project straight through that time. I find that when I do it this way, instead of working a bit here and there I get much more work done.
How does your design process look like? What inspires you?
I don’t really have a design process, I just kind of make stuff up and experiment with colors and yarn I like and hope it turns out well. And when it does, it makes me very happy, but there have been many, many times of pulling it all out and starting again. As far as inspiration goes, I find most of it from minimalism. The foundation of minimalism is something that I hold very close to me and am always striving after, whether that be physically or mentally. How that portrays in my knitting is creating intentional pieces, using quality I love and buying only what I need for each project. Everything has a purpose and a plan. Inspiration concerning minimalism looks like many things – it can be clothing or home decor, a quote, or the way someone lives their life. I hope that my work reflects this love I have for purpose and intent, as that is what is important to me.
Do you have a special project that is particularly dear to your heart?
I have developed a special love for the pillows I make. When I came across the Bobble Stitch I thought it was such a sweet and playful stitch that is so neat to make. I have been having so much fun coming up with different color combinations and ideas for my pillows. I am in the middle of a new series for them and can’t wait to share more of it with everyone!
Do you have a favorite place where you usually create? Do you need special atmosphere or you can create any place any time?
I really can create anywhere! I take my knitting with me most all the time and enjoy it so much. But if I were to have a perfect atmosphere it would be curled up on the couch under a blanket knitting next to my husband.
Tell us, please, about the fiber that you use in your creations.
I absolutely love working with high quality natural fibers such as wool, silk, alpaca, and cashmere. They are long lasting and age well. They are incredibly soft to touch and so to feel them in my hands as I work is like a dream. It seems you’ve caught me right in the middle of many changes as I am also in the process of moving my brand in the direction of high quality fibers, which I couldn’t be more excited about as well.
How do you see the future of MISKUNN?
I am so excited for all the changes ahead! Everything from aiding the end of sex trafficking to moving to high quality natural fibers. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the changes I want to make and how that will effect those who have been following along my little journey already, but I heard something the other day, from Jim Carrey nonetheless, where he said, “What that taught me is that you can fail at what you don’t want to do, so you might as well do what you love” and that really stuck with me and has actually given me a lot of motivation to pursue these new dreams and desires for Miskunn. I hope others will follow along and be just as excited and inspired as I am for the new things ahead!
Could you, please, tell us about your corner of the world. Are you inspired by your town?
I live in the U.S.A, in the lush, green part of Oregon and I love it. The fresh air and green trees brings me so much happiness. It is finally getting colder here and the rain is coming back, which has been wonderful. I think living in Oregon gives me much inspiration, because most of the year I am surrounded by weather that makes you want to be cozy and warm. And what better craft to solve that than knitting? I wish I had photos of Portland, because I love it so and find much inspiration from that city. There are so many little shops, cafes, and yarn stores. Walking the streets downtown feels like I’m in a whole different place since I grew up in a tiny little town away from the city. Maybe that’s why I’m always longing to be in them now.
There is one very beautiful and special place overlooking a cliff. Gabriel and I got married here.
What gifts have you received from your craft?
Knitting has given me such a beautiful opportunity to meet people I never would have met. The community of friends I have made through Instagram has been incredible and there are many ladies on there I feel like I could go to coffee with and just talk and talk for hours. Also just knowing that something I make with my own two hands can be treasured by something else and help aid different causes and change lives in some way I find so beautiful and something I am immensely thankful for. I hope the wonder of it never ends.
Dear Nicole, thank you so much for sharing with us your crafty journey that I am sure is just starting and there are so many wonderful things yet to come on your crafty way!
Have a great creative weekend!