One of our favorite yarn companies here at The Loopy Ewe is Dream in Color. I have had a great time getting to know Veronica and Nancy, and I know you’ll like knowing more about them and their company, too! (This photo was taken in January, after a day at the beach in Cozumel while they were on a well-deserved vacation! Nice place to be in the middle of a Chicago winter, I’m thinking.) Enjoy Loopy’s interview today:
Loopy: Hi Veronica!
Veronica: Hi Loopy. Thanks for inviting us to talk with you. I will be answering all of the questions for both of us because Nancy is off on a well earned vacation with her husband. Hopefully I don’t misrepresent her too much and hopefully she doesn’t come home too seasick.
Loopy: I’ll let you know if I hear from her about any discrepancies, when she returns! How did you two meet?
Veronica: Nancy and I have known each other for years. We met at a handwork meeting to create crafts to sell to fundraise for a Waldorf School that was still in the dream stage (it went on to become Four Winds Waldorf school and has been around for about 12 years). We worked together at the school for quite awhile: Nancy as the school administrator and me as a handwork/ kindergarten teacher. Waldorf schools are teacher administered. This means that the faculty and staff are in charge of everything. Also, most every major decision has to be made with full consensus. If you can do this within a group of 20 and come out friends I guess you can do anything together.
Loopy: That sounds like it was a good testing ground for you two. What made you decide to open up a yarn shop? (Some of our Loopy customers might not know you had a yarn shop first. Tell us about it.)
Veronica: We both dreamed of doing something that made a difference in the world. I realize that owning a yarn shop will not end world hunger but we hoped to do something that added to the beauty and creativity around us- that counteracted the consumeristic culture. Somehow a yarn shop seemed to fit that perfectly. We wanted to create a community of people that where inspired to create.
Loopy: How did you then decide to make the transition from the yarn shop to the yarn company?
Veronica: Well, this is a funny story. What we really wanted was a subtle hand dyed superwash merino yarn for creating baby garments and blankets. In the first two years of the shop we had no acrylic or blend smooth yarns and very little superwash (although we had lots of fuzzy, fluffy, nubbly…. novelty yarn). All of our smooth yarns were natural fibers. We were determined to help people see that hand washing baby things was not difficult and that acrylic was not good for babies. Instead they helped us to see that they did not want to hand wash much of anything especially baby things. (Sorry it took so long for us to get it) I started to play with a bit of superwash wool that we bought from a traveling salesman hoping to come up with this “subtle hand dyed superwash merino”. Here’s the funny part: When we started selling Dream in Color to other shops we made the promise to all of the shops in our area not to carry it so that we would not compete with them. Our customers then had to go to other local shops or buy it online from places like The Loopy Ewe. We never did end up with a “subtle hand dyed superwash merino” to sell in our shop. We have now closed the shop to focus on Dream in Color so I guess we never will.
Loopy: We’re really glad that you veered off into this direction! What is the best part of your business?
Veronica: Everything! We love every part. I would do this even if I won the lottery tomorrow. I think Nancy likes the challenge of the business end of things: making sure that we are keeping costs down, production up, crossing the “t”s, dotting the “i”s (thank God for Nancy, don’t ya’ll think!). I love walking into the shop and seeing all of the colors- the yarn hanging there drying. I love skeining it up and taking joy in the one skein in the pile that just seems perfect to me. I think we both love the “problem solving” aspects. There are always little puzzles and such that crop up every day to work on. We are both very solution oriented and love to “fix” whatever needs to be ‘fixed” (believe me, that is a good thing, because the list is endless). We also have a great staff and we all have a great time everyday. I love practical jokes (which is a good thing since most of them are directed at me) and Nancy loves to play them – great for staff morale and we have lots of funny stories to tell when we get home.
Loopy: You make yarn dyeing sound fun. What is the most challenging part of your business?
Veronica: Creating Dream in Color from scratch. Neither of us have a manufacturing background. Nancy’s background is education (although she is an awesome business person) and I have degrees in Anthropology and Religious Studies. But like I said before, I don’t think we would be happy if there was no challenge.
Loopy: How did you both learn to knit and how many years have you been at it?
Veronica: I think Nancy has been knitting since she was a little girl. I remember her telling me that she did 4H knitting projects in school. I am going to claim that her mother taught her since her mother is a real mother-type of mother (great cook and such, you know the type, good potato salad and soup, has you over for Thanksgiving- thanks Mom). I learned in Germany on a vacation in 1989 from a young girl who took pity on me. I was going crazy on all of those trains because I could not read. My German is so bad I was afraid I would miss my stop if I did not pay close attention. I must have knit the world’s longest scarf. I swear it was 12 ft long. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that my mom is not a good cook/ good mom type but she is the artistic type not the knitter type)
Loopy: You must’ve gotten your artistic genes from your mom. Do you still get any time to knit these days?
Veronica: Nancy is a sporadic knitter. She is very fast but she runs hot and cold depending on what else she has going on. I always have about 3 projects laying around. I am kind of an OCD knitter and I sort of start frothing at the mouth if I go too many days with no knitting. Fortunately I can knit and watch DVD’s on my laptop before I go to bed at night (yummy). I was just about to do that tonight when I remembered about you. So here I am… visiting with you.
Loopy: I’m glad to hear that you both still do knit! Do you have a favorite pattern or item that you have made?
Veronica: Sorry, I can’t answer that one for Nancy. I really like the sweater that I just finished. It is the Mike/Ike sweater by Black Purl designs. I even learned how to sew in a zipper. I wear it almost everyday. There are many, many patterns that I dream of. Several of them are on Knitty.com.
Loopy: You’re the only company that has a whole aisle devoted just to you at Loopy Central (we call it “Dream in Color Alley”), so we’re definitely glad that you’re into the yarn business! Before the yarn shop and yarn company, what other jobs have you had?
Veronica: Well, like I said before we both worked at Four Wind’s Waldorf school for quite a few years. My last five year there were teaching kindergarten. Before that I had a variety of jobs (everything from receptionist to resident artist/ art shop clerk) in between college and teacher training. Nancy taught math in High School along with other assorted things. We both also did stints as full time stay at home moms (hardest job I ever had!).
Loopy: We know that many readers like to listen to books on tape or watch movies while they knit. Any book or movie recommendations you’d like to share?
Veronica: Gosh, I wish Nancy were here for this one. She is part of a book club and everything. I am sure that she would have tons of good books to recommend. She just read Devil in the White City and I know she liked that a lot. Her favorite movie lately is “Once”. I saw it as well and I agree! It is totally awesome. I have been on a huge Buffy: the Vampire Slayer kick lately. I know, not very high tone of me but I read almost nothing but nonfiction, stuff like Collapse: How societies choose to Fail or Succeed (more interesting that it sounds from the title, I promise) and I need an outlet. Don’t laugh… I am a big Joss Wheaton fan (director of Buffy) and I also loved his series Firefly (browncoats rule).
Loopy: Lots of great suggestions to check out – thank you! What is one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?
Veronica: Geez, I think I have already let it all hang out. I guess you figured out I have a sense of humor. How about this: My favorite type of music is punk/pop and my favorite band is My Chemical Romance (I think front man Gerard Way is too cute, too young, and I am happily married, but still, too cute). And Nancy is full of surprises. She surprises me every single day (occasionally shocks me as well). I think anyone who knows Nancy would find that to be surprising. She seems so “put one foot in front of the other” but don’t let her fool you. Still waters run deep, don’t ya know!
Loopy: Good to know. It sounds like we need to watch out for both of you! Anything else you’d like to add?
Veronica: We love all of the projects that people create with Dream in Color yarn. You guys are SO amazing. I see all of the cool things that you knit with our yarn and I am floored. I love to lurk on Ravelry and on blogs just to get a peek at all of the great things that I would like to knit with our yarn if I had the time. Thanks for helping decorate the world with beauty and helping to counter all of that consumerism with your “I can do it” spirit. We can change the world one sweater/sock at a time. Yes, we can! Yes, we can!
Loopy: Thanks so much for chatting with us today!
News Flash: We’re going to do a Dream in Color Sweater Knit-A-Long! If you’re on Ravelry, hop on over to the Loopy Groupie board and read all about it. You pick whatever sweater pattern you’d like to knit out of Dream in Color Classy and email me that you want to be a part of the DC-KAL. We’ll put up a Dream in Color Sweater Photo Gallery when the first person completes their sweater from the KAL, and all sweaters from this (posted by June 1st) will be eligible for a Loopy Loot grand prize drawing. I want a Dream in Color sweater out of Cloud Jungle, and I know I will get it if I have some accountability through a KAL. 🙂 (One other nice thing – just for those who have emailed or messaged me that they are participating AND who put DC-KAL in their order notes, we’ll give you a 20% discount on the Classy that you order for this sweater. This is not a discount code or coupon, so you won’t see the price change when you order. However, we will take the 20% off of your Classy skeins when we process your order and collect the funds. When you get notice that your order has shipped, you can log into your account and see what your total ended up being. This offer is good through 2/29.) I hope you’ll join us!
Great interview Loopy! I let out a loud “squeeee” when Veronica mentioned her favorite sweater was Ike & Mike from Black Purl Designs. The Black Purl is my LYS in Wausau, WI and Beth has been writing & selling her sweater patterns for a few years now. I just finished a cardigan pattern, Jen, this very weekend for myself. Small world!
Have fun with KD on your knitting day!
I am TOTALLY inspired by this interview! I am currently a stay home momy. Homeschooling using waldorf, and having a love affair with natural things….while realizing that we still have to live in the ‘real’ world (whatever that means). HOW GREAT and encouraging to realize…..
great inspiration can come from practical need
its okay to be a punk-loving mom
I am not the only movie-watching knitter
Thank you ladies for sharing your journey to NOW. Than you Sherie for putting a challenge to keep us all ‘trying new things’!
Blessings to you all!!
Sheri and Loopy, great interivew with Nancy of Dream in Color. I’m also a big fan of their work. So far I’ve just used the very fine Dream in Color (Smooshy)- sounds like it’s time to check out sweater possiblities and the KAL. :>
I knew something would come along to get me to my sixth Loopy Ewe order!
Great Interview! I love these gals yarns and just bought what I needed to participate in the KAL. I can’t wait to get started!
Loved the interview. I am excited about the DC-KAL. I ordered my yarn yesterday 🙂 BTW, Veronica, I love the Tulip sweater and the boy’s version. Too cute!!
What a great interview! It’s so fun to find out about people:)
Dh and I just finished watching the Firefly series and we both loved it. So sad that it ended!
Until recently, I never considered anything but acrylics for baby things. At a spinning class, the instructor and I were discussing the fact that acrylics don’t burn but melt and that was dangerous for small children. I’d never thought of that. I’m glad that DIC was born out of the make something washable to make kids’ things from. I do not intend to make anymore acrylic baby/children gifts.
With regard to the DC-KAL, right in the middle of my Lenten yarn fast…Still debating this but am leaning toward participating–even if I don’t get the discount. I wanna make a Mr Greenjeans and think Classy is the just right yarn.
Definitely a good interview! I must say though, I’m sad their yarn store closed. It was super close to my mom’s house and we would go in EVERY time I was in town. Really was a great store. Mom lucked out and got some DIC “seconds” during the closing sale. And I’m excited for them because the store is closing because of how sucessful the DIC line has been.
So excited for the KAL! I got SOOO much done on my tulip baby sweater this weekend and can’t wait to keep knitting with this amazing Classy!
We do .love the dream in colors. Thanks for creating such great yarn.
Have a great day with knitting daughter, my kids have school here.
OK, sign me up for the KAL. I already signed up on ravelry and left a link for the pattern I’m doing. I’m going to spend some money!!!
I used your dream in color in petals to make a pair of socks in the Parting Way
pattern. They turned out very nice. I was very pleased. I’m not 100% so I can’t
make a full garment but sometime I would like to try out your lace weight yarn.
I can’t do the KAL because I would never catch up to everyone else. Thank you
for such a nice interview.
Great interview, Loopy! Perfect timing! I just finished an Irish Hiking Scarf with Dream in Color Classy today and can’t wait to give it to its recipient… have to photograph it first, though. 🙂
I’m already in to many KAL’s for me to keep up with, but am very intrigued in this one esp since theres a DiC discount (nummmmmmy) and it runs till sometime in June which will give me time to work on it and the sock KAL’s and Socks For Soldiers sock work. I am looking forward to a couple extra dollars this month or next so will be ordering my yarns as soon as I get it for Mr Greenjeans from Knitty.com and e-mailing Sheri to join in Yippee!! The time lapse will give mne time to finish uo some pressing sock orders from family 🙂
OMG! One of my favorite yarns created by someone who also likes one of my favorite shows?! Something is definitely in line with my universe.
I can’t wait to see which sweater pattern gets chosen for the KAL. I’m going to try it out if it’s a pattern I think I can do.
I just love my Classy and Smooshy DIC yarns. No time for the KAL, but the interview is really interesting. Thanks.
OK, You’ve talked me into the KAL. I have a horrible time actually finishing sweaters, espescially for myself, so maybe this will get me to do it.
Great interview Loopy- those DIC girls sound like lots of fun!
I have Devil in the White City in my to read pile, always glad to hear people like it!
I’ve never knit a sweater.. Can someone recommend one for a beginner? I’ve knit socks, shawls, baby things etc etc…………..
Enjoy your day knitting w/ DD.
The source of the nice DiC smell is presumably still a trade secret :-)….. Great interview!
Boy, I bet the DIC Alley is looking pretty bare right now! I think I’ll cast on for the adult cardigan, then snag some more Classy for Mr. Greenjeans when you get some more in. It’s kind of funny; I bookmarked that Knitty pattern just yesterday! You are such a good enabler! Besides, I need more clothes ’cause of all the weight I’ve lost, right? 😉
I wonder if Veronica is watching the Firefly marathon on the Sci Fi channel today?
I still haven’t tried the DIC, but plan to soon.
It was great meeting Veronica. I really appreciate knowing more about the people behind yarn I enjoy using, and Dream in Color is one of my favorite sock yarns. I also thought it was fascinating learning about the Waldorf connection. I learned to knit a few years ago because I was homeschooling my daughters using a Waldorf approach and was supposed to teach them to knit in Grade 1. Since I didn’t know how myself, I figured I’d better learn. I haven’t stopped knitting since and neither have they!
Hope you and Knitting Daughter are enjoying your day off, Sheri. It’s a new holiday here, too, called Family Day, so we’re enjoying a day off, as well.
Awesome interview. Any chance of carrying their patterns?
Oooh…I have said for WEEKS I want a Rogue out of DinC spring tickle…woohoo…now to email you and place my order.
Bummer, I’d love to join in on the DIC KAL but it’s not meant to be this time. I just ordered my spinning wheel. There’s no way hubby is going to let me spend $100 in yarn for a sweater. 🙁
But I have my new wheel coming in to console me. 🙂
O thank you Loopy for the charming interview. I should have known the subtle colorways remind me of silk scarfs.
I am a hidden WAldorf teacher, what i mean is i take waldorf into the school as much as i can, but i use the concepts at home too. We had a school here but havent heard anything from it lately, it was funded by a bigger school as alternative. I have alot of DIC in my wishlist for babyknits. I only use acrylic when a mom insists.
I cant wait to have the money for the KAL. BUt then i want lace yarn to make DD#2 opera gloves for prom. If she only would decide on the color of the dress, which i will also be sewing. ANd then DBF deserves a pair of socks too.
Thanks for the fascinating interview, Loopy and Sheri! (And I agree with Nancy about the front man for My Chemical Romance…)
The KAL sounds tempting, even if I am the world’s slowest knitter and have yet to finish a sweater! Maybe I’ll flip a coin…!
I just placed my order for the DC-KAL. There’s a pattern I’ve been wanting to knit, a Chanel-style Jacket from the Fall 2007 Knitters Magazine. It calls for Cascade 220, which the DC classy seems a perfect match for weight wise. It also calls for a carry-along color of Kid Seta. I couldn’t find anything in the store that was a good match for that. Did I overlook something? I got the DC in Ruby River, so I’m thinking any kind of dark rose, purple or lilac, or possibly even a navy would look great with it. Suggestions would be appreciated! Can’t wait to start!
I am so tempted to join the DIC KAL but I’ve just started the Urban Aran Cardigan out of Louet’s Riverstone Chunky and I know I can’t commit to another sweater right now. Must finish a few things in the queue first! I did make a Tulips Cardigan for my niece a few months ago and it’s adorable. The yarn is just yummy to work with!
Great interview Loopy! (Funny, he doesn’t seem that talkative when I visit…maybe he’s just saving himself for the celebrity work B-)!! i do have a question though…which is Nancy and which is Veronica in the photo???
I think I’m going to have to pass on the DIC KAL…I have too many other projects in the works for now!
Great Loopy Interview…really loved hearing the “scoop” on DIC….. sometimes online- especially. the “peopleness” gets lost…great interview, great product- great day;) Cause my latest loopy pkg arrived today! YAY!
My purple heartwood darning egg???? oH MY gorgeous!
What a fun interview!
I’d love to do the KAL but it would take me ages to knit a sweater for myself!! Could I knit one for my DD? She’s not so big. lol
Please sign me up for the KAL although I’m going to crochet a top. heck, maybe, I’ll knit one too.
I’m awful with deadlines, but I just bought the yarn for the KAL, so sign me up!
nice interview, I always love to read about other pals..:) great. thanks