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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Interview with Amy of The Yarn Closet

Amy is a big time knitter and swap hostess! You can visit Amy's blog and see her knitting prowess on Ravelry, she's deathbyyarn.

SwapDex: Tell us a bit about you.

Amy: My name is Amy, or for those of you on Ravelry (a knit/crochet community) I'm deathbyyarn. I'm 26 years old, living in Northern Virginia. I live with my husband, John, and our two cats - Mavey and Cooley. No kids yet - but we're hoping this will be the year! I'm a CNA (certified nursing assistant) on a physical therapy/rehab geriatric unit and I work night shift. I love my job - it's always a lot of fun and I've met some amazing people. My main craft is knitting (which I've been at for over four years), but I also sew and I'm learning to spin. I'm also a Civil War re-enact0r, and I enjoying writing fantasy/fiction.

SD: How long have you been swapping? How did you first learn about swapping, and what made you decide to start? Do you remember your first one?

A: I've been swapping for a little over three years now. My first swaps were all music themed ones on Swap Bot, where you would burn a CD and pass it along. Since I've become more comfortable with my knitting skills, I prefer to run and participate in those types of swaps, especially on Ravelry.

SD: What is your range of swapping? Do you stick to swaps hosted by people you know or are you likely to swap with anyone, anytime?

A: Honestly, I love to host the swaps that I participate in. I have another knitter that often helps me with my Ravelry. If I participate in other swaps, its more about what is going on with the swap than who is hosting it.

SD: Do you swap with any organized groups like yahoo groups, flickr, groups on swap-bot, other message boards, etc? Why or why not?

A: I usually participate with swaps on Ravelry more than any other forum because there are so many, and the moderators on Ravelry have a great resource to keep track of 'naughty swappers', or people who don't fulfill their end of the swap.

SD: What's your favorite swap you've ever been in or hosted?

A: I'd have to go with the Recession Special Swap that I just finished hosting. The price limit was low, due to the economy, and one of the items you sent to your pal had to be hand made. The whole theme was, "The economy may suck, but that doesn't mean we can't swap." It was so much fun!

SD: What do you do to make your packages special?

A: I love to get to know the person I am spoiling the best that I can, by reading their blog, visiting the Ravelry page, and using any other info that I can get my hands on to spoil them to the best of my ability. I love to wrap all the items that I send in fun paper and find creative custom paper goods/cards on Etsy.com. If the person has a pet or child, I like to include something for them as well.

SD: Do you have a good story about hosting or participating in a swap?

A: I don't know that I have any good stories, but I have had a few swaps where people just won't fill their obligations. I find it so hard to understand the people who 'flake' out on a swap and avoid me at all costs, as the Swap Hostess. Life happens ... people get laid off, people have health emergencies, and other events that can cause a person to not be able to finish the swap. Things happen that are out of our control, and I always make it clear that anyone in my swaps can contact me and I'll take care of it, not holding them accountable. But if you ignore me, lie, or do any other rather nasty actions, I can get tough. I run a tight ship for my swaps, but ALWAYS a fun time!

SD: What do you think is the most challenging part of hosting a swap? Any advice for someone who is thinking about hosting a swap?

A: I think you have to be very organized. If you are just starting out, limit the number of people you want to include. I think 12 people in a swap, including yourself, is a good place to start. Have a friend help you host it if you want. Set up the information for the people in your swap on a spreadsheet, or another form of organizing. Be detailed and specific with your rules and make sure that they are clear to everyone. And most of all, have fun.

SD: Any exciting plans for the near future? Swaps, projects, new products?

A: I'm just finishing up with a swap on Ravelry, and I'm trying to get a round-robin scarf swap going. I also have a knitting charity for the homeless in my area called Warm Up Winchester, and I'm looking to get more active and organized with that this year as well.

Awesome! Best of luck in everything, Amy!

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