We had the chance to catch up with the very busy and very awesome Pam and Mark from Indian Lake Artisans. Many of you have had a chance to try their luscious needles for the first time during the challenge, many of us have been fans for years. So let’s listen in….
Q: How did y’all get started making knitting needles?
A: How did we get started making knitting needles? That is a very good question. We’re not really sure. No really, it was all my idea and when I received my first patent we thought maybe we’d try to figure out how to make knitting needles. It has been quite the adventure. We launched our company just over 6 years ago with 9 total products; sizes 10, 11, and 15 single points, from three woods and 14″ long. 9 total things. Today we make 392 variations of needles and that doesn’t include all the custom ones. Our customers love that we actually handcraft every thing we sell and source all of our services and materials from Michigan companies. People love supporting the made in Michigan, made in USA workmanship.
Q: Why hexagonal?
A: The shape provides multiple resting points for your fingers so you don’t have to grip the needle as tightly to hold onto it and control it. When thinking about the shape, six sided like a pencil, the yarn stretches around the points of the hexagon and this keeps your stitch gauge true to size. The flat area of the shape is resting under the yarn just a little bit. It provides a little extra space for you to easily pick up your stitch. You never have to force anything. Knitting multiple stitches together, knitting into the front and back of the same stitch, has never been easier. You get a uniform tension to your knitting and a very nice, crisply defined stitch.
Q: What is your favorite Sheep and Wool Show and Why?
A: Oh my gosh, this is so difficult to answer. We will travel to a dozen shows this year and catch up with many friends along the circuit. Meeting the knitters that stop by our booth to experience the needles, is a lot of fun. Knitters are pretty great folks! We started the year at VogueKnittingLIVE in Times Square and after crisscrossing the country from California to Maine and Vermont, Minnesota to Maryland, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, New York and our home state of Michigan, we’ll finish our 2016 tour at SAFF in North Carolina. As you might imagine the venues range from small quaint county fairgrounds and fancy hotels, to the amazing fairgrounds that host Maryland Sheep and Wool and the New York State Sheep and Wool festival. We love them all!
Q: Pam- What is your favorite thing to knit?
A: I like knitting a variety of things. I love cowls and felted mittens. With my leisure time at a minimum, I’ve been knitting smaller projects lately; cowls, fingerless mitts and hats, while my sweaters and vest remain in the UFO category. Next year I’ll be ready to participate in the Fall Sweater Challenge. Mark says, “Sure you will.” 😉
Q: Pam- What is your favorite size needle to knit with?
A: Needle size varies of course depending on project, but I’d say size 6 and 7’s.
Q: Mark- What is your favorite thing to knit?
A: I haven’t been knitting long enough to have a favorite. I really enjoyed knitting gloves for presents last year and I believe our awesome double points were a huge reason for my success. Currently, I’m knitting my first holey project for my momma, using Green Mountain Spinnery, mewesic in Diamonds and Rust. It’s pretty. (Actually he said, perty)
Q: Mark- What is your favorite size needle to knit with?
A: Size 10 of course.
Q: Can you tell us where you get your gorgeous wood for your needles from?
A: All of the wood we use is North American hardwood, from sustainable forests in the Great Lakes region, walnut, cherry and maple. The natural wood is wonderful for knitting, warm in your hand and finished with a 100% beeswax from northern Michigan. It’s sourced from a millworks about an hour from our house. The walnut is the darkest of the three woods and will have the most drag, the cherry is in the middle and honey colored, and the maple is the lightest in color tone, the strongest and the slickest.
Q: Pam- What is your favorite wood to knit with?
A: I don’t really have a favorite wood. I usually select a wood that has a good contrast for my yarn.
Q: Mark- What is your favorite wood to knit with?
A: Maple (Hey! thats my favorite!!!)
Q: What would your ideal knit night be?
A: A picnic on the dock with some homebrew, summer wise, and in front of a roaring fire in our little lakeside log cabin in winter.
Q; Mark- What is your favorite beer to pair with your needles? (Their secret hobby is brewing their own beer!)
A: Pairing beer with knitting.
Winter – Scotch Ale
Spring – Vienna
Summer – Pale Ale
Fall – Porter
Anytime, Trippel. However Trippel makes for short knitting sessions LOL.
Q: Can you tell us what is new in the Indian Lake Artisans product line lately?
Interchangeables! We are so excited to introduce our interchangeable circular knitting needles to the knitting world!! We have made a truly interchangeable circular with a very smooth, stainless steel, nickel free, connector. There’s no catching of your fiber as it transitions from needle to cord and back again. The swivel on the cord prevents the needles from unscrewing themselves as you knit, a big frustration when using interchangeables. The sets, The Margaret, The Ellen and The Artisan, named after my mother, all come in a beautifully handmade needle case. Her art and craftsmanship have been a huge influence on my life as she taught me enjoyment and appreciation of the arts.
Thank you so much for interviewing us Susie! We are happy to be a part of the inaugural Fall Sweater Challenge. It’s been fun to see so many different sweaters from all across the United States. All who participated have already won the best prize of all, their own one of kind artpiece. The Inaugural Fall Sweater Challenge results, sweaters were finished, prizes were won, and much fun and merriment was had by all!
As a thank you please, enjoy our coupon code, 2ndChance, for a 10% savings on our website marketplace, expiration 10/10/16. Good luck with the Fall Sweater Challenge 2016 and beyond.
Thank you Pam and Mark! You guys are the best! It has been such a pleasure getting to know you over the years! -Susie