A Girl Named Leney

The Knitting Queen

www.agirlnamedleney.com

It's something a friend called me once, and it's a monicker that's just sort of stuck ever since. 

I’ve been a maker since I was a little girl. 
While sitting on a taupe-colored couch, clutching pencil-sized, red plastic knitting needles and variegated green and purple acrylic yarn, my grandmother introduced me to what is now one of my biggest passions. To say that it’s now more of a lifestyle than a hobby for me is a bit of an understatement. 
I've been knitting for about 15 years now, and to be able to do it as part of my job is such a dream. 

Aside from that first initial knitting lesson from my grandmother when I was a little girl, I'm completely self-taught. As a result, designing or more accurately at the time: "making things up as I go along", just sort of became second nature. 
I design and create all of my knitted and crocheted pieces myself, as well as make every single item that ships out from the shop. (This might change in the near future as the whole supply and demand rules are starting to come into play... but as of now you can know that if you order a knit from my shop, I'm the lady who makes it for you!)
A lot of the pieces are born out of necessity: needing a new scarf, a certain colored hat, or a sweater that layers just so, but it's not just that, I truly love designing and creating. 

I find inspiration in so many things, and that inspiration is always evolving and changing. However, I do have a few constant sources, and one is the open water. There’s something about being surrounded by all that blue that evokes in me a special kind of soul searching, and in turn, inspiration. I’m the daughter of a sailor - a second generation romantic, adventurer and explorer. I’ve grown up being around the water, in some capacity, my whole life. My wayward, gypsy soul has led me to not just discover things, but also to challenge them. I sometimes break the rules a bit in the initial discovery and testing, which is something I incorporate in my design process quite often. I think this trait, coupled with the fact that I don’t have a background in corporate education, is what’s given me the ability to achieve my dreams in so many ways. There were never limitations. I never knew what I couldn’t do. I truly saw, and have always seen, the world as my oyster. I’ve always believed that if I want something, the only thing that stands between it and me is hard work. I’m so blessed to have a family who has supported and encouraged that mindset, in particular.

Another source of inspiration for me is people, and the endless details that make them who they are.
The clothes they wear, what they like to watch on Netflix, whether they prefer donuts or cupcakes (as if there's even a preference. People who say they prefer cupcakes just haven't had Sugar Shack yet...), the things they’re passionate about and the mannerisms and traits specific to them and only them. I also find inspiration in the art evident in the every day. Whether it’s in the way the morning shadows rest, the sound of rain falling on my busy street, the familiar voice of someone I love, or in the way a stack of books aligns itself just so. I believe there’s beauty in the everyday, routine things that we so often take for granted. I strive to contribute to it with my work, even if only at a small level.

Traveling, though, is one of my biggest motivators, and for me it brings together all of the above inspiration. You can definitely see that in my 2014 spring/summer line, titled On The Road, which involved each piece having its own travel-related story behind its creation. In fact, everywhere I travel I get some yarn to add to my Travel Blanket, which has become one of my most treasured creations. Traveling is what fuels me. Experiencing people and places outside of my routine and comfort zone is what I live for. 

The stories I can be part of when I’m away from home are endless, as are the stories that I have the ability to tell, whether it’s with needles and yarn or a camera. With the pieces I create, I have the ability to be a part of others’ stories as well. 
Whether it's through a sweater worn by a bride on her wedding day, a hat taken on a first out-of-the-country excursion, a dress worn on a first date, or a scarf given as a special gift. Knowing that my designs are worn and enjoyed by people all over the world is so humbling and an honor that I strive not to take for granted.

I have a map in my office of all of the places all over the world that I've sold my knits to, and it's something that still takes me off guard a little when I add a new pin to it. Getting to be a part of so many people's stories in this way is such a privilege.
That aspect, in its essence, is what continually inspires me to create.

P.S. Check out my Etsy Featured Seller piece to learn more about my work and inspiration!