Interview with Tammi Williams of yarn&whiskey

The final month of our year-long KAL is sponsored by yarn&whiskey, an iconic and independent project bag brand which launched in January 2020! You might recognise their bold prints from Issue 37: Summer 2021 which contained an advert for their bags. We were delighted to chat with Tammi Williams, owner and founder of yarn&whisky – it was a pleasure to get to know her better! 

Now, over to Tammi...

Describe yarn&whiskey in three words. 

Dynamic. Colourful. Different. 

What are your earliest memories of knitting?

I learned to knit as an adult. The best memories I have are just sitting and knitting with a friend or two or visiting the yarn cafes that used to exist in New York. Those visits were mostly solo endeavours, but it was much-needed time I took for myself.

Who taught you to knit?

I took a class at a shop in New York called Sew Fast Sew Easy. It closed a long time ago. The shop had sewing and knitting classes and I took my first ever sewing class at that shop and later took their Learn to Knit class.

What's your favourite thing about being the owner of yarn&whiskey? 

Being my own boss. I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I want to really pursue the things I’ve been curious about and things I’ve wanted to see in the world. When I’m really in the zone, time passes by so quickly and it feels like everything is right in the world in those moments. I feel a kind of 'high'. It doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does, I feel like I’m on the right path. I never got that feeling in my old career in information technology.

Which crafting tools are you never without?

This is going to sound like a plug for my own company, but having a good pouch to put my notions in has really been a life saver. I use a large yarn&whiskey Pop Up pouch for my notions. It fits everything and I always have the tools I need on hand. The pouches are like the Tardis in Doctor Who — they’re bigger on the inside.

Best piece of crafting advice? 

Always carry scrap yarn. You can use it as a life line, stitch marker, or stitch holder in a pinch.

Ever lost a piece of handknitting? 

A sweater I made ended up in the washing machine. It felted and shrunk and I have not forgiven myself for it.

What are you most excited about right now?

Being in school full-time to learn how to be a textile designer. It’s a privilege to create just for the sake of creating and I’m grateful for the opportunity every day.

What's on your needles/hook at the moment?

Saknes by Zanete Hussain from Pom Pom Issue 38, Textures Unite by Stephen West, and the Seelig shawl by Katrin Schubert from Pom Pom Issue 30.

What project are you looking to cast on next? 

Given the number of WIPs I’ve got going on right now, I’ve got no business casting on anything new but I’ve been eyeing Tortoiseshell by Sylvia Watts-Cherry for a while now and that may be my next cast on. Really, at the end of the semester, I’d like to just zone out and spin some yarn. I’ve got some great fluff from Passion Knits Yarn in my stash that I’ve been looking at since the summer and I’d love to take it for a spin.

What TV series / book / film are you spending your time with?

There’s a documentary series on Netflix called Explained. The series has episodes about a variety of subjects — from dogs to diamonds to viral dances, but I’ve been really into the spin-off of this series, The Mind: Explained, especially the episode called 'How to Focus' and the one about creativity.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

That’s a hard one. I wanted to be something different every other week! One week it was oceanographer, the next week it was fashion designer, and the week after that it was journalist. I was all over the place.

What was the last thing to make you laugh? 

Larry David’s portrayal of George Steinbrenner on Seinfeld is always good for a chuckle. I recently watched the one where George has a nap nook built under his desk and it’s a classic.

What's on the speakers while you're working / what music are you listening to?

Lots of hip-hop. Specifically Nas, The Roots, Common, Pharcyde, and Rakim. When I’m not listening to hip hop, I’ve got Radiohead, David Bowie, and Bjork thrown into the mix.

It's break time! What's your go-to snack? 

That would be Oreos!

Favourite issue of Pom Pom?

That one’s easy. It’s Issue 26. The one with Catherine Clark’s Ixchel sweater on the cover. I loved knitting that sweater, I loved who was wearing the sweater, and I LOVED the cover. Rarely do you see Black women with grey hair on the cover of magazines. That was your most elegant cover to date.

 

How would you describe your colour palette?

A combination of colour and pattern that hits you right in the face. It’s bright, it’s loud, and it’s unapologetic.

What's your beverage of choice?

Manhattan with bourbon on the rocks. 

Desert island yarn?

If my yarn stash tells me anything, it would be any yarn that is purple or has purple in it. 

Which other craft would you love to try?

Tunisian crochet. I just bought Toni Lipson’s The Tunisian Crochet Handbook: A Beginner’s Guide and I can’t wait to learn!

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Thank you, Tammi!

Tammi has made a project bag specially for one of December's KAL winners, so enter our KAL before 4th January to be in with a chance of winning! Remember that WIP and FO photos are eligible, so there's no pressure to cast off that final make of 2021. Any project from any publication by us is welcome! You can enter by: