Ashwood Fibreworks first appeared on our radar back in December, and for good reason: Owner Kathryn Pettitt’s crocheted creations are so beyond beautiful. We were slow to get this interview written (#startuplife, #stupiddayjobs, #sorrykat) but weeks later, we’re no less wowed by her incredible talent (scroll to the bottom for her bunnies!).
Trinket: How did you get started with Ashwood Fibreworks?
Kat Pettitt: I started crocheting about a year and a half ago, but since then, I'd had to take some time off work with some health issues and needed a project to help with anxiety. It also gave me something to do when I was having some mobility issues, so it was something to fill my days when I couldn’t do the things I wanted to be doing.
T: Did the pandemic factor in at all?
KP: Well, that’s when I really started teaching myself. I started watching YouTube videos and crocheting blankets and scarves for myself. Eventually I started crocheting things for family and friends, and then people would see something and reach out and say, “I’ll pay you for your time and materials.” I thought, “Okay, great, I can only own so many hats before my husband says I have to get rid of some” so the business was born from there. I set up my Instagram account in October to showcase what I was making and connect with other makers, but eventually I started getting requests from people to buy.
T: We noticed you have pompoms and stuff now. Did you start sourcing items to enhance your work?
KP: I get pompoms from someone in Welland, but how that happened was, I started checking out who other people were tagging for their materials. Most of them were in the US, which was really expensive when you factored in the exchange and shipping and stuff, but I eventually found someone on Etsy who sold poms more locally. We’re actually friends now and we chat on Instagram all the time. We haven’t met yet, because of the pandemic—I drive down to get pompoms but we always do a contactless exchange. It’ll be so nice when we can actually meet in person.
T: Did you hit any supply issues with the stores being closed?
KP: There are a couple of yarn stores close to me and a lot of them closed at the beginning of the pandemic until they could sort out curbside pickup. You know, yarn is one of those things you’re meant to go in and touch and feel to decide what you want to work with, so online wasn’t as much of a thing. Plus, I’d kind of fallen in love with natural fibres, like the softness of merino wool, rather than the generic acrylic of a bigger box store. So, Instagram came into play again, because I was able to sort of hunt to see who other people tagged for their materials. This also let me support other small businesses, too.
T: It sounds like crocheting started out as a necessity to fill time and take your mind off of things but now it has brought some pretty serious joy into your life. Would you say that’s true?
KP: Absolutely. I’ve been off work for a while, and I was supposed to be rehabbing from a surgery right when the pandemic hit, but then everything shut down. Being stuck in the house during the day, there wasn’t a ton for me to do and I couldn’t work on healing as I’d wanted to, so this was rewarding and fulfilling.
T: It must be so nice to see people wearing your creations, too.
KP: It’s pretty satisfying, yeah. When I see people in the neighbourhood who have purchased something, or like my son’s friends’ parents—that’s pretty awesome. Seeing my stuff out in the world is so nice.
T: So what’s next for Ashwood Fibreworks?
KP: My hope is to be able to go to the local vendor and maker markets,
and to local shops in town, to sell eventually. I am knitting and crocheting and stocking inventory for that to hopefully become a reality. None of that was available this year, so it was all word of mouth and social media. I was a little late getting started this winter and people already had their cold-weather gear, but I’ll be ready for next year.
NOT JUST HEADWEAR, EITHER: World's cutest Easter bunnies, anyone?