We first met Annri as a customer. She often came to the shop with our mutual friend (and jewelry maker extraordinaire) Nancy, and her arrival always made it seem like the sun had come out: She is endlessly creative and generous with her time and prodigious talents, and she was always wearing something beautiful that she'd made by hand. Truth be told, we'd actually heard of Annri a few months before we opened. We were deep into planning when a former coworker mentioned, "If you're opening a yarn store, you'll probably meet Annri. She's our knitting fairy godmother." Flash-forward a couple of years to 2019: We were heading into the holiday season when Annri suggested that if we needed help handling the busy season, she was available. Not wanting to run the risk of losing track of that casual suggestion, we had her on the shop schedule within a week or so and now can't imagine Spun without her. The moniker "knitting fairy godmother" doesn't do justice to everything she brings to our lives. We expect many of you who haven't met her in person have enjoyed a Zoom private lesson or two with her over the break. She's helped out people everywhere from Hong Kong to the University of Oxford, and seemingly all points in between. She's taught classes and hosted drop-ins and helped Carol figure out any number of things at the shop. And, when we were chatting about creating a series of videos to explain some basic techniques, Annri said, "I'll try it." A dozen videos later, with the help of her daughter Hana, and we're surprised she hasn't hired an agent. This week, we asked Annri a few questions about her life in fiberland.
What kinds of knitting are your favorites?
My favorite type of project is the one where there is a bit of clever construction. I like that moment when I go from being puzzled to the moment when things click, and I get it. I also like anticipation and puzzles, so mystery knit-alongs intrigue me.
What is your knitting background—why you learned, where you're at now?
I learned to knit as a child from my mother and then my oldest sister (note, I learned how more than once!). It didn’t really stick for me though until I began to procrasti-knit in college. It’s been a constant companion since then. Thanks to my work at Spun, these days my love for knitting now counts as work, and I am surrounded by like-minded coworkers that really help blur the line between work and fun! I enjoy teaching and helping with knitting because I want to help folks enjoy their creativity. I also value the work of hands, so teaching such skills is important to me.
Do you have a project you love the most?
Asking me if I have a project I love the most is like asking me which is my favorite color; I cannot give a straight answer! I always have socks on needles. I am distracted by small knits (toys, booties, hand-warmers). And there is nothing like pulling on a handknit sweater . . . See? I can’t decide!
What advice would you give to someone who is just learning how to knit?
My advice to someone who is learning to knit is to choose to learn with projects that light you up, that spark. They will keep your interest strong when you feel challenged. I taught a friend to knit who chose socks as her first project! Wee blankets for a beloved toy can be a great start! Will is important. And if using a pattern, a well-written one is key!
What are you working on right now?
The “knitting right now list” is loooong! I am NOT a monogamous knitter (see earlier comments about distraction). Topping the list right now: Honeybug Bloomers, Lyne Socks, Winter Starlight, Hana, and Myrtil Bear. Oh, and I’m crocheting a Half Granny Square Shawl with the crochet-along group!
What is a knitting tool you just couldn't live without?
Regarding tools, I have a thing for scissors but couldn’t live without my Clover bent-tip needles and their cute case (the sound of them rattling around in my notions pouch makes me unreasonably happy).