Susan is the sweet and talented fiberista behind Jazz Handz Fusion Fiber. She creates affordable cotton gradient yarns with brilliantly unexpected color combinations. Jazz Handz yarn is unique in that the plies are tied together at intervals rather than plied or twisted. This makes for an airy fabric with excellent stitch definition, perfect for both lacy and textured projects.
1. Do you knit? Crochet? How long had you been in the fiber arts before you started creating yarn?
My love of fiber started when I was 8 and my Great-Great-Aunt Alice taught me needlepoint. She was a wonderful lady and did amazing petit point pictures right up until her death at 102! In high school I was given a crewel kit to make a piece for a school auction. Not knowing how to do any crewel stitches, there was a learning curve. But the piece, and the art, inspired me! I found the love for the feel of yarn in my hands, no matter what the medium!
Then I took a LYS knitting class with my mum. Two things came out of that class, something resembling a sweater, and finding my true fiber art love. I knit whenever I could find time, and money for yarn. Many years later I discovered felting and designed, knit and felted a closet full of purses and bags. But since I didn’t know what to do with them, I drifted slowly away from knitting for awhile.
Then for 5 years I joined with my mum and we created a successful business hand sewing “Pincushion Posies”. But, five years later, it was time for something new. I learned to crochet and then came back to knitting. It felt like I had come home.
2. What inspired you to create your own yarn, and how did you get started?
I love yarn! Wools, cotton, alpaca, you name it. Color is another thing I love. It must be from my pincushion days and years as an art teacher, but color is just as important as the feel of the yarn. After finding gradients, I soon discovered that I couldn’t get a good cotton gradient. There were a few on the market, but I wouldn’t really call them available. I either couldn’t get the colors I wanted, or didn’t want the colors available, but figured that I couldn’t be the only one feeling frustrated about this. So, I set out to create my own yarn in fun colors, that I liked, and make it available to others at a reasonable price.
3. Tell me about your process. What is the hardest part? The most enjoyable?
I start with 4 strands of cobweb weight, cotton. As I spin the yarn into a cake, I cut one strand (at predetermined points) and use a very strong knot and tie on the next color. By staggering these changes in color, a gradient effect is created. Add in lots of time untangling thread-like yarn that misbehaves, and random knots and breaks thrown in by evil yarn mills, and you end with a beautiful cake of colorful yarn.
The knot I use is the magic knot. Videos on how to make the knot can be found on the internet. I would say it’s magic for several reasons. First, it is very, very strong. I test each knot as it’s made and sometimes get a bit too zealous. While the knot has never broken, it is stronger than the yarn, which sometimes breaks as I tug away at it. Second, the knot magically disappears as you knit or crochet right over it. I actually cut the ends very close to the knot itself with sharp embroidery scissors, but most people weave in the ends. Really, it is nearly impossible to find that tiny little knot later on in the finished project. Magic!
The hardest part is actually finding the yarn I use. So I spend far too much time scrounging it up here and there. The actual process involves playing with color, frustration with knots, disappointment with knots and breaks in the yarn on the cone, and a contraption my husband built for me with plans I drew on a napkin!
Playing with color is by far the most fun! Depending on the day, and inspiration, my stash goes from neatly organized to having every color scattered about “playing” with other colors. Sometimes, the best combinations occur when I randomly set yarns down next to one another. It’s always hard to actually make the ones I set about doing in the first place, because others will appear that look much more exciting to me. I think some call that attention deficit, but I call it inspiration!
4. What is your favorite part of owning Jazz Handz Fusion Fiber?
The Jazz Handz Etsy shop, not so much fun. I’m not a fan of, nor completely literate of computers. But it’s also the best part too. I’ve been given the opportunity to meet the nicest people through the shop. I get to make someone happy with what I’ve made, then they take that and create the most beautiful things! It’s very flattering to me when someone chooses my yarn to spend so much time with. They crochet or knit, every day for weeks sometimes, and in the end there’s this brand new beautiful thing in the world! And I think, I had a little bit to do with that!
If you’d like to try some beautiful Jazz Handz yarn, Susan is offering a discount code for 16% off any purchase! That brings the price of a 100 gram skein of luxury gradient yarn to just $14.24. Here’s how to get the discount:
- Go to the Jazz Handz Etsy shop here.
- Add the items you would like to buy to your cart.
- Click on the Cart symbol to view your cart.
- Under the section that says “How You’ll Pay”, click on “Apply shop coupon code”.
- Enter the code 2016KNOTTHEORIST16 and check out.
This offer is open to all countries and will end on January 21, 2016 at midnight PST.
As an additional bonus, Susan has also generously offered to sponsor a giveaway of one skein of Fusion Fiber! To enter, comment below with your favorite Jazz Handz colorway. Then, click here to submit your entry and see ways to earn additional entries. This giveaway is US only and will end on January 21, 2016 at midnight PST.