The TTC, cafes and pretty much anywhere else: production for When Yarn Ends Meet begins whenever two cousins have time to get out their needles and yarn. In our latest article, they tell us how they've turned their passion for knitwork, crocheting, and philanthropy into their own business.

Name:
Kristine Paliuanan & Faye Angeles (cousins)

Suitless Pursuits: Founders of When Yarn Ends Meet

What is When yarn Ends Meet all about?

Kristine: We’re a business that produces made-to-order crocheted items and knitwear.

How’d you come up with your business name?

Faye: Lots of brainstorming. We rejected a lot of names before we picked this one.

Kristine: This was originally started because we got to talking and thought ‘since we do a lot of knitting and crocheting on our own - why not do it together?’ that’s pretty much where the name comes from: when two yarn ends meet, it makes one whole piece.

So this came about because you both noticed each other’s work?

Kristine: It’s weird. We were never really close, because even though we’re cousins, there’s a large gap in our age. But then for Christmas, we both crocheted our gifts to everyone, and when we gave them out at the family party, it was a pretty big surprise.

How did you turn this into a business?

Kristine: I was originally approached by someone involved with the Brampton Farmer’s Market who wanted to wholesale my work, but I don’t have the resources to mass produce things. I turned down the offer to wholesale, but thought that small, made-to-order items would be popular. I remembered Faye was into crocheting, and after connecting with her, things kind of started from there.

And there’s a charity component behind your business right?

Kristine: That’s right. We’re aiming to donate around 10 percent from our profits at the upcoming Brampton Farmer’s Market, and we plan to donate to a different charity every month, most likely starting with Red Cross. The market runs every Saturday from June to October. There’s a specific area just for artists called Art in the Open, and our booth will be there.

So what kinds of things do you make?
Faye: In winter, we make hats, gloves and headbands. Cowls were also pretty popular this year. For summer, we’re starting with crop tops.

Kristine: For the Farmer’s Market, we’re also making market totes: they hold a lot of stuff, and they’re reusable. Outside of that, we make quite a few accessories, including baby rattles, slippers and booties. Most of it is clothing that we’re interested in, or that we feel is trending among young people.

A lot of the time, people look at crocheting and knitting as something older people do, but then we also hear, “That’s so cool, where’d you get that?” and it feels good when we can say that we made it ourselves.

How did you individually start crocheting and knitting?

Faye: I started when I was around six, making dresses for my barbies. My mom taught me how to crochet. I'm pretty sure that’s something you don’t see many kids doing these days, but there are so many things you can do with it.

Kristine: My coworker taught me the basics one day, and from there I was hooked. I spent a lot of time on Google and YouTube figuring out more advanced stuff, and I discovered how much I enjoyed it. One of the first things I made were infinity scarves. Instead of spending money, I thought, “I’m just going to make my own.” It’s really cool because it’s your own creation.

Outside of your business, what do you do full time?

Kristine: I’m a social worker. I work with adults and youth with disabilities. My program’s based on getting people more involved in their communities, teaching life-skills and helping them to make the best use of tools available to them in their community. They’re already independent, but we’re committed to helping them socialize and really be a part of the communities that they live in.

Faye: I recently graduated from Sheridan College’s Social Work program. I currently work part-time as a waitress at Toshi’s Japanese restaurant. Kristine actually helped me get the job!

How do you both find the time to knit and crochet?

Kristine: I do it anywhere. I carry this bag of yarn with me wherever I go, so whether I’m on the bus or at work having a group conversation, I’m knitting or crocheting something. Even when I’m just at home watching TV, I’m crocheting.

Faye: When I was in school, I used to crochet all the time. People used to look at me while I was crocheting and often asked what I was doing. That was also one of the best ways to network too - I’d tell people about our business, and they’d end up following us on social media.

How’s the business side of things going? Outside of the Brampton Farmer’s Market, do you sell online as well?

Kristine & Faye: We’re on Facebook, Instagram, tumblr. People comment on our items, or email us if they're interested in something. Sometimes a friend of a friend will reach out to us and ask for custom work. It’s great though, and we’re doing a good job of making money from the things we create. Right now, we’re still taking our time to grow as we learn the business side.

What are your long term goals?

Faye: We’re aiming to get into the bigger shows that happen in Toronto, like the One-of-a-Kind show, or the Creative Festival.

Kristine: We’re also in the process of creating a catalogue that highlights everything that we make, and people can select their designs from there and create a custom order. It’s very much a made-to-order service. Long term, I’d like to get involved in giving back to the community by donating clothing pieces to hospitals for newborns and cancer patients.

What does crocheting and knitting mean to you?

Faye: It’s fun. It’s something my mom taught me. I like doing something with my hands all the time. I thought it was a waste of time just sitting - why not do something with that?

Kristine: I have to keep busy. I can’t just sit still, even when I’m watching TV. It’s a relaxing leisure activity that I do whenever I get the chance. I can do it for hours.

Do you have any advice for people who want to get into knitting or crocheting?

Kristine: Yes! Anyone can do it. YouTube’s amazing, and you can learn a lot from it. You can honestly make anything from your hands, and it’s just a matter of trying. Make something tangible and exercise those fine motor skills.

Faye: If you’re going to get into crocheting, don’t feel like you’re wasting time if you don't get it right at first. Give yourself time to learn.


More information about Art in the Open at the upcoming Brampton Farmers Market in Brampton, ON:

http://www.artsbrampton.ca/aito.asp

Get in contact with Kristine and Faye, founders of When Yarn Ends Meet:

Email: whenyarnendsmeet@yahoo.ca

Blog: http://whenyarnendsmeet.tumblr.com/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/whenyarnendsmeet

twitter: https://twitter.com/_WYEM_

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