An interview with Taylor Xavier, owner of Whiskey Knits Fiber Co.
I had the joy of meeting Taylor Xavier last September at Everett Makers Market where we were both vendors and it’s been such a joy getting to know her this year. Her hand-dyed yarn is stunning and I just love their names (like Witching Hour and Under the Sea). And because she prioritizes sourcing the best wool, her knitted goods are oh-so-cozy. I admire her focus and drive for Whiskey Knits Fiber Co. while also creating space to deepen relationships and prioritize personal time for rest and reflection. All that while working a full-time day job! We’re both Millennials and I think she is a great example of what makes our generation great- she builds a career that she’s fully invested in and cultivates a life with deep meaning. I’m looking forward to having more great chats with her now that we’re neighbors here in Everett!
CS: What should we know about you?
TX: Creatively? I'm a fiber artist hell-bent on making knitting accessible for everyone. I'm not your grandmother's knitting company!
Personally, I practice a lot of yoga, and my favorite color is ochre. I love eating and cooking (in that order) and reading. This time of year (Halloween), I'm watching spooky movies and enjoying the last of the sunshine before settling in for the winter.
CS: What brought you to Everett?
TX: I had just moved to Washington and was looking for a poetry open mic in my area. I quickly found Everett Poetry Night at Cafe Zippy and made friends from there. I've been living in Everett for two years now.
CS: In getting to know you, I’ve learned that you’re quite the renaissance person with a background in the culinary arts, photography, poetry and even IT. Tell me a bit about how Whiskey Knits Fiber Co. fits in there and how you started your business.
TX: Oh, you :) I feel like I've been preparing for Whiskey Knits my whole creative life. I run the entire company, soup to nuts, so I have to take photos, do my own website construction and marketing, and there's a lot of public speaking involved with the classes I offer. It's a little bit of everything, but that's part of what makes it so awesome.
CS: Tell me about the process of creating your work.
TX: It starts with a vision. I can see something in my head and I'll play around from there. Lately, I've been making a lot of beanies. I'll pick a few colors and just cast on to see where it will take me!
CS: What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
TX: Yarn, of course!
CS: What’s one thing that’s important to your business that you wish you didn’t have to do?
TX: Packaging. It's a (very important) little thing that I spend way too much time on.
CS: Where do you tend to get your best ideas? In your car? The shower? In your dreams?
TX: My best ideas come when I'm farthest from a pen. I make a point to turn off my phone, get out and learn something art-related every week. Trying new things, especially outside of fiber arts, brings me the most inspiration. I love looking at what other talented fiber artists have made, but knitting is one of those ancient arts where nothing is new anymore. This is awesome, in that there are very established construction methods and a million ways to execute a project, but there are very few newer ways to knit that aren't for specific or niche items.
One of my favorite aspects of knitting is color- I'm obsessed. Looking at new color palettes or getting inspired by the scenery, photography, or other highly visual mediums breathes life into my own creative work.
CS: Tell me about your routine or rhythm to your days and weeks. When are you most creative/productive?
TX: I'm a true morning person, so my day starts around 6AM. I get ready, go to my other job, and get home around four. From there, I'll review the things I need to get done in the evening and go for it! My craft has such a variety of needs, so it's pretty rare that I have a "typical" workday. Some nights I'll be dyeing yarn while I make meals, and other days I'll catch up on cartoons while I finish my latest design. I never know where I'll be.
CS: What separates a Whiskey Knits Fiber Co. product from something we can buy at the craft and big box stores?
TX: Quality, to start! I source the finest wool I can get my hands on. Quality is such an important way to honor what the yarn is used for, especially because there is so much time involved in a single skein (ball of yarn). Many of the sheep I receive wool from are sheared by hand, then washed and spun (also by hand) before it even gets to me. I spend time dyeing the yarn with my hands and, once it's sold, it can spend dozens of hours in someone else's hands when they make a project. Even beyond that, there is the use of the finished product, and the difference in the quality of my yarns can mean years of life for a garment or bag.
CS: What do you wish you had more time to do?
TX: Everything! I work full time in addition to running a business (also full time), so it would be nice to spend more than a few hours at a time with my work.
CS: What are you working on now? Any upcoming events we should know about?
TX: I've been heavily investing my time into some new designs that will be debuting soon! I'll be at the GeekCraft Expo in Seattle on November 24th and 25th. A lot of the pieces I'm working on right now will be available for purchase there, and they may not make it to my website.
CS: Where can we find you online?
TX: whiskeyknits.com is the best place to check out what I'm up to!