Meet Holly, owner of Birdhouse Yarns, and fearless leader of the Birdhouse flock.
Holly wasn’t always the professional knitting ninja you see before you today. She started off as a French major, worked at a public television station as a producer; sold real estate; was an office manager at an acting school in New York City; studied energetic healing, and was a personal assistant and eventually bookkeeper to the stars – oh the stories she could tell. When her family moved to Arizona, Lynn Davis of Kiwi Knitting hired her as a knit doctor and Holly loved that so much when Lynn retired and sold the shop, Holly bought it.
What was the first thing you knitted, or crocheted?
Holly: I don’t remember the first thing I knitted when I first learned. I probably didn’t finish it. But when I went away to college I suddenly had a huge desire to knit myself a scarf. It was January in Michigan so it seemed like a good idea. I remember the yarn as being thin, but it was probably worsted. The scarf was a rich navy blue and I knit a small basketweave pattern. It felt like it took forever, but it was wonderful when I finished. I wore it for a couple of years, but then I lost it one night at a movie.
That’s terribly sad about the loss of the scarf, hopefully it went on to a home that also loved it.
Who taught you to knit and crochet?
Holly: My mother, Barbara taught me to knit. She was always doing many different kinds of crafts when I was growing up. Knitting was the one that was the most interesting to me. I taught myself to crochet one winter in my thirties when I wanted to make a special present for a friend.
If you were stuck on a desert island and could take only one yarn and have one pattern what would they be?
Holly: Hopefully the desert island would be off Nova Scotia or Greenland or Iceland or an Aran Island. I would take the softest, wooliest, yarn with a high twist I could find. No pattern (Does that mean I can take more yarn?) I would just have fun playing with different stitch patterns and texture stitches and colors. I’d knit everything I wore from my underwear to my socks. I might even make felted boots!
I bet you have a lot of WIPs (works in progress)?
Holly: Yikes! Too many! I knit mostly for the shop, but certain projects I see pull me in, or I have an idea for a new design and I have to try it out. These kind of projects sometimes languish as the next project for the shop needs more attention. The most important thing is a blanket I am making for a friend that is facing radiation and chemotherapy.
That’s lovely… I’m sure it will be a warm fiber hug of love.
Clearly you took your love of fiber to a whole other level by opening a yarn store, what is it about fiber arts?
Holly: Fiber arts fulfills so many of my comfort needs. It is beautiful to watch the different colors on their own or blended together. The tactile pleasure of the fiber and the needles or hook; the symmetry and patterns that come together, hold each other up, swoop away in opposite directions; the warmth of the item in my hands as I create it and the warmth of a smile when I give that item to the intended recipient.
Knitting and crochet can be pretty addictive, has it become all consuming, how else do you spend your time?
Holly: I spend time with my family and friends just relaxing. Our local synagogue plays an important role in our lives and I enjoy studying Jewish texts and values too. I read – mostly mysteries or books about long walks or essays about human behavior. I go to the movies or I binge watch shows mostly on Acorn and knit and crochet.
Alright Holly, final question: Where did the name Birdhouse Yarns come from? Are you a birder?
Holly: Nope. Not a birder. I always loved cardinals and robins, but didn’t think about birds much until naming the shop. Funnily, I think about birds a lot more now. Living in Southern Arizona which is a birder’s heaven, the bird theme is appropriate.
Holly’s Birdhouse Yarn Name: High Twist Cardinal