OPB: Tell us about your design process.
AS: I don't always get inspired in the same way. Sometimes the process is gets its start when I am struck by a texture or pattern I have seen somewhere in nature. Other times I have been looking through stitch dictionaries and something catches my eye and sparks a new idea for a design. Sometimes I just see two skeins of yarn that look amazing together and I look for the best way to combine them.
OPB: What do you look for in fibers? What are some of your favorite materials to work with?
AS: When I am browsing yarns, the thing that catches my eye first is color. After that I go for the squish factor. I like to squeeze the yarn and see how it feels. From there I can decide what I want to make. I am an unabashed equal opportunity yarn hoarder. I love to work with any yarn (animal, vegetable, or mineral) as long as it has character.
OPB: What were you hoping to accomplish with this book?
AS: I was really aiming for two things. The first was to dig in and learn more about the people who literally make the American yarn industry with their hands. The second was more personal: I wanted to play and experiment with these American yarns.
OPB: What are your thoughts on the state of American yarn production these days?
AS: I think it is very exciting. From the independent dyers, to the spinners and those who are raising animals to produce the fiber; there are so many people who love yarn craft and are dedicated to creating quality products. The Internet and social media have made it easier to find and connect with people producing beautiful and interesting yarn. The rich variety makes it difficult not to build a stash.