Can it be? Are we less than four weeks away from GeekCraft Expo PDX, May 12 and 13 at the Oregon Convention Center? Sorry, busy exhibitors: it's true! But in all seriousness, we couldn't be more excited for this year's handmade geeky craft fair. Whether it's your first time at our show or your third (represent!), we've got things that will wow you--and Mom!
One of our new exhibitors, Boss Kitty, is bringing an amazing array of hand-dyed yarn to the show! Full disclosure: Boss Kitty herself, Simi Loyd, is a former co-worker of mine at Things From Another World. Yes, you can be jealous now. But don't let that keep you from learning all about the secret origins of Boss Kitty and what she's bringing this year!
GeekCraft Expo: What’s your secret origin: how did you become inducted into geek culture?
Simi Loyd: While some people are raised surrounded by finery and class, I was raised around nerdery and geekdom. Sci-fi, comics and tabletop gaming were huge influences in my life as a young child. When I was seven years old my parents put together a Dungeons & Dragons campaign for all of the kids in the family (all the adults played on a weekly basis) I remember my fighter sorceress fondly, and after rolling my first D20 I never looked back.
GCE: How did you learn to knit, and when did it evolve into an interest in yarn itself?
SL: When I was in my early twenties I had my gallbladder removed. Because I was a hooligan without insurance, the hospital put off the surgery until my liver began to fail. I was in the hospital for over a week. The night I got out my boyfriend broke up with me—I was devastated . . . and bed ridden.
My mother, who is one of my closest friends, came over and handed me a set of knitting needles and yarn. She told me that feeling sorry for myself was a waste of my time and that I deserved better. So, instead of wallowing in self-pity I put my hands to work and tried to create something beautiful. I know it sounds silly but knitting saved my life emotionally.
I learned to dye yarn a few years later when I worked for a local yarn shop here in Portland. However, I didn't look at it as a business possibility until a couple years ago. There are so many beautiful hand dyed yarns out there, but most of them are earth tones and muted colors. I wanted something that demanded a person's attention, something that screamed from half way across the room. Bright, bold, and quirky: and so Boss Kitty was born. The best part of Boss Kitty is being Boss Kitty. Every show I put on my ears with my bow tie and vest and I play the part with pride. Kids love it. They ask to take their picture with me while their parents are checking out the inventory—it's fantastic.
GCE: Can you describe how you dye your yarn?
SL: “Secret's in the sauce”—that's the quote, right? Seriously though, all of my yarn is dyed with acid base dyes. I tend to use more citric acid and high quantities of dye in order to create vibrant colors that practically glow.
GCE: What interests you in terms of color? How do you come up with your colorways?
SL: I find inspiration for my colorways in just about everything. We have a colorway called “Hazel,” after my cat, that is a combination of black, grey and white. It was inspired by snow on the side of the road and how it goes from bright white to dirty grey to the black asphalt.
I get a lot of inspiration for comic book characters, pop culture and childhood games. I have a whole line of yarn dedicated to The Muppets; it’s full of bright pinks, screamin' greens, and purples that would make your eyes pop.
GCE: What are your favorite geeky movies, TV shows, comics, or video games?
SL: Oh geez, way to make this hard. I love Excalibur, it's just so bad it's good. As far as TV shows go, contrary to how most people seem to feel about it, I really think Gotham is great. It's not canon, but I think that's okay. I like that it gives a new spin to the world of Batman.
I have to be honest, I haven't read a ton of comics since my days behind the counter at Things From Another World. However, I've always loved offbeat comics like Y: the Last Man more than the heroic type in tights. I've never been a huge video game fan, but the original Zelda and Ocarina of Time will always be close to my heart.
GCE: What is your favorite convention snack?
SL: Jerky. Mmmmmmm little dry meat bits . . . soooo good. [Ed. note: Oh yes, I remember this from SDCC.]
GCE: What are you bringing to GeekCraft Expo PDX this spring?
SL: I'm super excited about the inventory I've got for you guys! I've got a tone of bold solid colors, some darker tones with a nice brass undertone, lots of speckled yarn, multi-colored yarn ,and currently, exclusive to Boss Kitty, our one-of-a-kind speckled gradient yarn. I'm also bringing specialty Boss Kitty stitch markers in all sorts of colors. The majority of Boss Kitty yarn is a sock weight superwash merino. However, I'm hoping to have my new line of worsted weight available as well!
Our thanks to Simi for the great interview. Make sure to stop by every single booth at GeekCraft Expo PDX this year and explore irresistible awesomeness!