Next Tuesday, we are hosting the lovely Leney Breeden of A Girl Named Leney in a Knitwear 101 workshop! Our second workshop in the GOOD VIBES ONLY series, Leney will share her extensive knitting knowledge to help you make your own scarf with sustainably sourced yarn from an exclusive pattern.
We are really excited to introduce you to Leney, as her life experiences extend far beyond her title as Knitting Queen. She's a brilliant photographer, avid blogger, and most recently, the women's buyer at Yesterday's Heroes Vintage. Her energy and joie de vivre is truly magnetic.
Read on to get to know Leney and don't forget to grab your ticket for next week's workshop!
How did knitting become such a passion of yours?
My grandmother taught me when I was eight years old, and though it took a year or two from that point to become as obsessed as I am today, there was something that just sort of clicked and I've been doing it ever since. I'd always been creative as a child, constantly making and inventing, so it just was a natural extension of passions I already had.
While my grandmother gave me that first initial lesson or two, everything I learned after was completely self-taught. I came across a website with knitting how-to videos (this was pre-youtube days so there wasn't as much readily available as there is now!) and watched them religiously. I also would check out every single knitting book the library offered, I even had them notify me anytime there was a new one so I could be the first to read it! From there the rest is pretty much history. It's something I've done nearly every day since then and I literally cannot imagine my life without it.
You're a successful Etsy seller, photographer, and blogger! How do you find time to manage all of that and execute it so beautifully?
It is a constant learning process I have to admit! I am by no means an expert at it and what you see online is hardly telling the whole story. Example: I'm currently answering these questions in Batman boxers, I haven't showered today, I didn't do my yarn spinning homework for this class I'm taking which means I'll have to probably stay up late doing that and I haven't been to the grocery store in two weeks so I think all I have in the fridge is beer, kale and some almond milk... if that gives you any indication of how un-beautiful my life can be on occasion! ;)
However, I think the biggest thing that's helped me in the pursuit of balancing a multi faceted business is learning that I have to first and foremost take care of myself. Physically, mentally and spiritually. And that when one of those areas suffers, the rest do as well and indirectly so does my business.
Because what I do is so wholly reliant on me, as I'm a one woman show, it's really easy for me to get caught up in overworking myself and getting into habits that result in not enough sleep, stress, and inconsistent work hours. So I've found that one of the most important things in running a business is taking time to rest and recuperate and live a life outside of my job. The line of which can be hard to define at times, as I do so love what I do and my job is very incorporated into my day to day lifestyle. But, as cliche as it might be to say, it's also a lot of just taking one thing at a time. Which is hard when I have multiple deadlines with orders, photo editing, emails, writing, meetings, travels etc. -I definitely have a hard time not wanting to multitask! But I've learned when I focus on one thing at a time I produce better work and I'm able to get more done in the long run. Essentially it's about quality vs. quantity.
You are also a buyer at Yesterday's Heroes right? Tell us about your style habits and what do you look for in great vintage clothing?
Yes! I've been working with Drew for a few months now helping him source and buy women's goods for the shop as well as doing some merchandising, photography and website building. He's an awesome person to work with and we have a lot of fun! It's also been really wonderful to have an outlet for my love of vintage and second-hand shopping because I've been passionate about that my whole life.
As with my grandmother and knitting, I learned how to thrift from another influential woman in my life: my Momma. I developed a love of my own for it after being taken along to many a rummage sale and thrift shop all throughout my childhood. I've also always had various relatives who are constantly passing down their eclectic clothing and odds and ends over the years so I've developed a taste and preference for things, whether it's clothing or furniture, with stories of their own that precede my time. They just strike me as more interesting and because of their already well-lived lives seem to invite more love and value in their care taking and enjoyment.
My style is somewhat eclectic... Someone once described me as a "classic minded, free spirited Americana-folk-hippie" if that helps give you an idea at all haha. But I don't necessarily ascribe to any one style. Although you'll be hard pressed to see me wearing much color as I mostly gravitate towards blues and muted tones (something that also translates through my photography work). I do wear a lot of denim. Mostly pieces that were my Mothers. The wearing of "Mom jeans" is actually literal when it comes to my wardrobe.
Speaking of vintage style, what are your favorite spots in Richmond to score a good find?
For furniture and odds and ends, Class and Trash. For clothing, honestly I thrift all over but the already beautifully curated vintage shops we have here in Richmond are so great and there's no end to them. Yesterday's Heroes, Addison Vintage, NA NIN, Rosewood, Blue Bones, Halcyon.... I can't really choose just one! They all have their own distinct style and collection which appeals to my eclectic taste.
Lastly, what's on the horizon for A Girl Named Leney? Any new projects or collaborations we can expect from you this year?
I am falling more in love with various fiber arts outside of knitting, specifically spinning yarn which I am currently working on mastering, or at least, becoming better at! I really hope to incorporate hand-spun yarn into more of my designs in the near future. There's a lot currently up in the air, though. I'm mostly just working on implementing my own advice and taking one thing at a time and enjoying the process. Wherever that leads... hopefully to living on a sheep farm for a bit and learning how to sheer sheep myself.