Leslie Simon

There are many benefits to owning a store devoted to making beautiful things. One of the best is meeting talented people. It is particularly satisfying when the materials and products we sell help them discover a new perspective in life. The creative path has a way of leading people to new doorways. Here is a story that we think illustrates that point well.

My name is Leslie Horan Simon. I am an artist and for most of my life, I have been a painter. Within the past decade, fiber has become my medium of choice. That change has allowed me to develop techniques and work that have been very satisfying. There is an inspiring story behind this recent development in my life. I have been asked to share it with you on the Knitty City blog.

A number of years ago, my life took a dramatic turn. As a result of childhood trauma, a painful part of my memory was unknown to me. As I began the process of remembering, it became necessary to deal with the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that was the result. It felt like a sudden revelation, but as I learned more, I understood why I had suppressed the memories and why they resurfaced. In the process, I began the long slog from sad and fragile to where I am now: strong and filled with life. 

I got pleasantly lost in the colors and textures of the beautiful fibers.

As good fortune would have it, the office of one of my doctors was only a block away from Knitty City. The store looked warm and welcoming, and I soon found myself spending time in the shop. I got pleasantly lost in the colors and textures of the beautiful fibers. I distinctly remember Pearl’s friendly manner and her questions about my plans for the yarn I was buying. I began to go there several times a week.

[The knitters] also seemed to be very happy. I know, now, that this is a common state of affairs at Knitty City.

I was a new knitter back then, but soon my skills improved. My psychological state improved, as well. In time, I began to make a few tentative moves into the realm of friendship. Eventually, I dared to sit down at “the knitting table,” where the (mostly) women seemed to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject. They also seemed to be very happy. I know, now, that this is a common state of affairs at Knitty City.

Eight years have passed and I now have a whole community of friends from those early days. Today, I am an experienced hand and machine knitter. I also crochet, spin, weave, felt, needle-felt, embroider, and create yarn-related works of art. Fiber is now my medium of choice and I feel that the work that I am doing is the best I have ever done.

Soon I began to blend my own fiber using the types of wool I wanted. I was able to come up with the exact color combinations I needed for my work and I was in heaven!

Not that long ago, I joined the spinning group that meets at Knitty City on Sunday afternoons. As an artist and a colorist, in particular, I was drawn to creating my own yarn. Mary, one of Knitty City's teachers, taught me how to spin on a Turkish spindle and I took to it immediately. Soon I began to blend my own fiber using the types of wool I wanted. I was able to come up with the exact color combinations I needed for my work and I was in heaven! I began to develop some special blends using all sorts of fibers. Take a look at a few:

Ruffy" batt: highly textured art batt; with "EXTRA" Hand dyed Cotswold locks

Ruffy" batt: highly textured art batt; with "EXTRA" Hand dyed Cotswold locks

"Bunny Tummy" BATT:  a combination of exotic fibers like cashmere, qiviut, vicuna, yak, mink.

"Bunny Tummy" BATT:  a combination of exotic fibers like cashmere, qiviut, vicuna, yak, mink.

Everything that I make and sell is designed with heart and the best materials.

It occurred to me that I might be able to sell these custom blends.  I had often thought of opening an Etsy shop. This year I did it! I now have a shop called RUNIKOfiber, where I sell a range of my handmade products: Batts, needle-felted earrings of my own design, handspun yarn, and an assortment of gift tags that I have designed for the fiber lover. Everything that I make and sell is designed with heart and the best materials. These nature-inspired earrings are a favorite of mine. You can find more examples of yarn, jewelry, and gift tags in the shop. 

Periwinkle "Forget me not" earrings are needle felted studs with beaded embellishment

Periwinkle "Forget me not" earrings are needle felted studs with beaded embellishment

It is work-intensive, but it is a labor of love. Please take a few minutes to look at RUNIKOfiber, and let me know what you think. Until September 30, I am offering a 30% discount to the readers of this blog. Simply insert the code kcblog when you check out and the sale price will be adjusted.

Finally... I want to say this: Creative work can be transformative. If one can approach it with intention and have the additional blessing of working in a community of like-minded people, transcendence from life’s struggles is certain. Ultimately, my mission is to share my story and to inspire others in their own creative process.

The needle felted crow is in front of one of my felted mosaic art works... it's a work in progress

The needle felted crow is in front of one of my felted mosaic art works... it's a work in progress