On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about building a business in knitting with my guest Gaye Glasspie.

Gaye Glasspie a.k.a GGmadeit better known as GG is a 50 something-year-old who fell in love with knitting late in life – in just the last 9 or 10 years. 

She is self-taught via YouTube and some wonderfully friendly yarn stores and she is obsessed with all things orange. GG discovered knitting during a very challenging time in her life -knitting is her ride or die, her BFF, her kind of therapy. Knitting has also become a beautiful bridge into a world of wonderful people and a way to universally connect with others.

This episode is sponsored by Alive with Purpose.

Beautiful, high-quality hand-dyed yarns for a cause.

“Alive with Purpose” provides beautiful, high-quality hand-dyed yarns for a cause: a portion of all sales proceeds benefits mental health supporting organizations in Minnesota. While the name doesn’t necessarily “scream” yarn, your purchase will effectively reaffirm that all persons, regardless of diagnosis, are indeed, “Alive with Purpose”.  From now through August 31st, enter coupon code CIA2020 for a 15% discount on any purchase! Go to alivewithpurpose.org to learn more. 

GG modeling a handknit. Photo by Patty McGuire.

We begin the interview by talking about Gaye’s childhood growing up as her mother’s only child. Gaye has always been a writer, enjoying writing in her diary and entertaining herself as a kid. She studied hard and had aspirations for herself, and her mother had high expectations for her when she was in school.

Gaye went on to have a long career in sales at Verizon where she rose through the ranks and led a large sales team. Gaye explains the ways in which she was able to bring out the best in each of the people she worked with, giving them the type of attention they needed. She describes herself and her personality as a mother hen and caretaker.

Although Gaye learned to crochet as a child at summer camp, it was while at Verizon that she discovered knitting. First, she found a knitting kit while cleaning the rewards closet and gave knitting a try. Then, after admiring a co-worker’s chunky knit hat, she ended up getting a knitting lesson at work and quickly became obsessed. When, not long after, Gaye’s personal and professional life started to unravel, she turned to knitting for solace. She says she wrapped her heart in yarn and knitting saved her.

GG at a STITCHES show with fans and students.

With the encouragement of friends, Gaye began to share her knitting online, through her blog GG MadeIt, on Instagram and Etsy, and her natural ability to coach and connect with others helped her to build a following.

Gaye has always been drawn to the color orange. She talks about being told as a child, and as an adult, that due to her complexion, she couldn’t wear bright colors and how she decided that she should reclaim and rejoice in the color orange. Orange has subsequently become GG’s signature color. She says people frequently send her photos and products that are orange, and she loves it.

Next, we turn to the topic of GG’s experience as a Black woman in the knitting industry. We talk about a very powerful video that Gaye recorded earlier this year called Stand in the Gap. If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend watching it now. Gaye talks about why she made it, and what the impact has been. She also talks frankly about what it’s felt like to be a Black knitter on Instagram this year, getting waves of new followers and attention.

Gaye Glasspie

GG wearing her signature orange.

Finally, we talk about all of the fantastic in-person teaching opportunities GG missed out on this year due to the pandemic, but one bright spot is the opportunity to be a Knit Star. Be sure to check out Gaye’s class, “Sustainable Growth: Finding your own voice through authenticity, consistency, & vulnerability,” which launches this fall.

And, of course, I ask GG to recommend great stuff she’s loving right now. She recommends:

Keep up with Gaye on Instagram, her blog, and on YouTube to see what she’s up to.

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