In 2023 we are running a very special campaign spotlighting our amazing teachers. This means that we will be sharing information about their business, finding out what makes them unique, and interviewing them to find out more about them and what services and products they offer. We are so proud of our teachers and really want to show them off whilst giving them the opportunity to promote their businesses. This October and November we are spotlighting the amazing Rachel Armytage from Odd Sock House who you can read more about in the interview below!
Can you give us a bit of background, where you live, family, when you started teaching knitting and how teaching knitting came about for you?
I live in Badsworth, which is a village in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. I live with… my husband, my teenage son Theo, Archie the Lurcher, Dexter the Jack Russell, Daisy the Westie, and three chickens; Barbara, Dua Lipa (don’t ask!) and Camilla. I have a daughter who has finally left home this year at the age of 27 and she lives with her boyfriend and their Labrador, Trevor. She is a teacher, teaching A-level Fashion and Textiles at New College in Doncaster. I became involved in the knitting business back in the early 90’s when I was fortunate to open a yarn shop called Ganzie in the Corn Exchange in Leeds and I just sold Rowan Yarns. That was when I first became interested in teaching people to knit and I have dabbled in and out of teaching over the years.
Can you tell us a bit more about your business, what inspired you, how it works, what you offer and how long you have been established?
Odd Sock House evolved by accident really - I love knitting scrappy socks and I had done a few workshops teaching sock knitting in the local yarn shop Sew Susie Bloom in Castleford when I was asked if I sold my socks. As I had so many I thought I might as well sell them, and by posting on my Instagram page I soon gained a following of happy sock knitters. Between myself and my husband we came up with the idea of making kits for people to make their own scrappy socks and so the madness began. Like many yarn shops, it is a seasonal business and I sell on Etsy and in an independent yarn shop in Huddersfield called Crafty Praxis. We are entering our third year and loving every minute of it.
How did you become involved with Knitting For All?
I became involved with Knitting For All after I saw an advert in one of the Rowan magazines. At that time it was a franchise and I really liked the prospect of being a knitting teacher with all the support of being part of a growing concern. I was all ready to go up to Edinburgh for the training when I discovered that I had breast cancer so that idea had to go on hold for a while. When I recovered I started Odd Sock House but still wanted to teach knitting so when Kerry started an online course I was ready and willing to take part.
What has been your experience of being connected to Knitting For All over the years?
I have loved the support and resources that Knitting For All provide and I have moved on from teaching lessons in my kitchen to now being involved in a non-profit organisation called Stitch-Up which is based in Meanwood, Leeds. Stitch-up is a modern craft school which helps people to learn a new skill, feel good and support the local community. At present, I run workshops to teach basic knitting skills and how to knit socks. I have a new community knitting course coming up in the near future which I am very excited about.
What do you enjoy about being part of the Knitting For All team?
I love being part of the Knitting For All team as whenever you have a question about anything to do with knitting or fibre in general there is always someone who can help with the answer. We get together once a year at Rowan Yarns to find out about the new seasons collection, and come together from all over the British Isles and further to eat, learn and knit together, which is a real treat as you can imagine.
How do you think being part of the Knitting For All membership helps you with your business?
If I hadn’t been part of the Knitting for All membership I would not of had the confidence to venture out and teach knitting to old and young enthusiasts, and to see them master the art of knitting.
What do you love about being a knitting teacher?
The pride I feel when someone masters the art of knitting is what being a knitting teacher is all about. It is a great feeling when you have shared knowledge to others so that they can enjoy knitting as much as you do.
What are your future plans for Odd Sock House?
My future plans for Odd Sock House are to continue running workshops and hopefully set up more of an online presence where I can teach potential customers how to knit socks. At the moment I get messages at all times of the day from different parts of the world wanting help with heel turns and Kitchener stitch, so to do online workshops for all would be something I can see myself doing in the next couple of years.
Do you have any non-fibre related interests?
My fibre related interests dominate my life, but alongside that I am actively involved with my local MS Society which run support groups and chair yoga for people like myself to meet up with others with the same condition. I have been involved with the society on and off for over fifteen years and I have made some great friends through this group.