Swapping rat race to put a new spin on an old hobby

Kelly Ryan

Kelly Ryan

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , covering business and Books Editor. Call me on 01865 425461

KELLY Ryan felt her IT job was “sucking her soul away”, so she embarked on some lifestyle changes.

She took a part-time admin job at Oxford University’s department of computing – and joined a knitting group.

“A year later I went vegan and I realised that a lot of yarn stores were selling animal fibres. They are marketing luxury yarns which look really attractive, but it makes life very difficult for someone who does not want to use animal products.

“I realised there was a need – they didn’t have anything vegan-friendly.”

So Ms Ryan, 31, has set up the Vegan Yarn Store, a website where people can buy products which don’t use animal fibres.

She said: “A lot of yarn is acrylic, which is a great low-price yarn for beginners, but if you want to create beautiful products in natural fibres it’s more difficult. You get to the stage when you want more of a variety of feels and textures. That’s where I come in.”

She has searched around to find more unusual yarns like bamboo, hemp and banana, and also mixed fibres which are suitable for particular uses, such as socks or baby garments.

“Hemp is quite rough so it’s good for things like bath mats, a back scrub or dishcloths,” she added.

“It took me a few months to find suppliers. They are not necessarily vegan, but I cherry-pick the products.”

Craft makers are big users of social media and Ms Ryan has combined her IT skills with her passion for crafts to market her products to key users.

“Crafting is my life,” she said. “A couple of years ago I came across amigurumi – Japanese crochet – and I did a lot of toy making. At the moment I’m making a lot of baby stuff because everyone around me seems to be having babies.”

She said crafting encompasses a wide range of people, each with their own needs and interests, and she feels she now has a core of customers who follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram and suggest new ideas for stock.

“There is a group who believe crafting is a feminist tool – that we can be strong and intelligent and still make crafty things,” she said.

“I can see it might be like that for some people, but for me it was just a way to get out of the rat race.”

Our top stories:

'Build or city will suffer' is the warning as Oxford branded least affordable place to live

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 1st November 2014

OXFORD is the least affordable city in the country, according to an independent think tank.

Oxford United keeper Ryan Clarke rallies the troops

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 1st November 2014

Oxford United’s biggest home crowd of the season is expected today for their clash with high-flying Wycombe Wanderers.

Monster movie noise-makers ‘will be back’ say villagers around Heyford Park

Oxford Mail:

9:20am Saturday 1st November 2014

RESIDENTS fighting a “noisy” movie-making operation in Upper Heyford have said they are sure the company, which withdrew a bid to expand the operation, will be back.

Bucketful of hold-ups

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:30am Saturday 1st November 2014

Bricks and a bucket were causing delays for drivers yesterday.

Woman was on bridge

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:30am Saturday 1st November 2014

A woman was talked down from a bridge in Cowley yesterday.

End of the road for free patient transport

Oxford Mail: South Central Ambulance Service failed to meet targets

8:30am Saturday 1st November 2014

Free hospital patient transport for some 6,200 people, including cancer patients, ends today.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree