An Introduction

Now that I've been working as Art Director at Twig & Horn for a few months, it's probably time for a small introduction! My name is Whitney Hayward, and I'm a photographer, handspinner, knitwear designer, and now a knitting notions creator. I spend most of my time at Twig & Horn cooking up new ideas for knitting tools and accessories and developing our new millspun yarn, Stone Wool Cormo.

I learned to knit while studying abroad in Japan. My Japanese language skills were nil, and I desperately wanted to better communicate with the family I was living with in Nagoya. Kazumi, my host mother, had a huge stack of "Fun Fur" yarn and an extra set of needles, and I asked her to teach me the ropes. Not the easiest yarn to learn to knit with, somehow Kazumi taught me how to cast-on and complete a basic garter stitch scarf. After that point, I was knitting in nearly every idle moment spent on public transport.

While in Japan, the March 2011 earthquake happened, and knitting became a thing of comfort. We didn't live close to Fukushima or Sendai. Everyone we loved was okay, but it was a time of turmoil and uncertainty. I owe Kazumi a debt of gratitude for teaching a skill which has helped me work through difficult circumstances, and I know I am not alone in finding peace and solace through knitting. More than the beautiful things created through knitting, the peace and solace is what keeps me coming back.

Riding bikes with my host sister, Nodoka.

I continued knitting, and eventually found handspinning when I moved to Portland, Maine. We have an excellent spot in the Bayside neighborhood called PortFiber, and I'm incredibly grateful to shop owner (and now friend!) Casey for introducing me to making yarn on a spinning wheel. Through handspinning, I've started paying attention to things which didn't concern me as a knitter. Staple length, woolen/worsted, and micron count were not previously apart of my vocabulary, but these additions have made it easier for me to identify why I like knitting with certain yarns over others. 

Like knitting, I was almost immediately hooked to handspinning. To avoid drowning in yarn, I started a small venture to sell my handspun yarns called Stone Wool. It's been wonderful to see Stone Wool evolve into something new at Twig & Horn with Stone Wool Cormo.

When creating new products at Twig & Horn, I come at most everything from a knitter's perspective. We work closely with makers based in Maine and throughout the United States, and our best products come through working together with makers who bring their own set of skills to product creation. I'm so happy to be at Twig & Horn, and I hope you'll stick around to see what comes next.


  • Whitney Hayward

    Hi @Tori, thank you for the kind words! I hope you get up to Maine soon, and PortFiber is absolutely worth the visit when you come up. Definitely visit KnitWit in Portland if you come up this way, too!

  • Whitney

    Hi @Jen – I spin on a Schacht Lady Bug now, but the wheel pictured is a Ashford Kiwi 2.

  • Jan

    I would love to know what spinning wheel you spin on now and what wheel is pictured here above.

  • Tori

    Hi Whitney! I “found” you on the recent Woolful podcast and listened with great interest to your story about learning to knit in Japan. I grew up in Okinawa and learned to knit from Japanese patterns as well. Ironically, my husband and I had a trip to Portland, ME planned for this week but an unfortunate situation without house water main caused us to cancel. :-( I’m happy to learn of PortFiber and will definitely visit when we travel to Maine! I’m in Northern Colorado – another great place. Come visit! -Tori

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