Our favorite time of year—sweater weather—is almost here! And we cannot wait to knit all the things once again, especially if they’re warm and wooly. Inspired by the soft and squishy things that we love most about this season of making, we’re proud to share the latest addition to the Twig & Horn maker collection: the Earth Toned Stitch Markers!
Lightweight and light-catching, the Earth Toned Stitch Markers are a beauty to behold—and a joy to knit with! Individually handcrafted, these stitch markers take inspiration from nature in their minimalist design and peaceful color palette. Below, we invite you to learn more about Laura Millard, the creative genius behind these gorgeous stitch markers—scroll down to meet the maker!
Above: Meet Laura Millard, the creative maker behind the Earth Toned Stitch Markers.
Tell us a little about yourself—what got you into making? What made you decide to start your own business?
There has never been a time that I wasn’t making something. My first maker memory as a child was when I would hand sew clothes and accessories for my dolls and Barbies. I would use left-over remnants from my mother’s sewing projects and just figure things out. I would cut a little here and there until it fit. I would venture into many other maker adventures throughout my lifetime, from origami, to scrapbooking, to quilting, and even a little crocheting here and there. Knitting, while my go-to art of choice currently, only became a part of my life as I was homeschooling my three kiddos and having a desire to be present with my kids, but also fulfilling the desire to keep my hands busy. My passion to create with my hands has been a large part of my drive and who I am. I am tactile, I would rather read a book and feel the pages in my hands than listen to a book or read a digital version. I have a desire to touch and feel the materials in my hands whether that is beads, yarn, or fabric. This love follows me when I’m looking to source for my business as well. And sometimes that costs me a little more, but it’s just how my brain and hands work together.
I started Back Porch Fiber Co. for a few reasons. Mainly it goes in line with who I am: I am a maker by nature and it’s so fun to see other people using something I created, be it a pattern I designed, or stitch markers I created. What a blessing to be able to generate income doing something I absolutely love. Another reason I created Back Porch Fiber Co. is due to the season of life I’m currently in as well as preparing for what is ahead. Let me explain: my husband and I just celebrated our 25th anniversary. We have three children, two of which are adults. We’ve homeschooled our children and I’ve been fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom. I realize that this chapter in my life is wrapping up. The kids don’t need me in the capacity they once did and I’ve started asking myself, “What’s next?” After many encouraging talks with my husband, I dove in. I wasn’t sure how my business would look in 6 months, a year, or 5 years, but I knew if I didn’t jump in I would never know. My shop is still growing and changing as I find what works and what my customers love. But one thing will stay the same and that is that I will always create and source my favorite things, which keeps me true to myself and who I am as a maker.
Do you feel you have a particular style in your designs? How would you describe them?
It’s difficult to clarify one particular style, but a couple things I stay true to are 1) Do I love this item? I want my business to be a representation of me, and if I don’t love it, it will be hard for me to sell it. I know not everyone will love the things I love but for me it’s a great starting point. 2) I love to keep things simple and clean. I love to coordinate color palettes that bring peace in my own mind. Some of my most favorite items I carry are also the most simplistic items. 3) Is it joyful to create? I know life isn’t all fun and games, but where I can make it that way I will try to do so.
Above: Laura shows off the Earth Toned Stitch Markers in the color Leaf.
Tell us a little about your creative process—where do your ideas come from?
My ideas come from literally all over, it could be something from nature that spurs a color palette to play with or even by a woman's sweater who was sitting in front of me at church one Sunday. Sometimes I see something and will think about that random item over the course of a week or two and an idea will fester in my head until it makes sense. Usually I know when an idea has come to fruition when I’m giddy about it, I’ll start explaining to my husband and kids, knowing full well they have no idea what I’m talking about.
Other times my ideas come from working on a knitting project and thinking, "wouldn’t it be convenient if I could find (this or that)” and then I think about how to make it. So it’s a product designed by need more than anything.
I’m slow to process usually. I first get a general idea and can even feel apprehensive about whatever it is I’m considering, but then slowly each piece comes together and starts forming in my head until it either fizzles out or actually completes itself and I can create it physically with my hands.
Do you have a favorite kind of material to work with? What do you like most about working with this material?
While I know my shop mainly carries knitting supplies, the material I enjoy working with the most is yarn, anything soft and squishy. A fingering weight yarn with US 3/3.25mm needles feels like butter in my hands. It is this love of knitting and creating that inspires every item in my shop.
Is there a craft that interests you that you haven’t tried yet?
One day I would love to try loom weaving. I love the finished textile feel of woven projects. It is so visually pleasing to the eye and for this touchy-feely gal, I love the woven texture in my hands. While I don’t see myself starting this new adventure soon, I know one day I will learn this amazing skill.
Thanks for tuning in for this month’s Meet the Maker blog post! We hope you enjoyed learning more about Laura and her unique journey as a maker (of many things!). Follow her along on all her maker adventures at @backporchfiberco. And don’t forget to take a look at her latest creations, the Earth Toned Stitch Markers, now available at Twig & Horn!