Knit-Chatting with Sarah from Along avec Anna

Along avec Anna has come a long way since it started life as a sewing blog back in 2013. We’re now a team of five and it seemed high time we introduce you to our team members! First up, we hope you’ll enjoy getting to know a bit more about Sarah (mailles_stitches on Instagram), our virtual assistant!

We’d love to hear about what you do at Along avec Anna !

I started working with Anna in July 2021 and I haven’t looked back! I started out by focusing on customer service, and that’s still a big part of my job. I answer the questions that come in about our various knitting patterns and I clear up any confusions so people can get right back to their knitting! It’s an exciting time to be part of Along avec Anna, and as the business expands in new directions, the work I’m doing is becoming more varied too! I do research on lots of topics, find and liaise with potential suppliers, order the stock for our new brick-and-mortar shop, and write bilingual articles for our blog on a variety of topics that are important to me as a knitter! I am also the only English native speaker of the team, so I am always happy to help out with proofreading and translating. I feel so lucky that I get to combine my love of knitting, my French language skills and my passion for translation, all while working with the lovely Anna!

What is the most challenging and the most rewarding aspect for you ?

The trickiest part of answering customer questions is trying to put myself in their shoes in order to understand how they might be misreading a pattern and what the solution would be! But equally I find interacting with our customers to be the most rewarding thing! Hearing back from customers that I’ve solved that problem and that they love their knit is very heartwarming, and I have been very touched by peoples comments on my blog articles!

How and when did you first learn to knit?

My granny used to knit, I still have some of her hand knitwear (like the jersey for her teddy bear below!), but I had never thought about learning myself. But when I was 21, I was at a camping festival and I saw a lot of people knitting and yarn bombing, and felt very drawn to it. I decided there and then that I was gonna teach myself and so  I went to my local newsagents and bought a basic learn-to-knit book and carefully worked through all the different exercises. The next year was my last year of my undergraduate studies in French at Oxford and involved horribly intense final exams, so knitting was an excellent tool to have in my belt and a really helpful counterpoint to my academic work! I quickly became obsessed and it has been a crucial part of my life ever since.

What is it that you love about knitting?

So much of the work that I have done throughout my life has been computer based and intangible, and so I find something so reassuring about the experience of taking yarn to needles and creating a fabric from scratch. I love the calming repetition of the stitches and the satisfaction of creating a beautiful and useful finished object to keep me cozy! For my thoughts on the many benefits of knitting you can check out my recent post on knitting and well being!

If you were an Along avec Anna pattern, which one would you be?

I love so many of our patterns at Along avec Anna, but I’m going to pick the Blossom Shawl! I’m incurably cold all the time (living in California ruined me for British weather!) and the blossom shawl is the perfect item to be constantly swaddled in. I also resonate with the fact that the blossom show sample is knitted in naturally dyed yarn, as this has been a recent passion of mine, and I’ve been thrilled by the vibrant colours that I’ve been able to achieve dyeing yarn in my tiny kitchen with food leftovers. If natural dying interests you too you can read my article on dyeing with avocados here.

And what colourway and fibre would you be, out of our new Along avec Anna yarns?

I think I would have to be the Tourmaline Merino! I could only be the sheep’s wool, since I grew up in Wales where, population wise, there are three sheep for every human, and I even lived on the sheep farm for two years as a child! Pink is the obvious choice since the majority of my yarn stash is various shades of pink right now, one of them being the Tourmaline yarn I’m using to knit my Snow Drop headband right now!

My sister’s pet lamb, Periwinkle

Feeding Periwinkle on the farm where I used to live!

And what about your life outside of Along avec Anna?

After travelling and living abroad a lot to study and teach (I lived in France for two years and in California for four) I’m now happily settled back in Liverpool in the UK, where I live with my partner and very cute kitten, Hoopoe! I spend a lot of my time crafting, including knitting, embroidery, natural dyeing yarn and wood, and making socks on a circular sock machine! I absolutely love working from home for its flexibility, its proximity to constant tea and coffee, and the ability to cuddle my kitten at all hours!

Sarah

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