Meet Your Neighbor - Knit By Valerie

My husband and me
Who are you?
Valerie of knitbyvalerie.  I sell hand-knit accessories, with a portion of the sales going to my favorite animal rescues.

Tell us a little about your family
I'm married.  We have no people kids, but we have a full house with 6 furry ones.  We have 2 each of cats, dogs, and house rabbits--all of whom are rescues.  I spent 3 years as a volunteer in the Small Animal room at the Animal Refuge League, but for a variety of reasons had to stop.   I opened my shop to have an avenue to get donations for my favorite rescues while doing something I love.
My current Rabbits - Maple and Nigel

Where are you in Maine and what’s it like?
I live in Southern Maine.  My husband and I bought a house almost five years ago and have two glorious acres.  My husband homebrews and runs a wood shop.  We belong to a local CSA and we try to buy local whenever we can.  We both appreciate fine craftsmanship and attention to detail and find that, generally, Maine goods meet our demands.

Are you a native Mainer? If so, what’s kept you?  If not, what brought you here? 
I grew up in Oxford Hills and went to UMaine, so I've lived in Maine my whole life.  I would never move.  I like that most business people in Maine make a point to remember you and your preferences.  I like the changes in season.  I like the rocky coast and the lakes region equally.  My husband is from away, but there is almost nothing that could take me out of Maine.

How long have you been making your craft and what got you into it?
My cats - Link and Antigone
I started knitting when I was eight or nine.  I think my grandmother taught me.  I basically just used up the leftover Red Heart my mom had from crochet (something I've never bothered to learn, by the way).  I remember for a while I was trying to knit the "longest scarf in history."  I'm not sure what ever happened to it, though.

Do you feel your craft is related to where you live?
Only in that it gets really cold here.  I've made my husband a lot of hats.

A work in progress
How has being a part of the Etsy Maine Team helped you?
So far, only in the sense of community.  Most of my sales are commission work for friends and not through Etsy, but I hope to increase sales through promotion--and MaineTeam is a part of that.

What are some of your favorite shops on Etsy?
I bought a bag from Malaika (Hand Me Down Designs) and some lip balm from Elise (Eden Body) at the Big Thaw and so far I've really enjoyed both.  I love WeeOnes stitch markers and amazingly have far more markers than projects.  Sue, from LuluBugJewelry made me a custom necklace of my dearly departed rabbit, Persephone, which I wear nearly every day.  Persephone is my shop avatar and logo.  I also have a tattoo of her on my shoulder, as well.

Soft Cable Knit Fingerless Gloves
Where do you see yourself and your Etsy shop in the future?
I'll always be knitting.  It's a great way to decompress after a long night at work.  I'd like to put more things in my shop, but making new designs takes time, which I don't always have.

Where can we find you online and locally?
Just my Etsy shop right now.  I'm happy to meet people in person to save them shipping if they live in the Greater Portland area--any excuse to get out of the house and grab some caffeine or a pint!

Thanks Valerie for sharing a little about yourself and how the wonderful state you live in helps you create!  
Be sure to check out all the other awesome Maine artisans on Etsy, by searching "maineteam".