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By Echoview Fiber Mill News 28 comment24/August People of Echoview: Allyson Ansusinha
Allyson with her mom, three siblings and friends in Chiang Mai, Thailand, circa 1998
Echoview is a small team with key people who bring our mission and vision to life. One of those people is Allyson Ansusinha, our Knit Product Director. We recently had a little Q&A session with the self-proclaimed knitting nerd.
Q: Tell us about your background.
A: I’m from Illinois—I spent the first half of my life in the Suburbs of Chicago before moving out to rural northwestern Illinois in High School. I studied at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles for my Associates degree in Fashion Design, and afterwards attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for my Bachelor’s degree. My mom sparked my interest in things like sewing and crafting. I remember her sewing room in our basement with shelves and shelves of fabric, and a bumper sticker that read, “Whoever dies with the most fabric wins.” I think I took that to heart. I started sewing and making my own clothes at 8 and I haven’t stopped since. I have 3 super smart siblings who studied/are studying bioethics, chemistry, and environmental policy. Their hard work is inspiring to me. My dad is a software developer, and I think I inherited a knack for technology from him.
Q: Tell us about your history with Echoview Fiber Mill. How long have you been working there? What is your title? What do you do on a daily basis?Cory (Allyson's boyfriend), Emily (Allyson's older sister) and Erin (Allyson's younger sister) at Bridge Art Space in Bangkok Thailand, where she and Corey exhibited artwork, 2015
A: I’ve been an employee of Echoview since January 2016—but I started working in their building about a year and a half ago when Appalatch was housed inside. That’s how our relationship started; I was able to knit a few blankets, scarves and shawls for Echoview before I started my employment with them. Now my title is Knit Product Developer. I’m currently developing a collection of home goods for the Echoview brand. I get to design how they look by developing knit structures and patterns, choosing yarns and colorways, programming knit structures and operating the knitting machine. I think I have the best job!
Q: Tell us why you work at Echoview.
A: I love everything about this place! First of all, the building is an amazing place to come to work everyday; it has a great energy and atmosphere. Second, Echoview’s mission is beautiful! It’s a dream for me to be working in a sustainable fiber mill with a commitment to the environment and people. I’m totally a fiber nerd, so this is like a playground for me with the dye lab, looms, yarn and knitting machine! I also really love all my co-workers, everyone is super friendly and caring.
Q: Do you have a specific connection to anything related to the mill or farm ?
A: I have so many connections to what the mill does! . I mostly hand weave and sew, but do a little bit of hand knitting too. Actually, before moving to Asheville I visited Echoview because I wanted to buy some yarn to knit a scarf for my boyfriend. Back then, I thought the mill was an awesome place, but never thought I’d be lucky enough to work here.
Q: What’s the most rewarding thing about working at Echoview?
A: Ok, this is cheesy. I think most of all I love getting to snuggle with a knit piece after it’s finished. It’s the best test: is this blanket cozy enough for people to buy? This week, I finished a blanket design using wool and baby alpaca; I knit them and then washed and dried them. They are super soft and warm when I take them out of the dryer, and right there I wrap my arms around them. It is super rewarding.
Q: What’s your favorite Echoview products and why?
A: I’m going to be biased and say the blanket I just mentioned. It’s not on the market yet, but will be really soon! They’re soft and simple, and I can imagine them in many homes. My next favorite is the naturally dyed wool yarn, especially the color achieved with Weld. I have some at home that I’m weaving with, and I’m in awe of the color. It’s so amazing that plants can create such beautiful hues!
Q: What do you see in the future of Echoview?
A: I see a line of cohesive, vertically integrated products from Echoview’s own spun yarn. There’ll be hand knitting kits galore and beautiful home goods like blankets, pillows and trivets.
Q: Tell us one of the best memories you’ve had that involves Echoview.
A: Wow, there are so many! I have to mention our family lunches. On special occasions and holidays everyone brings an amazing southern dish and we all feast! I’ve also just had great creative collaborative moments here designing sweaters and knits. I’ve been able to make great friends and work with them, and those memories are the best.
Q: What are your hobbies? What do you like to do outside of work? Is there any causes you are a supporter of?
A: One of my favorite things to do is travel, whether it’s a short road trip or half-way around the world. It’s the most fun with family and friends. I’ve had a lot of great adventures: hiking in California, sight-seeing in Thailand, exploring Chile to name a few. I mentioned weaving as a hobby earlier, I love it as a way to meditate. I try to make time for personal art projects, that are creatively separate from work. I also like to exercise and do yoga, make delicious Thai curry, and visit art galleries. The main cause I support is the “eco-fashion” movement, by contributing sustainable and eco-conscious apparel and textiles to the world.