Kim Mack is a 56-year-old wife, mother of five and grandmother of 6 with many step-grandchildren in the family too. She is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 2002. She sells crochet items through her Etsy store, LoveUnspokenCrochet, including her most popular item: Kufi hats. Crochet helps her living with MS, which she shares more about in this interview.
Q: Hi Kim! Thanks for joining us to share more about your crafting. Let’s start with your story of learning to crochet …
My mother taught me to crochet when I was a little girl. We used to make skirts using the loop stitch and would crochet vests to match. We would also make granny stitch crochet afghans.
Q: And can you tell us a little bit about your health issues?
I have degenerative disc disease and kind of got used to being in pain all the time. Then one year the pain was so bad that the meds I was on couldn’t help with the pain. It continued to get worse. One day my face or mouth went numb. I called my doctor and was told to go to the hospital. Once they ruled out a stroke they told me about the lesions they had found on my brain. They told me at the time that they suspected MS but of course I had to get more testing. As the tests continued, more symptoms developed. I had problems with walking and pain and tremors and twitching. I would forget what I was saying and when I did speak my speech was slow.
Q: That sounds frightening. How has crochet helped?
Crochet is a stress reliever, which is very important since stress can cause an onset of symptoms. When I crochet, I get into a zone; everything is even and steady. When I crochet regularly, I don’t have as many headaches and the number of onsets is much lower.
Q: Where does the name of your Etsy shop, Love Unspoken Crochet, come from?
I used to write poetry when I was a teenager. One of the poems I wrote was about love that was unspoken. When I was thinking of a name for my business I thought Love Unspoken was perfect. When I work on a project I do it with love that is never really spoken to the customer except for in the item that they receive.
Q: That’s beautiful! How has Love Unspoken has changed over the years?
I started Love Unspoken in 1994. At the time it was primarily a sewing business, which was for local customers as well as sales through the Internet. When it got too painful for me to continue to sit at the sewing machine, I started crocheting full time. Because of my business name having a deeper meaning other than just being about clothing, I continue to use the name for my crochet business. I just added “crochet” to the end of the original name for the storefront and for clarification.
Q: How does crochet compare to sewing for you?
Crochet is soothing and calming to my mind. Sewing I enjoyed but most of the enjoyment came once the item was finished. With crochet, the actual motion of the craft is enjoyable.
Q: What are some of your favorite items to crochet?
I really love making crochet blankets. I am working on a King Size blanket now. I love crochet hats and shawls. I want to start making sweaters this year. I have made a few for my grandsons already but I want to make sweaters and wraps for women as well.
Q: What are some items of the other items that you’ve crocheted for your own children / grandchildren?
When I wasn’t crocheting as much as a business, everyone got a blanket when they were born. Now that crochet is all I do from the time I get up until the time I go (or make myself go) to sleep they get whatever I want to try out. That’s how I ended up making the sweaters for my grandsons in 2016. I also make sure that they have winter hats and whatever else I can think of that I want to make. I love giving gifts to my friends and family, so whenever there is a new project I want to learn to do, it most likely will be given to someone I love.
Q: Speaking of hats, what inspired you to begin crocheting Kufi hats?
The Kufi hat is a religious hat. I crochet these for my husband, and at one point I decided to place them in my Etsy store. I had noticed that a lot of people were selling blankets and other items but there were not that many people selling crochet Kufi hats. They became my best seller. I plan to come up with some new styles for this year.
Looking for a Kufi hat crochet pattern? Haajarah The Hijabi sells patterns on Etsy.
Q: How has your experience been selling through Etsy?
I am still very new at selling crochet on Etsy. I know you really have to have patience to sell on the Internet, regardless of the platform. I really like being on Etsy. It is a great avenue for those who are not experienced with selling on the Internet. Plus it’s an affordable option for the seller; where else can you pay just 20 cents and post an item for 3 months? Plus the percentage they take after a sale is not high at all. The only drawback that I see is that you don’t have control over when you are seen; Etsy has the control over how you or your store get seen.
Q: That’s an interesting point. By the way, I noticed a unique item in your shop: Shea Butter. How did that come to be included?
Whipped Shea Butter is a recipe that I have been doing on the side for my family and friends for some time now. We use it for our whole body and hair. I sold it on my site and I needed to be able to have it available for customers who are not local. I know other people open more than one store but I don’t want to do that.
Q: What is something you love in crochet? And something you don’t?
I am really into Mosaic Crochet; Lily Chin is my favorite crochet designer right now.
One thing I have found isn’t form is graph crochet. I watch TV while crocheting and if you take your eyes off of your count on the graph, your project is messed up. It became too stressful for me. So for now I had to become satisfied that it is something I would not do in the world of crochet.
But I feel like there is still so much for me to learn when it comes to crochet, and I look forward to learning all of it. I would love to relearn to knit but at this time my heart is diving deep with crochet. I’m trying to learn every stitch out there to learn!