Mia Allen's patterned, knitted gloves and beanies stand out in their own right, but the story behind them is unique, too.
Allen is a "second generation" Pike Place Market artisan; her parents Jeff and Kathi have sold art tile in the market since 2004.
Mia crafts her items with wool yarn and bamboo fibers. Her wool is sourced from a family-owned mill in Mitchell, Nebraska. "The family has been on this same land for over 100 years and have worked hard to run a ‘green’ business," Mia says. "They buy all of their wool directly from the growers. I chose this company because they create a beautiful USA-made product from start to finish." Her bamboo is harder to source, though she's able to get Canadian-spun bamboo that is dyed in the U.S.
Mia also sets herself apart through the use of vintage machines from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. She's recently acquired an antique sock machine that is more than 100 years old.
"These were for domestic use, put into households so that women could earn an income. I am excited to be adding socks to the table, hand cranked on this machine," Mia says.
Most people don't realize that knitting can be done by machine, but Mia says they help her produce an outstanding finished product: "These machines were made to last, to be efficient and of course, they make beautiful fabric. I am able to produce a product that I’m proud of efficiently and with my hands in every single detail. The first knitting machine was made in 1589!"
For as long as Mia can remember, she's been interested in fashion and textiles. "I’ve always been attracted to textiles and fashion," she says. "I love that I can pick up a ball of yarn and create a beautifully draped fabric with my own hands. It seems to be pretty common knowledge that when someone knits you something, they love you very much!"
Having artistic parents helped, too. "Being raised by parents with a focus on highly detailed art has been a big part of this. Patterns and colors were always around as well as artists working to make the 'perfect piece’. You will see all of that translated into my work now."
Check out Mia's Blackwood Fiber Company on Etsy as well as inside Pike Place Market.