Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here.
I’m Anne Vally, a maker, knitter, sewist, and believer in the common good.
My academic and career background is in economics and philanthropy, and despite how nerdy that sounds, at my core, it just means I’m a maker. I love to create, nurture, and help things grow, whether that’s my own business, a nonprofit organization, or a daily practice of making things by hand.
I grew up in North Carolina of the 70s and 80s—the New South—where white moms no longer stayed home, parents were divorced, and kids rode buses to newly integrated schools. We had a popular Democratic governor and read To Kill A Mockingbird in English class. The white kids and Black kids still sat separately in the cafeteria, but I believed our South was better, moving in the direction of civil rights.
I grew up climbing trees in the front yard and writing stories while nestled in them. For a few months, after my parents divorced, I knew what it was to be without a home, couch surfing at my mother’s friends’ houses. I drew, and I wrote, and I read. Anne of Green Gables was my favorite book.
I think creative is both a noun and a verb: I’m a creative.
I write, design, knit, sew, dye, take photographs, and draw. I love learning new things, whether they’re new things I can do with my hands or new ideas that have the potential to make the world better.
In 2013, after a decade-long (plus) career in philanthropy and with my son in kindergarten, I realized that despite what I’d been told as a young woman, women still can’t have it all. Office time doesn’t run on kid time, and I needed more flexibility than a traditional career afforded me. I had my own Great Resignation, just in 2013 instead of 2021.
I created my own business and in the nine years I've run it, I’ve leaned into hand-making, creating my own pattern line, hand-dyed yarn, kits for hand-knitters, and publishing booklets that combine patterns with my own small essays on making and equity. The pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench in things, and in 2021, I downsized from a team of three and year-over-year growth, to a solo practice that can flex up or down as I need it to.Malcom Gladwell says you need to practice something complex for 10,000 hours to become a master. By my count, I’ve logged about 8,000 hours as a knitter. I don't think of myself as a master knitter yet, but I am confident and adept. I still knit for a few hours every evening, always on personal projects, and never letting shop work subsume my personal making time. Weekends are for sewing, and in 2020, I began work on a fully handmade wardrobe.
My art is multidisciplinary, including color, textures, words and images, and it centers on the concept of home. I am particularly interested in what it means to feel at home: in a physical space, in one’s body, and in an emotional sense. I often explore the tensions between an economic marketplace and a community, between consumption and creation. I work with color and fiber to create clothing through knitting, dyeing, sewing and embroidery, and I aim to weave within my work a sense of equity, always asking whose voice is heard and valued and whose is left out or intentionally neglected.
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