Hayden & Ella Handcrafted
By Athena Raypold

Committed to her Craft

Kay Ma, the knitter behind Hayden & Ella Handcrafted, always commits 100 per cent to every project she takes on. Creating hand knit items for the modern mom, Kay is tenacious, industrious and painstakingly conscientious. “I don’t even know how many nights that I’ve taken apart stuff and redone it,” she says. “I remember making one custom blanket: I had it done, planned out and I already made one beforehand for myself. But, because it was such an expensive blanket, I took it apart probably 10 times just because it wasn’t good enough ... [I wonder] when she opens it, will she say, ‘Wow! This was worth [the money]!’ I needed that and I didn’t feel it, so I took it apart. When I was done, I knew I did my very best to make it perfect.”

Whether she is researching yarns, experimenting with different weights, fibres and colours; endlessly practicing new techniques; learning to use various needles; or creating her own patterns, Kay is utterly committed to her craft. At Hayden & Ella Handcrafted’s debut market, her appetite for knowledge garnered the interest and respect of a handful of retired nuns living in the building. “They all started giving me patterns,” she says. “The pages were yellow … you won’t find these patterns online.” Another customer gave her a stack of crochet books, and still another took her address and sent her a box packed with skeins of yarn. Kay’s enthusiasm, her desire to succeed, to knit and to knit beautifully, inspires everyone she meets.

I don’t feel that handmade has to be that expensive. I do sell items that are a little bit more expensive, but I also make things people can enjoy: a luxury item at an affordable price. - Kay Ma, owner
Hayden & Ella Handcrafted creates chic, hand-knitted items for moms and babies, plus home decor items
Photo by Kay Ma
Hayden & Ella Handcrafted makes luxurious items, like hand-knit blankets, at affordable prices
Photo by Kay Ma

A Luxury Item at an Affordable Price

After the birth of her first child, Kay became enthralled with extreme couponing, ever the practical spender, always seeking the best value for her dollar. Applying those same values to Hayden & Ella Handcrafted, Kay meticulously seeks out yarns that are soft, attractive and affordable and then brainstorms ideas for products to make using the yarn she’s sourced. Kay loves handmade, but enjoys the challenge for making handmade product that is both economical and good quality. “I don’t feel that handmade has to be that expensive,” she says. “I do sell items that are a little bit more expensive, but I also make things people can enjoy: a luxury item at an affordable price. Everybody can afford something from Hayden & Ella Handcrafted.”

Kay’s hand knit products include cuddly pieces for babies (blankets, amigurumi dolls, scarves and toques), fashionable articles for moms (cowl and infinity scarves) and practical, cozy items for home décor (succulent cozies, blankets and baskets). Additionally, Hayden & Ella Handcrafted encourages custom orders: Kay’s little notebook is peppered with creative knitting ideas for new products and patterns, and she lives for the “challenge of seeing something and figuring out how to make it.”

Hayden & Ella Handcrafted takes custom orders for her chic items, including scarves, blankets and baskets
Photo by Kay Ma
Hayden & Ella Handcrafted's owner constantly researches yarn, knitting techniques and new patterns
Photo by Kay Ma

More than Just a Mom

Between her conviction that handmade should be both beautiful and affordable, and her dedication to continually learning and improving, Kay is the epitome of an entrepreneur and a mom. While on maternity leave, pregnant with her second child, Kay took up knitting as a way to nurture her artistic side and to be productive. But, knitting became more than just creative busy work; it became a business, giving her independence and an identity beyond being a mom. “Some people think that once you hit the mom stage, you’re boring, you’re not young, you’re not hip anymore. I’m only 30 and a mom of two kids,” she says. “But, it doesn’t mean I’m old and done and don’t have a life anymore; it’s just beginning for me.” Kay says that, like moms, “people think knitting is old fashioned, and it has a long history, but it’s not boring.”

Knitting is the vehicle through which Kay overcomes challenges and expresses her individuality. A workaholic and an artist, Kay woodworks, paints and sketches, but because knitting has become her business, the needles her tools, knitting is a process that has transformed her from mom to entrepreneur. “When I grab a knitting needle, it’s just right – it feels right to me,” she says.

Hayden & Ella Handcrafted sells chic hand-knitted items for the home, such as blankets, cozies and more
Photo by Kay Ma
Hayden & Ella Handcrafted creates beautiful, affordable luxury hand-knit items for moms, babies and the home
Photo by Kay Ma
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