Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Dyer Moments - Dyer Consequences

In which I tell you a little bit about how this began...

"Beach House" on Tap Monkey
I've always been fascinated by hand dyed and hand painted yarns. I remember feeling like a kid in a candy store the first time I walked into an actual yarn store (not a craft store, but an actual fiber retailer) and discovered all the gorgeous yarns. I didn't know much about knitting back then, but I knew I was in love, and I knew I wanted to work with these jewels. Consequently, I bought a lot of cheap, mass production yarn and "got my needle on". I focused on skill development and worked my courage up to attempting projects with these masterpieces.

Once I understood more about both knitting and yarns, and had done a few projects with "the fancy stuff," I was introduced to the existence of the independent dyers. Somehow it didn't occur to me that yarn could come from anywhere other than some mass factory. I quickly became aware of the distinct differences between mass produced "hand painted" yarns and indie produced hand painted yarns. The really beautiful yarns varied from skein to skein - each a work of art into themselves. These were made with love, and I wanted to draw attention to these artists. I began a series of blog interviews I called Dyer Moments (archives here).

Ever since I did my very first blog interview with indie dyer Shannon Shaw back in December 2011, I've wanted to become an indie-dyer myself and offer my own line of colors. Shannon (with whom I've become fast friends, and from whom I've bought an amazing amount of yardage) and the subsequent population of dyers I interviewed were such inspiring individuals, so full of amazing creativity and passion, that I immediately felt at home with them and the idea of doing this myself.

I spent a lot of time experimenting and studying various techniques and materials. I discovered that one of my favorite techniques was dye-breaking, in which you actively do everything wrong so that the elements of the dyes that were blended to make a dye the color you were sold separate back into their parts and leave a fireworks display of color on your yarn, rather than the blended, packaged tone. I played with this technique extensively and even taught a "Breaking Bad / Breaking Good" yarn dyeing class here in Albuquerque. I loved teaching these classes; they were always fun and students left with their own beautiful creations and a sense of pride that they made it themselves.

And still, I didn't start my own company. Partly because I doubt myself, and partly out of respect and fear that I'd encroach on the businesses of my friends. Oddly enough, they had no fear of this.

Shannon who owns Supernatural Yarns has been one of my biggest cheerleaders and supporters. She helped me realize that this is ART and that every indie dyer has their own style, taste, ideas, and techniques. We an all work with the exact same materials and tools and end up with completely different products.

And consequently, I'm trying my hand at being an indie dyer. I hope you'll join me in this journey. Ask me questions, make comments, or simply sit back and enjoy.

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