Almost 6 years ago, I walked into A Good Yarn in Sarasota, FL for my first knitting class. I was overwhelmed by all of the gorgeous yarn and samples hanging everywhere. I never really believed that I'd ever be capable of making such beautiful (and seemingly complicated) items. But somehow it happened! I kept at it, practiced and took as many classes as my schedule with a toddler would allow.
It wasn't exactly my choice to be a SAHM at first. The lovely company I worked for laid me off when I was 7months along.....after nearly 7 years of working for them. Real gems, those guys. I went from my somewhat fast-paced career in Interior Design, working at a Commercial Architecture firm, to being home with a baby and needing a "creative outlet". I had been buying handmade, crocheted items for Bea when I suddenly thought, "Why am I not making this stuff? I went to art school, I'm crafty!" Who really knows what my husband and family thought of my proclamation. I chose knitting over crochet because it seemed harder. Strange, right? But knitting also seemed like it could be more versatile. The jury is still out on that one. The only time I've picked up a crochet hook is to do a provisional cast on and it ain't pretty. I can't say I was exactly a natural at knitting. It took some time and a lot of patience to even get decent at it. Interior Design is unique in that you definitely use both sides of your brain, especially in Commercial projects. Worrying about Space Planning, egress and ADA codes aren't exactly the parts most people think of when they hear Interior Design. Knitting is similar, the patterns are the technical portion and picking the colors and fibers are the creative part. I always try to visualize what portions of a pattern will look like knitted, when I read them.
Again, why hand-dyeing yarn? Did you ever feel like you never really knew what you wanted to be when you grew up? I started out taking extra science classes in high school because I thought I wanted to do Physical Therapy. Then, junior year, I dropped out of Spanish III (Yo esta no bueno) and took the only class that wouldn't disrupt my entire schedule: Drawing and Painting I. I'd always had a knack for art, but the public schools I had been in did nothing to encourage that talent. Except for Ms. Terry in 2nd grade at Ashton Elementary- Holla! This Drawing and Painting class that I stumbled into at Cardinal Mooney High School was taught by the incomparable Fran Topp. I think I realized instantly that it was kismet that I landed there. If you are lucky, you have at least one teacher that influences you to the point you will never forget them. For me that was Mrs. Topp. For the next two years, I took in as much as I could from her. She helped me with my application to Ringling College of Art + Design, took pictures/slides of my work for my portfolio submission and passed on her infinite wisdom. I still use the term "happy accident" to this day (it comes up a lot when dyeing yarn). And I can't hear the later Beatles songs without instantly being back at CMHS in her classroom. It's downright eerie. I chose Interior Design at Ringling because it was the major I thought would make my parents the least mad. I thought they'd flip out when they heard the words, "art school". Being among the best art colleges in the country, Ringling gave me an invaluable education (invaluable except for the nearly six figure bill). Not to mention, I met my hubby there. Even after I passed the excruciating 14-hour Interior Design test, the NCIDQ, I knew ID wasn't exactly my dream job. I enjoyed doing the presentations and marketing materials in Photoshop or InDesign more than working in REVIT or AutoCAD.
Flash forward to a few months ago when I saw a Round Mountain Fibers yarn dyeing kit at work. Oh, did I mention I got a sweet job at A Good Yarn Sarasota when Bea started preschool full-time? Imagine being surrounded by one of your favorite things in life- YARN. I'm pretty sure I pay the owner to work there. I bring home *a little* yarn. I went from buying fun shoes (pre-baby and pre-back pain) to buying and stashing yarn. Any honest knitter or crocheter will admit their stashing addiction. So, I took the dye kit home and couldn't wait to test it out. I watched a few videos on YouTube and jumped right in. I was happy with the outcome, but like a dog with a bone, I wanted to do more! I wanted more skeins, more dye options....MORE. The owner of A Good Yarn Sarasota, Susan, was kind enough to give me a bag full of leftover bare skeins from a dyeing workshop they had years ago. It was beyond generous and they've proved very helpful as test skeins when I'm trying new colors.
Since being bitten by the hand-dyeing bug, I've tested and mastered many techniques and applications. The in-depth color work I've done in Interior Design, has proven to be most helpful when designing new colorways. My knitting experience and my job at the yarn shop has been the best possible education on fibers and how they behave. That comes in handy when picking a variety of yarns to carry in my webstore. I've tried to create a product line that has something for everyone, colorways included. Never hesitate to contact us with a question about substituting one of our yarns for one mentioned in a pattern or for a custom hand-dyed yarn. Any colorway you see in the webshop can be applied on any yarn we carry (Aran, Chunky and Bulky can be ordered). Just send us an email and we'll reply ASAP.
My second attempt using a Round Mountain Fiber yarn dyeing kit. I did two different techniques and loved the outcome!