Thursday, January 18, 2018

Dyers in Their Studios - Teresa of Teresa Ruch Designs

Our first Ficstitches Yarns Kit Club of 2018 features DK weight 100% Tencel Yarn dyed by Teresa Ruch of Teresa Ruch Designs. Teresa's tencel yarns caught my eye long before I met her, and I wanted to create a design using her yarns then. I finally got to meet her in person at a trunk show during the Rose City Yarn Crawl a couple of years ago. When I told her about our Ficstitches Yarns Kit Club she was interested enough to offer me a skein of yarn right then. But we knew we wanted to save her yarn for 2018 as the glossy sheen of the tencel fiber is a perfect fit for the Gothic Romance story that my author partner C. Jane Reid has cooked up for us. This is our first kit featuring a non-wool yarn, so I was especially interested to learn how making and dyeing tencel yarn is different from the wool most hand dyers work with. Here is more from Teresa:

Choose Marina or Goldenrod for the
Spring 2018 Ficstitches Yarns Kit Club
PreOrders Open this Month Only!

How long have you been dyeing yarn? I started playing with dyes in the mid 70’s but started dyeing professionally in 1990 then full time in 2001.
How did you get started dyeing? I could not find the colors I wanted to weave with, then I fell in love with color and what you could get when you dyed your own yarns. I started with wool and silk in acid dyed, moved to natural dyes, then back to fiber reactive dyes for cellulose mainly tencel.
What is your background? I learned to weave and dye in college when I was a Home Ec major, my degree is in Anthropology. I took a job as a sample weaver for a NW mill and was later promoted to a textile designer, mainly computer jacquard designed fabrics for blankets, menswear, womenswear and contract furniture upholstery. Then I went independent and now dye yarns for yarn stores, knitters, weavers, crochet, and my own weaving work.
Do you have any special experience with art or science that influences your dyeing? I worked in the textile industry for 18 years, taught textiles and color at a local art college. 

What makes your yarn special or unique? My primary yarn fiber is Tencel which is a new age rayon. It uses hardwood junk trees that are pulped, run through a chemical solution, collected and spun. The chemical solution must be filtered and reused or is labeled as rayon. It uses very little or no water in growing, no pesticides, no water in processing and is from a renewable plant that was considered a junk tree.
What is something interesting about your dyeing process that non-dyers might not know? I tried to do this painted warp/yarn techniques in the 80’s but cold batching in an Oregon winter takes about 7 days. I was told (and observed at the mill) that you could exchange temperature for time meaning if I raised the temperature fast enough in a controlled environment I could shorten the batching time to hours or minutes. I chose minutes meaning that I use a dedicated microwave to set the dyes. Unfortunately that does not shorten the prep time or the rinse time. I purchase my yarns from a mill in Canada on mill cones of 6+ lbs. These are wound into 4 oz. skeins and then dyed.
How do you choose your colors and name your yarns? Naming colors is my most difficult task. When I was working at the mill our colors were based on the first ingredient in the dye blend and it may or may not have any relationship to the visual image of the yarn. I like to tie in the color name to the visual of the yarn. Blue Jazz is a deep rich cobalt blue to black which to me is the blue smokey tones of jazz. The curry color is named after the golden yellow color of the curry spice. 
Where do you find inspiration? Everywhere. Colors in nature or in pictures of nature, dreams, words, descriptions. I also pick up colors when I travel by looking at the colors along the roads. I take a lot of pictures of scenery when I travel.

How many colorways do you have? I have 16 colors that I sell to yarn stores, 6 colors on the website and then when I do yarn fairs, shows, yarn crawls I take all my “rogues” that are dyed colors that did not make the cut for the stores, special orders or experiments.
Do you create seasonal or special order colors? Yes to both of these. I will do a special color way of 4 colors for a special event, store anniversary, knit along with a single event or a year long theme or a conference theme.
How many and what types of bases do you use? I mainly dye Tencel as that is what I am know for. I use 20/2 (sewing thread weight), 10/2 cobweb lace weight, 5/2 lace weight, 3/2 sport/dk weight.
Where do your yarn bases come from? My yarn bases comes from a mill in Canada (Quebec) so they are a North American product.
Where can we find your yarn? LYSs and online? You can find my local yarns stores, yarn stores that sell on line, through my web site ( I also sell at large yarn markets which are listed on my website.

What are your favorite colors? Black because it punches the value of all the other colors used with it. I also like the adjacent colors from green blue through red violet and then is a new favorite every few months. Right now it is the russets probably because of the fall colors.
Favorite fibers? Tencel but also silk.
Do you crochet, knit, or spin? What came first? First I am a weaver. I have been weaving for 47 years. Second was spinning, then dyeing and a little bit of knitting, crochet and lace. Dyeing is now my first love with weaving next.
Anything else you would like to share? I enjoying seeing my dyed tencel made up in different items.

·       Website?
·       Facebook?  Teresa Ruch Designs

Thanks so much to Teresa for sharing her thoughts and photos with us this month. We think our Kit Club buyers are going to LOVE working with a new fiber and the fun project I have developed with it. The Spring 2018 Ficstitches Yarns Kit Club is available for PreOrders until January 31st only. Order yours today!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dyers In Their Studios - Veronika and Danny of YOTH Yarns

For our Winter Ficstitches Yarns Kit Club we have the pleasure of working with YOTH Yarns. YOTH stands for Yarn On The House, and this is truly a family business with even their yarns named for family members. We are using Father, a worsted weight domestically grown Rambouillet wool. Some of their other yarns are called Mother, Big Sister, and Little Brother.

I first spotted this yarn company back in February of 2015 at Stitches West. Every time I passed their extra large booth I saw people with armloads of yarn ready to check out. By the last day they were nearly sold out of yarn and I got a chance to meet "Big Sister" Veronika. I learned that this was their first big show and they were from Washington state like I am. We were just getting ready to launch our first Kit Club then, and I kept them in mind for a future kit.

The following year I got to meet "Little Brother" Danny and their "Mother" during the Rose City Yarn Crawl at their trunk show at The Knitting Bee. We thought their colorways would be perfect for the Western Story our author C. Jane Reid was cooking up for the Fall and Winter Kits this year. We needed 2 colors of worsted weight yarn for the design I had come up with for this project, and their Father was perfect.

Cool and Warm color choices for Winter Kit Club
Wild Rice/Blue Raspberry OR Mango/Dates
Now here's more from Big Sister Veronika:

  • How long have you been in business?
YOTH was started in 2013. It took us a good year to establish our brand and what we wanted to do with our company. We opened our online store October 16th of 2014 and have been busy creating yarns since!

  • How did you get started dying?
We started out hand dyeing our yarns on our kitchen stovetop like most hand dyers, but we quickly learned that we needed a dye studio in order to not only keep my kitchen from being ruined, but to produce better products and have the space to grow. After converting my garage and basement into a small factory and a soft open into the knitting marketplace locally at the beginning of our business, we made the choice to actually source a dyehouse that we wanted to work with. It was either that or keep growing our own dyehouse and we truly believed that working with Saco River Dyehouse would be a good fit and allow us to grow more quickly. We are happy that we took that route and our yarns are now dyed by Saco River using a cool technique that mimics the look of hand dyed that we love!

  • Does your whole family work for the company?
All of the family is some way connected to the business and works for YOTH. My hubby is our graphics and web guy, also all around tech help when needed, mom is our warehouse manager and wonderful helper/fixer of all things, dad builds our beautiful display pieces and drives the truck and trailer all around the US for shows and conventions, my daughter models for us and when she can helps in our booth during shows, and we have a lot of wonderful friends who work with us when we need the extra hand. We definitely could not do this without the support of our loving friends and family!

  • What makes your yarn special or unique?
There a lot of really wonderful and lovely yarn companies out there doing great things. We are definitely not reinventing any wheels here!! But, we do believe that we bring a unique take on color to the knitting world. Most of our colors are more muted and sophisticated. It's what we really love!

  • Who develops your colors and names your yarns?
Our colors are usually developed by me, Big Sister, and then really hammered down with the mom and Little Brother when the final calls are needing to be made. I really appreciate the perspective that comes from both of them, because I feel that color can be so relative. What you like might not be what I like, and finding a happy middle that still sticks to our brand is what is important. Names are a whole different story!! Those involve Google, Pinterest, the whole Team and a bottle of wine.

  • How many colorways do you have?
We currently have 36 colorways. We are in the process of developing our final color Palette: Roots. It will be the reds, pinks and purples... YOTH style.

  • Where do your yarn bases come from?
We try and keep as much as we can in the US when it comes to fiber sourcing, milling, dyeing and selling. It's not always possible, but if you see an American Made stamp on your yarn tag, it's all from here!

  • Where can we find your yarn? LYSs and online?
Definitely online, but we also now have 25 beautiful Stockists all over the world. We love when folks can support their local economy and see our complex colors in person. Win, win!

  • What is it like working with your family?
It has its rewards, but it also can spur some arguments. At the end of the day, we are blessed to be a part of such an awesome knitting community and be able to make a living working alongside the people we love most in this world.

  • How has your business grown in recent years?
We are expanding into many more shops and really try to hone our products and bases. It's ever changing and we always try to keep up with the latest, but we also feel that staying true to what we love is really important. The family, Mother, Father and Little Brother recently purchased a large property in Carnation, WA, and we plan to build a larger facility on the land to house our warehouse and hopefully keep growing.

  • What are your favorite colors?
The joke around the house is... just don't use Oyster again. It's a well known "secret" that Oyster is one of my favs, but I really love all the neutrals, scummy yellows and blues. Little Bro's favorite has always been Cracked Pepper. No surprise!

  • Do you crochet, knit, or spin? What came first?
I mainly knit, crochet a little, and I just never caught the spinning bug. That's not to say that I didn't try! All the lovely men of our Team have all gone to a knitting class to at least learn the basics. It's good to know what it takes to knit a hat, scarf, etc.

  • Ravelry Group? yarnonthehouse
  • Twitter

You can PreOrder the Winter Ficstitches Yarns Kit Club featuring YOTH Yarn through October Only. Because they have already dyed all of the yarn, the yarn for this Kit is Limited, so don't wait to order. Don't miss your chance!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Sunflower Harvest Square - Moogly CAL

I'm thrilled to be a part of Moogly's 2017 Blanket CAL. When Tamara first asked me, she thought squares weren't really my thing. But I reminded her that I actually wrote 2 whole books of squares and blankets! But I haven't designed squares in the round much, so it was a fun challenge.

When my kids were finishing Kindergarten, they were sent home with Sunflower Seeds with a little poem, telling them to plant them and when they bloomed in the fall it would be time for school. With kids heading back to school this design seemed appropriate. Enjoy!

Sunflower Square Pattern
Designed by Laurinda Reddig of

Downloadable version now available on Ravelry includes Stitch Diagrams for both Right and Left-Handed Crocheters. Download HERE.

Difficulty Level – Intermediate
Finished Size – 12” by 12”

Vanna’s Choice Worsted Weight yarn in:
Taupe (A), Terracotta (B), Mustard (C), 
Kelly Green (D), and Sky Blue (E)
Size J (6.0mm) hook, or hook to get gauge
Yarn Needle, Scissors, and Stitch Markers

GAUGE - 12 sts by 7 rows in double crochet = 4”x4”

   (also see special stitches)
Beginning (beg)
Chain (ch)
Double Crochet (dc)
Repeat (Rep)
Right Side (RS)
Single Crochet (sc)
Slip Stitch (sl st)
Stitch (st)
Treble Crochet (tr)
Wrong Side (WS)
Yarn Over (yo)
Puff: [Yo, insert hook in st, yo, pull up loop] 3 times in same st, yo, pull through all 7 loops on hook.
Front Post Treble (fptr): Yo 2 times, insert hook around post from front of next st, yo, pull up a loop, [yo, pull through 2 lps on hook] 3 times.
Front Post Treble 2 Together (fptr2tog): *Yo 2 times, insert hook around post from front of next st, yo, pull up a loop, [yo, pull through 2 loops] 2 times; Repeat from * once, yo, pull through all 3 loops on hook.
Double Crochet 2 Together (dc2tog): *Yo, insert hook into next st, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through 2 loops; Repeat from * once, yo, pull through all 3 loops on hook.
Half Double Crochet 2 Together (hdc2tog): *Yo, insert hook into next st, yo, pull up a loop (3 loops on hook); Repeat from * once, yo, pull through all 5 loops on hook.
Single crochet 2 together (sc2tog): [Insert hook into next st, yo, pull up a loop] 2 times, yo, pull through all 3 loops on hook.
Treble Crochet 2 Together (tr2tog): *Yo 2 times, insert hook into next st, yo, pull up a loop, [yo, pull through 2 loops] 2 times; Repeat from * once, yo, pull through all 3 loops on hook.

Worked in the round with RS facing. With Color A, make a reverse slip knot (see tutorial), ch 2 (or magic loop, ch 1).
Rnd 1: (RS) Working in second ch from hook (or magic loop), [Puff, ch 1] 4 times, join with sl st in first puff, pull adjustable knot (magic loop) tight – 4 Puff sts.
Rnd 2: Sl st in first ch-sp, ch 1, (Puff, ch 1, Puff, ch 1) in same ch-sp as sl st and each ch-sp around, join with sl st in first puff – 8 Puff sts.
Rnd 3: Sl st in first ch-sp, ch 1, (Puff, ch 1, Puff, ch 1) in same ch-sp as sl st and each ch-sp around, join with sl st in first puff – 16 Puff sts. Finish off Color A.
Rnd 4: Join Color B with sl st in last ch-sp of Rnd 4. Ch 1, (Puff, ch 1, Puff, ch 1) in same ch-sp as join, *Puff in next ch-sp, ch 1, (Puff, ch 1, Puff, ch 1) in next ch-sp; Rep from * around to last ch-sp, Puff in last ch-sp, ch 1, join with sl st in first puff – 24 Puff sts.
Rnd 5: Sl st in first ch-sp, ch 1, (Puff, ch 1) in each ch-sp around, join with sl st in first puff. Finish off Color B.
Rnd 6: Join Color C with sl st in last ch-sp of Rnd 5. Ch 3 (counts as first dc here and throughout), 2 dc in same ch-sp, 2 dc in next ch-sp, *3 dc in next ch-sp, 2 dc in next ch-sp; Rep from * around, join with sl st in top of beg ch – 60 dc.
Rnd 7: Ch 3, *fptr around next dc, dc in top of same st as prev fptr, fptr around same st as prev st, dc2tog**, dc in next 2 dc; Rep from * 10 more times; Rep * to ** once, dc in next dc, join with sl st in top of beg ch – 72 sts.
Rnd 8: Ch 3, fptr around next fptr, *2 dc in each of next 2 sts, fptr around same fptr as prev 2 dc**, 2 dc2tog, fptr around same fptr as prev st; Rep from * 10 more times; Rep * to ** once, dc2tog, join with sl st in top of beg ch – 96 sts.
Rnd 9: Ch 3, fptr around first fptr, dc in top of same st as prev fptr, dc in next 2 dc, *fptr2tog around prev fptr and next fptr, dc2tog in 2 dc behind frtr2tog, dc in top of next fptr, dc in next dc2tog**, fptr2tog around prev fptr and next fptr, dc2tog in dc2tog behind frtr2tog and in top of next fptr, dc in next 2 sts; Rep from * 10 more times; Rep * to ** once, fptr around prev fptr, sk next fptr, join with sl st in next dc – 96 sts. Finish off Color C.

With RS facing, mark Leaf placement with stitch markers in top of 6th, 12th, and 18th fptr2tog stitches, and last fptr of Rnd 9.

Leaf 1
With Color D and WS facing, ch 5, join with sl st in first fptr2tog with stitch marker, ch 2, sk next dc, sl st around post of next dc inserting hook from back, turn.
Row 1: (RS) Working into back bumps of ch 5, dc in first 3 chs, hdc in next ch, 3 sc in last ch; Turn to work down other side of ch in unused loops of chs, hdc in second ch, dc in next 3 chs, dc in side of joining sl st at base of beg ch, sk next unused dc on Rnd 9, join with sl st around post of next dc inserting hook from back, ch 2, sl st in top of next fptr2tog, turn – 12 sts.
Row 2: Dc in next 5 sts, 2 hdc in next sc, 3 sc in next sc, 2 hdc in next sc, dc in next 4 sts, dc in side of joining sl st at beg of Row 1, join with sl st in top of next fptr2tog, ch 2, sl st around post of next dc inserting hook from front, turn – 17 sts.
Row 3: Dc in next 4 dc, hdc in same dc as prev dc, hdc in next 2 sts, sc in next 2 sts, (sc, ch 1, sc) in next sc, sc in next 2 sts, hdc in next 3 sts, dc in same dc as prev hdc, dc in next 3 dc, dc in side of joining sl st at beg of Row 2, join with sl st around post of next dc inserting hook from back. Finish off Color D – 22 sts.

Leaf 2-4
Repeat Leaf 1 for each remaining stitch with stitch marker.

With Color E and RS facing, join with sl st in back loop of ch at point of any Leaf. Work in back loops only (blo) of Leaf sts and both loops of Flower sts.
Rnd 1: Ch 1, working in blo, (sc, ch 1, sc) in same ch as join, *sc in next sc, sc2tog, sc in next hdc, hdc2tog, hdc in next dc, dc2tog, dc in next dc, tr2tog in blo of last dc of Leaf and both loops of same dc as last sl st of Leaf; Working in both loops, tr in next 3 sts, fptr around next dc, dc in next 3 sts, fptr around next dc, tr in next 3 sts, tr2tog in top of same dc as Leaf sl st and side of first Leaf sl st; Working in blo, dc in next dc, dc2tog, hdc in next dc, hdc2tog, sc in next hdc, sc2tog, sc in next sc**, (sc, ch 1, sc) in corner ch; Rep from * 2 more times; Rep from * to ** once, join with sl st in first sc – 120 sts.
Note: Check measurement. Skip Rnd 2 if already measures 12”, or use hdc instead of sc for Rnd 2 if you need a little more to make 12”.
Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in first sc, (sc, ch 1, sc) in ch-sp at corner, sc in each sc across to next corner; Rep from * around, join with sl st in first sc – 128 sts.

Finish off Color E and weave in all ends.

© 2017, Designed by Laurinda Reddig aka ReCrochetions. All Rights Reserved. This design, the pattern, and the images are property of ReCrochetions. The buyer may use this pattern for personal use and charity. No part of this document may be reproduced, altered, or distributed in any form, or by any means, without express written permission from Laurinda Reddig. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Dyers In Their Studios - Lynette of Willamette Valley Wool Company

Our Fall Ficstitches Yarns Kit Club is featuring yarn dyed by Lynette Connors of Willamette Valley Wool Company. If her name sounds familiar, we worked with her on our second kit back in 2015. We don't often repeat dyers, but she recently rebranded her yarn company from Dragynknyts to Willamette Valley Wool Company, and has so many great new bases. C. Jane Reid and I had a blast at Lynette's Grand Opening just 2 weekends ago!

You can read our original Dyers In Their Studios Profile of Lynette from 2 years ago HERE. But we asked her to give us an update on what she is doing now, and how she got there. Remember tonight is your last chance to PREORDER your Fall Ficstitches Yarns Kit Club, before Midnight July 31st!

And now Lynette:
My little dye company has grown quite a lot since you posted my profile previously!

My business name has changed to Willamette Valley Wool Company and I’m now working out of my own professional dye studio in Eugene, OR. I have some retail space where I can sell and also host weekly social knitting and spinning times (Thursday evenings 5-8 and Saturdays 11-4). And I’m a member of the Indie Dyer Collaborative now, a group of professional indie dyers and really amazing people. This professional membership has been key in growing and expanding my business.

I dabbled with dyeing as far back as 2009, with just powdered drink mix and cheap wool, but started seriously dyeing for myself with professional dyes in 2013 and began selling first fiber, and then yarn in 2014. At first, I had just four yarn bases and two fiber bases.

I’ve grown my product line quite a lot since then. I now regularly carry 12 breed specific fibers (both hand dyed and undyed), and between 10 and 12 yarn bases, depending on the time of year, all high quality wools and blends. My dyed fiber braids are 8 oz, undyed are 4 oz, and I have sampler packs with all the breeds, and a learn to spindle kit with spindle and fiber. I also do 4 oz blended batts, and gradient batts, as well as 1.5 oz art batts.

I’m in the process of adding to my product offerings with add-ins for spinning (silk noil, Angelina, etc.), needle felting kits, some patterns, etc. I’ve also become a Spinolution spinning wheel dealer and carry several other products in my shop from local makers including ceramic yarn bowls, ceramic buttons and shawl pins, moisturizer bars, wool wash, etc.

I originally started dyeing because I wanted more unique colors for my own projects than what I was finding in commercial yarns. My budget didn’t allow for much indie dyed stuff back then, so I started making my own. When people wouldn’t stop asking me to dye for them, it turned into a business, and has grown tremendously since then.

My background before dyeing was mostly as a stay at home mom homeschooling our kids. I did work part time in several yarn shops, sold some finished knitted goods, and did a little pattern designing.

I think my yarns are unique just because they represent me, my tastes, my dye styles, etc. Customers have told me they recognize when something is my yarn and that it looks different from others dyeing. I like to choose unexpected color combos, I usually like high saturation, and I tend to design whole families of colors that can be used together. In fiber 
I’m unique because I offer so many different breeds, and I always dye 8 oz braids, which are twice the size of what most dyers are doing. I also try to bring in breed specific fibers with a variety of textures and avoid too many luxury blends. I’ve just made an effort to be sure I’m offering different things than other dyers in my region. I really believe there’s room for all of the wonderful dyers when we all have a niche and a style.

Something non dyers might not know, I actually didn’t know until I had been dyeing for a while. I didn’t realize how many different ways dyers are dyeing. I learned two main methods, and I knew of a couple more, but now I know, there are nearly as many different ways to dye yarn as there are yarn dyers. There are very few hard and fast rules about how yarn can obtain a new permanent color on wool. Now, I have branched out and have been experimenting with several new to me techniques in addition to my tried and true, and it’s improving my overall skill set and the quality of my products. Non dyers also usually don’t understand how much labor goes into dyeing yarn, especially for specialty products or when a dyer reaches production levels. For me, this is a full time job now and I’m needing help to keep up.

Inspiration: My favorite inspirations are from traveling and events. Things that I can experience personally. But I do also draw from photos sometimes, too, and I have quite a lot of Pinterest boards for this purpose.

Colorways: For yarn: I have somewhere between 60 and 80 colorways, I stopped counting. For fiber: None right now, I do all my fiber one of a kind (or usually three or four of a kind, but not repeatable). However, I’m considering adding some regular colorways for gradient dyed braids soon.

Special order colors: I do some special order colors for my wholesale customers.

Bases: 10-12 yarn bases, 12 breed specific fiber bases

Where you can find me and my yarn:
The website has a list of events, and at some point will also have an online shop.

Facebook is the place to look for the most up to date information. Events, whether the shop might be closed, etc.

Instagram gives you a peek into what I’m doing and working on day to day and will have the most up to date announcements.

I have many, many inspiration boards on Pinterest to draw color inspiration from whenever I need some.

Ravelry Group: This group has been edited, it was formerly the DragynKnyts group but now that I’ve changed my business name, I’ve updated the group.

LYS: You can find my yarns and fibers in my own studio in Eugene, OR during open times, and at trunk shows in LYS’s and at fiber festivals around the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Current retailers carrying my products:
Cozy. In Eugene, OR
Ewe and I in Chehalis, WA
Blizzard Yarn and Fiber in Vancouver, WA

Thanks Lynette! And Thanks to Lynette's recommendations all THREE of those yarn shops she mentioned have invited me to teach there.

Remember Today is the LAST DAY to PreOrder the Fall Ficstitches Yarns Kit Club featuring Lynette's Yarn, you can choose "Smudge Stick" or "Shrimp". Don't miss your chance!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Dyers in Their Studios - Brooke of Sincere Sheep

Welcome Brooke Sinnes of Sincere Sheep, the dyer for our Summer Ficstitches Yarns Kit Club. Brookes booth at fiber shows always catches my eye because of the lovely soft shades of color you can only get when dyeing with natural materials, including Indigo, which is mentioned in several of of the fictional stories author C. Jane Reid writes for our Kits.

Indigo was a commonly used element for dyeing in the historical periods of the stories, but can be used to achieve a whole range of colors beyond the blues one would expect. In fact both the pale blue St. Bart's and dark burgandy Urchin colors choices for the summer kit are created using Indigo. Because Brooke's cormo yarns are custom spun exclusively for Sincere Sheep, she was able to create extra large skeins for our kits, so we would have enough for a larger project for this kit. We are so excited to be working with her! Now let's get to know more about Brooke and Sincere Sheep....

·       How long have you been dyeing yarn? Since about 2013.
·       How did you get started dyeing?  I found out that local farmers were composting or throwing away their wool because the wool prices were so low that it didn’t make sense to ship it to the local wool pool.
·       What is your background?  I have a degree in Landscape Architecture.
·       Do you have any special experience with art or science that influences your dyeing?  My dad is an artist and writer so I grew up around art.
·       Where do you create?  My studio is located in the side yard and garage of my house. It’s not particularly sexy but it allows me the flexibility I need since I have an eight-year-old son. I currently employ 3 people part-time beside myself.

·       What makes your yarn special or unique?  All my yarn is naturally dyed and my yarn bases are primarily domestically sourced and spun and breed specific.
·       How is dyeing with natural dyes different from using other dyes?  It’s more labor intensive and the dyes tend to be more expensive. I think it is all worth it because the palette from natural dyes is eminently wearable and it provides a fascinating connection with the past!
·       What is something interesting about your dyeing process that non-dyers might not know?  My dyeing process is a multi-day process! 
·       How do you choose your colors and name your yarns?  Sometimes I develop a color because I am looking to fill a hole and sometimes new colors come about because of experimentation. Names mostly just pop in to my head!
·       Where do you find inspiration?  All around! The colors achieved by natural dyes are reflected in nature. My inspiration, in a word, is connection. I love that through natural dyes, fiber, and crafting I have a connection to the past, to other cultures, to farmers, to community, to fiber mills and to the land. I love that I help to support other small businesses, family farms, family fiber mills and women owned businesses through what I do. That means a lot to me.

·       How many colorways do you have? About 26.
·       Do you create seasonal or special order colors? I do collaborate to create custom colors. Seasonal colors can come from gathered plants (Queen Anne’s Lace; Fennel; Loquat leaves for example) but most of my colors are available year-round.
·       How many and what types of bases do you use?  I have around 15 bases and focus on breed specific wool and wool blend yarns.
·       Where do your yarn bases come from?  The vast majority of my bases are domestically sourced and spun. My Cormo bases are custom spun for me.
·       How is the specialty yarn, made for Sincere Sheep, processed?  We have our single source Cormo yarns made custom for Sincere Sheep. The yarn making process starts with the sheep being shorn at 9 Mile Ranch in Kaycee, Wyoming. We then work with the representative of the wool pool that represents the Rocky Mountain West region to purchase the Cormo wool and have it sent to Chargeurs in South Carolina. Once there the wool is scoured to remove dirt and lanolin. From there it is shipped to Kraemer mill in Pennsylvania where is carded, combed, and spun in to the three different weights of yarn we have specified. After it is it spun it is sent to me in Napa where I naturally dye it before it makes its way out into the world and into your hands.
·       Where can we find your yarn? LYSs and online? Yes in our Online Store and at shows. 

·       What are your favorite colors? Cool colors in general but green specifically
·       Favorite fibers?  Cormo wool
·       Do you crochet, knit, or spin? What came first?  All the above. I joke that I must be an alien birth because while there are lots of creative people in my extended family I am the only one who knits, weaves, etc. It started when I was a kid and I hated watching TV and not doing anything with my hands. I taught myself how to knit, crochet, bead weave, latch hook and more. I continued knitting through high school and university, and learned to spin after I graduated from college.
·       Anything else you would like to share?  After graduation I moved back to Berkeley and found a place to take weaving classes. That led to classes on spinning, felting, and natural dyeing. Learning these skills inspired me like nothing else. At the same time I was learning all of this, the price of wool in the US was tanking and the slow food movement was really gaining momentum. I also moved to Napa, which is in the epicenter of viticulture and wine making in California. All of this combined made me realize the concept of terroir, or how the location and year an agricultural product is grown affects its characteristics, could be applied to naturally dyed fibers. After all wool is a record of the ewe’s year and natural dyes change from year to year based on growing conditions. With that in mind I set about buying wool from small local farms at much higher prices than what the local wool pool was paying at the time. I had this local wool processed at a mill less than 60 miles from my house and then I naturally dyed it before selling it at area shows. This concept of using my business to support and connect the makers to the fiber producers has served as a foundation of my business as it has grown and changed over the past 13 years.

·       Website?
·       Ravelry Group? Sincere Sheep 
·       Facebook? Sincere Sheep 
·       Twitter? @sinceresheep
·       Instagram - @sinceresheep      
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