Thursday, October 13, 2016

Dyers in Their Studios – Morwenna of Mosaic Moon

The talented indie yarn dyer for our next Ficstitches Yarns Kit Club is Morwenna Palmehn of Mosaic Moon. My author partner, C. Jane Reid was actually the one to discover Morwenna at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival last year. She chatted up Morwenna and her daughter and encouraged me to go talk to them about using their yarn for a future Kit Club. I was immediately drawn to her full skein gradient kits. She has an amazing eye for color, and combining them in ways you may never have thought of. 
2  Full Skein Gradients I'm currently making into sweaters! 
When I found her booth, she gave me a little sampler bag of mini skeins of several different yarns that she had prepared for designers interested in using her yarns. This was a brilliant idea, because when I was looking for a new dyer a few months later to add to our Kit Club line up for this year, I saw her samples, balled up one of the mini skeins and started swatching immediately. 

Learn more about Morwenna and her yarn in her own words:
How long have you been dyeing yarn?
I have been dyeing yarn for almost 13 years.

How did you get started dyeing?
I started dyeing yarn when I realized just how expensive the ‘good’ yarns were at my LYS.  I thought ‘I can do that!’ and just fooled around and taught myself.  At this time, I had 5 young children, ages 1 to 13 years and had a small knitting business.  I quickly realized that it would be much more profitable for me to dye my own yarns than to purchase them already dyed.  I was knitting mainly wool soakers (diaper covers) and they were very popular…but, slowly, the yarn began to be in more demand than the knitted items and my yarn dyeing business took off.

What is your background?
I have a degree in early childhood education and had worked on and off at a daycare/preschool for almost 10 years in between having my own kids.  Since then, I was a homeschooling, stay-at-home-mom.  When my husband quit his job due to a work injury about 10 years ago, we decided to try to build the business up to the point where we could derive our living from it.  We went from me dyeing in our kitchen to a warehouse, and more recently to our property where we recently completed remodeling the garage as a dye studio and putting up a yurt for office and storage space.

Do you have any special experience with art or science that influences your dyeing? No, although I have always been a mad experimenter.
The Mosaic Moon Office
What makes your yarn special or unique?
I have a vast array of colorways from multi-colored variegated to semisolids.  Many of them are named by customers and we have a lot of ‘nerdy’ colorways inspired by pop culture.  We also offer over 50 yarn and fiber types regularly.

What is something interesting about your dyeing process that non-dyers might not know?
Since I learned to dye by experimenting, I don’t follow the typical scientific formula for mixing dyes as outlined on the dyeing jars.  Almost all of my individual colors are mixed (not straight from the jar) and contain several different dye colors.  I don’t dye strictly ‘correctly’ but more ‘artistically’ (while still following all of the rules for setting dyes, etc.)
Midwinter's Frost - ready to cook
How do you choose your colors and name your yarns?
I get a lot of my colors by experimenting and by inspiration from pictures or fabrics that I like, or have been asked to draw inspiration from by customers. 

Where do you find inspiration?
I have drawn inspiration from Celtic myths and names.  I am really into history and etymology.  Nature is a huge inspiration for me, from my amazing state of Oregon to nature photos online.  I have also done many ‘pop culture’ inspired colorways—specifically nerdy shows like Dr Who, Harry Potter, Sherlock, Star Wars, etc.
Girl In The Fireplace
How many colorways do you have?
I have hundreds—I have stopped counting but I am sure it’s over 600 now.

Do you create seasonal or special order colors?
Absolutely!  I have colorways based on seasons, holidays, festivals, etc.  I also do custom colorways by vote on my Raverly group.  If enough customers vote for a custom, I will dye it.

How many and what types of bases do you use?
I have 50+ bases from fingering through bulky weight to rovings that are all wool or wool blends.
Where do your yarn bases come from?
I get my yarn bases from several different suppliers.  I prefer more natural/untreated and organic yarns and fibers, but I also carry lots of superwash options.  My yarns are all mill-spun.

Where can we find your yarn? LYSs and online?
I’ve recently started selling to yarn stores and am adding new accounts slowly.  You can find Mosaic Moon yarns and fibers at the Knotty Lamb in Forest Grove, Oregon and also the Village Yarnery in Springfiled Missouri.  I also sell through my website at as well as Etsy, and at fiber festivals and shows.
Booth at OFFF. Look for them at The Gorge this month!
What are your favorite colors?
My very favorite colors are Fall colors—deep jewel tones and also muted colors—Deep reds, greens, golds, browns, burnt oranges, etc.

Favorite fibers?
Favorite fibers would be targhee wools, rambouillet wools, Polwarth wools.  I appreciate the ‘fancier’ fibers but don’t personally use many of them in my own knitting and spinning.

Do you crochet, knit, or spin? What came first?
I knit, learned at about age 8.  I also just learned to spin about a year ago and recently acquired my first drop spindle.

Anything else you would like to share?
Knitting, Crocheting, and Spinning to me are important arts.  I love things that are ‘real’ and natural—arts where you can make gorgeous things with your hands and have people put them to good use.  I think that this type of craft is ever more important in our increasingly instant-gratification world.  I love it that we can pass on our knowledge and skills to the next generation as well.  For me, dyeing goes right along with all of this, and I see it as a noble profession.
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Choose Web of Life or Nessie in Madrone Fingering
(merino/silk/yak) for the Winter 2016
Ficstitches Yarn Kit Club this month Only!
Most photos courtesy of ©Mosaic Moon

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