Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dyers In Their Studios: Wendy of Shaggy Bear Farms

Shaggy Bear Farms Yarns

  Profile: Wendy Hanson of Shaggy Bear Farms
      ·       How long have you been dying yarn?
           I have been dyeing yarn for about three or four years.
·       How did you get started dying?
I got started dyeing after I watched some ladies dyeing roving and it looked like fun.  I figured that with a farm with lots of fiber around, I could play around with color and not do too much damage.
·       What is your background?
We moved to Oregon about ten years ago and started a “fiber farm.”  We stared with a few Pygora goats, and a handful of Jacob sheep.  Now our farm is home to more than 25 different breeds of fiber animals. 
·       Do you have any special experience with art or science that influences your dying?
The color choices used in my dye work come from the things I find on our farm.  We have several breeds of rare breed chickens and their feathers contain amazing color combinations.  I figure that Mother Nature will never lead you astray with a colorway.
Jacob, Navajo Churro, Icelandic, Romeldale, and Perendale sheep
Your Yarn
          ·        What makes your yarn special or unique?
My yarn is special because it comes from the animals on our farm.  Most of the time I can look at the yarn and tell you which sheep, goats, or alpacas provided the fiber for it. 
·       What is something interesting about your dying process that non-dyers might not know?
Many people have a fear of dyeing because they worry that they might make a mistake.  Some of my most beautiful colorways have come from a boo-boo.  And if you do make a mistake, usually you can dye it with another color or two and make a mistake into magic.
·       How do you choose your colors and name your yarns? 
If I had my way, every yarn would be natural colored or blue.  It dawned on me one day that since I needed to dye yarn for customers who might like other colors besides blue, I needed to expand my color choice horizons.  So now I look outside my window for inspiration in selecting my colors.  I give my yarns names based on what the colorway reminds me off.  Usually it will be the first descriptor that pops into my head.
·       Where do you find inspiration? 
Good ol’ Mother Nature.
Jacob Sheep Yarn
 Just The Facts
      ·      How many colorways do you have?
Dozens (watch later this week for a whole post of pics of Wendy's colors and yarns)
·       Do you create seasonal or special order colors?
I do custom order dyeing frequently.
·       How many and what types of bases do you use?
I use yarns from the 25 different breeds we raise on our farm.
·       Where do your yarn bases come from?
My yarns come from my own animals.
·       Where can we find your yarn? LYSs and online?
I sell at a number of fiber fairs in Oregon, Washington, and California, as well as Northwest Wools in Portland, OR.  People also contact me by phone or email (  I ship regularly to customers all over the United States.
Gotland Sheep Yarn
·       What are your favorite colors?
Blue and Gold—can never get enough of these two colors
     ·       Favorite fibers?
           That’s like asking a mother which one of her kid’s is her
           favorite.  I’ll never tell.
·       Do you crochet, knit, or spin? What came first?
I can do all three but none of them well.  Knitting came first, then crocheting, and then spinning.  Now I don’t have the time to do any of the three.
·       Anything else you would like to share?
My sheep, goats, alpacas and llamas want to encourage your readers to try a new yarn today.  Variety (in yarn and in most everything else) is the spice of life!
Wensleydale Sheep Multicolored Yarn
Link Up
      ·       Website?  Under Construction.
·       Order Directly by Email:
A little preview of tomorrow's Cowl Pattern using Wendys' yarn!

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