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!

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