Friday, October 12, 2018

Dyers In Their Studios - Lori of Fidalgo Artisan Yarns

Introducing Lori Maul of Fidalgo Artisan Yarns & Clothing. We met Lori last fall at Vogue Knitting Live in Seattle. Her booth was just down the aisle from our display in the Artist's Gallery. We meet a lot of yarn dyers at the various shows we attend each year, but some we know we want to work with right away because of their obvious enthusiasm for what we are creating with our Ficstitches Yarns Kits, combining hand-dyed yarns, historical fiction and my designs. Lori was clearly excited to work with us on a future kit, coming to our booth to learn more, and giving us sample yarn to begin dreaming up what design it would be come. We are excited to feature her Winter Silk (baby alpaca and tussah silk) yarn in our upcoming Ficstitches Yarns Winter Kit. Preorders are open this month only. Learn all about Lori and her inspiration in her own words...

Winter Silk featured in Ficstitches Yarns Winter Kit Club
How long have you been dyeing yarn?
I’ve learned over 30 years ago.

How did you get started dyeing?
I studied dyeing at the University of Washington where I received my BA.  My studies centered on the fiber arts, particularly weaving.  Students studied all classes of dyes, including natural dyes.

What is your background?
I was raised in a small town southeast of Seattle.  Growing up, my mother always had a stitchery project going; she was an excellent cross-stitcher.  A friend of hers taught me to knit and I was hooked.  As an exchange in West Germany in the early 1980’s, I learned to design sweaters and continental-style knitting.  I studied textiles and fiber arts at the University of Washington and have always had a side business selling knitwear and/or hand-dyed yarns. 

My professional career was in administration, finance, human resources, and fundraising.  Almost five years ago, I left my career to open a small boutique featuring handmade clothing.  I opened Fidalgo Artisan Yarn Company a little over three years ago.  In April, I merged the two shops and haven’t looked back.  I started to do yarns shows last year.  The company’s new name is Fidalgo Artisan Yarn & Clothing.

Do you have any special experience with art or science that influences your dyeing?
Study at the university greatly influenced my need for top quality yarns, my careful dye processes, and my desire to create the best hand-dyed yarn possible. I want to be proud of each skein we sell.  Formal study of color also enhanced my color sense and my ability to mix/match colors. 

What makes your yarn special or unique?
I am an immersion dyer and spend a great deal of time at the dye pot mixing colors.  I use 9 colors to create my yarns.  I remove my yarns from the dye pot, hand manipulate them, add other colors of dye, and submerge the yarns again.  I may to this 7-8 times for one dye lot.  This process creates beautiful color transition and blending.
Dyeing is very creative for me.  I generally do not dye repeatable colors.

Lastly, our luxury fibers/yarns are of very high quality.  We have unique blends (baby camel and silk anyone?) and a wide variety of weights/blends. 

How do you choose your colors and name your yarns?
This is always fun and a challenge.  When Emily began working with me, she said she had always wanted to name paint colors.  Perfect.  We will often lay yarns out on a table and ask our customers to name them.  A few of our customers are very clever…so is Emily!

Where do you find inspiration?
Like many artists, I find most of my inspiration in nature.  My dye studio is at home and overlooks Cornet Bay on Whidbey Island.  I love to garden and between the two, there is no better inspiration for me.

Lastly, I often look at a skein and imagine how it will look when knit/crochet/woven.  It is important that my yarns look good in a skein but more importantly, look good when used in a project.

How many colorways do you have?  Unlimited
Do you create seasonal or special order colors?  Yes.
How many and what types of bases do you use?  Over 25 base yarns including many luxury fiber blends: silk, cashmere, alpaca, sea cell, baby camel.
Where do your yarn bases come from?  I have three different suppliers.
Where can we find your yarn? LYSs and online?  We sell only our signature yarn in our shop, located in Anacortes WA., and online at  We also bring our yarns to at least 6 shows each year.

What are your favorite color?  All the luscious shades/colors of orange.
Favorite fibers?  Wool, alpaca, silk
Do you crochet, knit, or spin? What came first? Knit first, spin second, crochet third (and just a little bit!)
Anything else you would like to share? Our name, Fidalgo, comes is the name of the island where our shop is located.  People are always curious about that.

Ravelry Group?  Fidalgo artisan yarn lovers
Facebook? fidalgoyarns
Instagram?  fidalgoyarns

Choose Hemlock Grove or Loam in Fidalgo's Winter Silk
for the Ficstitches Yarns Winter Kit Club
Preorders Open Now! October Only!

All photos courtesy of Fidalgo Artisan Yarns and Clothing.