Dye Studio Chronicles

 Hello from my new studio in Olympia, Washington! Located at:414 1/2 Legion Way SE Olympia, WA. Open house was great, so many friends and family came by and I was finally able to show them this crazy fiber-love thing I do. Not that it convinced them of my sanity, but at least now they have a visual.

 I’m also pleased to say that knitters are finding me in this little out of the way place in downtown Olympia, and seem to like the space. I am able to showcase the local wool and shine a spotlight on the beautiful yarns created from local fiber. The local movement is strong here in my community, and I am encouraged that Jorstad Creek will be able to continue to support the local farms we partner with as we keep growing the market for locally produced yarn.

With the imported hand-dyed yarn line I am both happy and chagrined to see sources of British Blue-faced Leicester yarns sell out as fast as they can be produced. I found some very special BFL yarns I’ve been dyeing for a number of years, and now others have also found them – poof! They are gone from the supplier. I am encouraged that British BFL is making a comeback, and hope to see the resurgence of this amazing breed of sheep continue and be sustainable.  Because of the success and limited supply I will have to move on to discover new and equally amazing yarns that knitters will appreciate. And I will cast around for locally grown BFL, as I recall there is a small grower in southwest Washington that sells wool from their flock!

It has been a slow summer for the yarn stores I partner with, even though we’ve collaborated on trunk shows and other events to keep up the excitement around handdyed yarns and summer projects. This is part of the cycle for this craft, compounded by extreme summer heat in the northwest. We put together small projects in kits and focused on color as well as yarn blends with silk.  Next year I hope to bring to the yarn collection organic cotton. I am careful to look for fibers that do not require toxic chemicals to make, and come from sustainable sources. Part of the fun is experimenting with prospective yarns and really looking at quality as well as source.

With the new expanded space for the dye studio I will begin working on Fall/Winter seasonal colors. I’ve already discovered an amazing seasonal blue that pairs with a gold-toned brown and “marsala,” the Pantone color of the year. And I now have the time and equipment to be able to produce hand-painted yarn again! I’ve been photographing inspirational color combinations in preparation for being able to do this technique. I am also planning to make a foray into painting roving for spinners. I hope to post next time more about colors, and include photos.

  I will be setting up a schedule for Fall for a monthly spin-in and a monthly knit-in. The interaction with my fellow fiber artists is what so often provides the inspiration and the energy to try new things. The feedback loop is an essential part of what I need to keep inspired, so I look forward to the cooler weather as a time for coming together again, old friends and new. If you are interested in attending one of these groups please send me your email address and I will add you to the notification list – you will get an email with the schedule and occasional updates. Until next time, keep knitting! Kerry

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