30 May 2011

Featured Artisan - colorshiftyarn

As you may or may not know, I've recently learned how to crochet. It was always something I wanted to learn to do; that or knitting, but I find crocheting to be easier.

Of course, since I am now have the opportunity to make a plethora of items with string and a hook (awesome, eh?), I've been on the look-out for fantastic yarn. So I browsed what etsians had in their shops. There was a bunch of hand dyed yarns, with different kinds of yarns and thicknesses and types, etc. I easily got confused. This is coming from a woman who is trying to make fingerless gloves without a pattern. *sheepish grin*

But that has not stopped me from trying to find great colours. When I saw this picture, I was in heaven!

Now, I'm not normally a purple girl, but this is just beautiful! Then I saw more:

I was totally in heaven - such beautiful colours, with fading from dark to light all in the same colour! They are each their own ball, but I can see the hats and socks (maybe, eventually) I can make with these colours!

I had to look at the shop. There are TONS of different colours in colorshiftyarn! GORGEOUS!!! I had to learn more about this shop-person! Erica, from Seattle, started dying her own yarn when the yarns that she bought weren't doing it for her anymore - they were limiting her creativity.

I read more of Erica's profile, which is beautifully written and very instructive about her craft. She explains how the gradation of colours cannot be found easily in yarn, and explains a bit about the properties of the yarn she uses. She also shares care instruction of the yarn and even explains the way she measures and weighs the yarn to provide a fair price to her customers. She even offers tips to newbies who are trying to choose the right kind of yarn and colour for their specific project! Needless to say, there is a lot of great and helpful information on her profile.

With such beautiful work and wonderfully descriptive words, I had to contact Erica for a little interview. Here are a few questions she graciously answered:

What made you decide to become an artist?
I keep a large stock of dyed yarns for designing. I might do a dozen dye runs for a single color and use just one of the runs because of its nuance. My studio quickly becomes overstocked with dyed yarn when I am designing. I decided to list some of my gradated sets on Etsy. I find the Etsy environment very inspiring. It connects me with people who care about the personal and beautiful contributions to life which are so lacking in the rat race.

What are your goals?
Because dyeing is very labor intensive, the small gradated sets I sell on Etsy could never become my day job. A proper dye business would mean working in greater quantities on standard colors rather than making unique individual sets. That kind of business doesn't interest me. What I love is the interaction with the knitters and designers who buy my yarn. Their requests for colors take me in new directions. For example, a fashion student needed to match a color for a knitted detail. She sent me computer screen colors and I translated these into dye formulas, sending her dyed yarn samples. I learned a lot about that color and the color palette she chose for its context. My time was not compensated in dollars, but in something much more valuable to me. 

What does a typical creative day look like for you?
I spent many years in the fiber scene writing, networking and teaching. This drained my best energy, so during the last years, I have become reclusive and stingy about my time. The time that does not go to family and job goes to my designing and research. There is a steady progression of ideas that get turned into formulas, then yarns, and ultimately into designs. I am meticulous about organizing my information, workspace, and procedures. Mornings are usually for dyeing, because this requires clear concentration and physical strength. The new color formulas to be dyed are written out on cards stacked in the lab from days prior. I pick up the top one and get started. As time permits throughout the day, I work on designs. Toward the end of the day when my inspiration is waning, I do the routine work of skeining, winding and tidying up. In the evenings, my husband reads aloud and I knit my design swatches. Heaven!

Isn't is great to find an artist who is so in touch with what is important to her, and she lives her life in the best way to achieve happiness and peace? I think so!

I just took a look through Erica's shop now, and I noticed that the deep purple skein (the first picture) is sold now! But that's okay, since reading through her profile, I think I would prefer to purchase a skein from the new yarn. There's a really nice warm grey colour there.

Colorshiftyarn also sells charts and instructions, and outline and border yarns

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing about Erica and her wondrous work with wool (alliteration!). When I have a chance, I plan to purchase some of her yarns, probably to make matching winter hats for Alexander and Isabel.


1 comment:

  1. Love the photography on the yarn!

    Happy Memorial Day!



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