So far, the Year of the Indie Dyer has brought me nothing but amazing things. This pursuit has turned a formerly one-woman show into a team effort, and that is truly much more fun.
Last month, I shared my first sneak peak of one of my more recent projects featuring yarn from Knitley Road. I was lucky enough to work up a new cowl design in Stephanie’s all-Canadian rustic fingering in the Garden Party colorway.
There are just so many reasons that makes me smile.
I learned to knit when I was very young from my Italian grandmother. My tension was so tight I could barely squeak the metal needles through the yarn, and I couldn’t cast on or purl to save my life. I put the needles down for a long time, and picked them up again about 10 years ago. By this time I had graduated University and was living 600 kms away from my knitting relatives, and realized I was going to have to learn how to cast-on, by myself, for real. I went to my local box craft store and got a little kit; it had bright metal painted needles, (US size 8), and a book “Teach yourself to knit” or something to that effect. I got pretty good at scarves and flat things; I started watching You Tube videos and learned how to knit cables. I was exhausting weekly coupons on inexpensive, readily available yarn.
Christmas gifts were hand knit, and my poor cousin was gifted my first pair of knit gloves, complete with ladders (remember I had only knit flat things to this point), and uneven fingers. I jumped from scarves and gloves to knit my first adult sweater, (for myself)- a fir lace, knee length cardigan with a hood. It was a big jump. The pattern was found in a library book and I discovered a proper local yarn shop, which soon became a regular haunt, and learned about the wonderful world of wool and yarn outside of a box craft store.
Eventually there were too many knits to give away or to wear and I opened Knitley Road on Etsy in 2012, having sold my handmade greeting cards on Etsy since 2009. I sold at local art fairs, started writing simple patterns. When I moved from Ontario to New Brunswick last year, I intended for Knitley Road to continue along the path of knit items and patterns. At a weekend getaway, a fibre retreat of sorts, a friend brought her acid dyes and told us to bring some bare yarn. After having experimented with dyeing my own yarn with food-colouring gels, using the acid dyes was a whole new world of colour for me to play in.
Soon after the retreat, I bought some acid dyes of my own, found a local small business selling bare yarn and started listing the hand-dyed yarns in my Etsy shop. I love the process and surprise of creating a new colourway; at the beginning, many were single skeins so I could keep experimenting.
We moved from New Brunswick to Alberta last summer, and I’ve been lucky enough to find a local mill that processes Canadian wool, which has become the KR Rustic line. Other bases are sourced from Canadian, American and UK suppliers; I’ll be introducing some new bases over the coming weeks, including New Zealand Polworth. Knitley Road bases are those that I would personally knit with, and we will continue to offer both superwash and non-superwash, as available.
I’m gradually building a list of standard colourways, but I will always offer some one-of-a-kind skeins so that I can keep playing with colour. My inspiration varies.Some of it is colour theory, and experience from making my greeting cards. Other times it’s from nature, or photography. Most recently, I’ve been working on my Canadiana collection, inspired by all things Canadian (accurate or stereotypical, we’re pretty good at laughing at ourselves, eh?).
My education and career is in health care. Knitting and now dyeing yarn, has become my creative outlet and my therapy, which I’m very proud and happy to share with the fibre community. I’m looking forward to seeing how this chapter of Knitley Road is written, and am so grateful to the support, collaboration and friendship of the fibre community. For as long as you let me play and experiment with colour, and be part of your fibre art, I’ll be here.