Welcome to the very first interview in Dye One, Purl Two! When I was coming up with this series, the first person who came to mind to interview was Stephanie, an indie dyer from Space Cadet Yarn. I’ve been a longtime fan of her newsletter and yarns and knew I had to share her genius with you.
Seriously, though- if you haven’t checked her yarns out, go look at them after reading this. They’re all so beautiful. Also, if you spin yarn, she sells the most beautiful fiber. Just, go check her out, OK!
How did you first get started dyeing yarns?
I’ve been a knitter since I was 19 and a spinner since I was in my 20s. The group I used to spin with in the UK also organized dyeing days twice a year, using natural dyes from things like onion skins and walnut shells that we’d collect in the months ahead but natural dyeing always intimidated me too much to try on my own. When I moved to the US, I made friends with a group of fiber artists who inspired me to try dyeing with commercial dyes, which I found easier. I tried it, loved it, and never looked back!
What are your favorite tools?
My project bag, which is a custom SpaceCadet tote with glow-in-the-dark ink. Not that I sit and knit much in the dark, but I love it! I also love ChiaoGoo circular needles — they’re not too expensive but really nice quality and the cable between the needles behaves itself nicely.
(Sacia’s Note: I love the ChiaoGoo needles too!)
For running my business, my favorite tool is my Pilot fountain pen. It makes doing boring things like writing lists and working on finances so much nicer.
How do you organize your supplies and WIP’s?
In massive piles that are everywhere! I keep the shop yarn organized and easy to find (and safely sealed up in zippered comforter bags), but my own stuff just gets dumped all over the place. Isn’t that terrible?
What does your average day as an indie dyer look like?
I start late — I am not a morning person. Then I usually head down to the studio to dye. Later in the afternoon, I stop working and focus on my family and dinner, and then after they’ve all gone to bed, I log onto my computer to work on my newsletter, answer emails and do other business-ey things until late, late into the night. I usually head to bed somewhere between 2 and 4 am… and then start the next day late again. 😉
Do you prefer knitting, crocheting, spinning…?
No! I genuinely love all three and whichever one I’m doing feels like my favorite at that time. But more than any of them, I love dyeing.
What’s your favorite place to craft?
In the summer, on my front porch, which has a lovely view of the sunset. In the winter, I have a nice comfortable chair in a quiet corner of a room that gets lovely sunlight.
What are you working on right now?
A shawl that I am making up as I go along, combining two of my favorite fingering yarns: our bamboo yarn, Maia, which has a lovely sheen, and our very light merino, Celeste. The combination of the two different textures is so eye-catching, and it’s the basis of our current Combining Yarns KCAL over in the SpaceCadet group on Ravelry.
What are your favorite aspects of running an indie yarn business?
So many! My assistants and I marvel all the time that we get to do this for a job! I love exploring color in what I dye, love meeting new fiber folks, love being surrounded all day by yarn, and love that I can sleep in and not get in trouble with the boss!
Any tips for someone looking to get started running an indie yarn business?
Dyeing is easy, running a business is not. Focus on the business, know your customer, be honest and honorable, and always think ahead.
Where can we find you?
Best of all, by joining my newsletter! https://spacecadetyarn.com/get-the-spacecadet-newsletter/
Isn’t she great? So many thanks to Stephanie for contributing! If you’d like to be interviewed or have requests to hear from another fiber art master, let me know in the comments. This will be an ongoing series every Monday.