An Indie Dyer Origin Story

When people ask how I became and Indie Dyer, I tell them I had to or I'd destroy all the paperclips.

I didn't actually learn to dye until around 2012, but my Fiber Artist "origin story" started when I was in junior high. I couldn't NOT be doing something with my hands, and my mother would find sad twisted paperclip mini-sculptures around the house, mostly the victims of time in front of the tv or a phone conversation running too long. So she taught me to crochet mostly in hope that I could spend some of my idle time creating instead of destroying and she could occasionally find a paperclip in a still-usable condition.

Several ugly scarves later (You know the plain crayon box variegated ones that are the reason people cringe at the words "I made you a scarf!" even if you actually knit something gorgeous in hand dyed gradient lacework? Yeah that's partly my fault.) and some halfway decent afghans under my belt, I was grown up and quite suddenly found myself transported from Washington to Texas and living full time in an RV due to some crazy travel requirements of my husband's job. I decided I needed a new hobby and by chance on YouTube I happened upon nuno felting, wet felting wool onto silk chiffon to make somewhat less ugly scarves. There was even a wool shop in a nearby town that had nice soft stuff that was nothing like the little sampler pack of scratchy wool I found at the craft store! I made some pretty things and even sold a couple on Etsy. 

Then...oh hey look, the wool shop's doing a dyeing class. Wouldn't it be cool to do some custom colors? It sure would! So I took a class and got some dyes, wool and a crock pot. I saw a gorgeous pair of striped knit socks at the shop and taught myself to knit off YouTube videos. And in a moment of sheer insanity I made my first knitting project a pair of socks on double-points. But they actually turned out great and I still wear them.

But then the wool shop had a drop spindle class, and gee, I already had all that wool....and wow, drop spindling was fun but it would be faster on a wheel and look, this cute little wheel would actually (kind of) fit in our 5th Wheel! (This is where I take a moment to say how awesome and laid back and understanding my husband is and how I can never ever gripe about how many tools he has because Yarn.) And gee, if I can dye the wool before I spin it then I can surely dye yarn! And what is this thing they call a Ravelry? I WANT TO KNIT ALL THE THINGS. And because I was a dyer even before I was a knitter or spinner I could really make whatever I wanted!

So yes, I tend to let my crafty passions snowball and I take joy in making as much of something myself as I can. However discussions over keeping an angora bunny in the RV did not get very far.

After waffling around for a few years trying to find myself in my 30s after deciding my pre-RV life career wasn't something I really wanted to go back to but also realizing once we'd mostly settled in one place that I did want to go back to work, I've turned this crazy hobby into a business. I've learned an eye for color blends and how they play with each other in a finished product, and fallen in love especially with tonal and ombre colorways that flow gracefully from one shade to another. I still enjoy creating finished objects myself, but I really love seeing how others use my palettes to create their own masterpieces as I shamelessly stalk the project pages on Ravelry to see what my yarn has grown up to be. Dyeing has been my full time job since 2014, the fiber community has become my tribe, and having people come to my booth or tag me on social media with amazing finished projects in my yarn saying "Look What I Made!" is where I really get the joy in my work. Happy Crafting!