See Melissa's updated blog posts on the right hand side of our blog for the month of July!
Tell us little bit about how you began your love for dyeing yarn?
I began my adventures in dyeing yarn in the summer of 2009 and am completely self-taught. All my life I’ve learned best by doing. I suppose I approach dyeing like I do the other creative interests in my life, whether it be cooking or painting, I approach them fearlessly, with the idea that chance really does work in our favor and complete trust in the “feel” of things. Sure, sometimes things don’t work out quite the way you imagined them but it’s also how really great things come about too.
What inspired you to begin a handmade yarn business?
I first learned how to knit when my mom opened the doors to 88 Stitches back in 2007. Being an artist and lover of all crafts I really took to it and haven’t stopped since. Working at the shop really inspired me to begin dyeing my own yarns. It’s also a great creative outlet, sometimes it’s nice to make colour for the sake of making it. At art school we’re constantly challenged with meanings and reasonings and are pushed towards conceptualism. With dyeing it’s just about the pretty colours and soft yarns. It’s a lovely way to rest the mind while still being creatively active.
Your colourways are gorgeous, where does you inspiration come?
During my first year at Emily Carr University I took a painting & colour theory class and it changed my life completely. Not only did I learn about the many ways in which colour operates I learned how to properly mix and decipher colour. In my painting practice I spend almost the same amount of time mixing my colours as I do actually applying them. This experience has really helped me with dyeing and choosing and pairing my colours together. Though powdered dyes are much more limiting than oil paints and a tad more chance driven too, I feel that I am still able to manipulate and predict colour in a similar way. My Grey Collection is a direct result of my fascination and obsession with chromatic greys in my paintings. Though the process and result of coloured greys in dyeing are slightly simpler, I’m still drawn to them and their unique and mysterious beauty. You could say that I’m inspired by colour itself. As for the names of my colours, most come after. I find they often remind me of places I’ve been, things I seen and the little bits of random that make up the rest of the day.
What is your favourite fibre to work with (dyeing wise or knitting wise)?
Anything with cashmere. Silk Cashmere Fingering & the Cashmerinos are my favourites to both dye & knit.
Where are your yarns available for purchase?
My yarns & stitch markers can be found both online in my Etsy shop and in store at 88 Stitches (Langley, BC). They’re also available at Knits by the Sea (Tofino, BC) & will be soon stocked at Make One Yarn Studio (Calgary, AB).
Vancouver Yarn is a free resource which links you to local DIY textile shops and designers as well as artists and makers which are local to greater Vancouver BC, unceded Coast Salish territory, and throughout British Columbia. We also list online shops and designers Canada-wide.
Our links come from you - Thank you! If you tell us about a dyer, designer, shop etc. we will add it to Vancouver Yarn.