Hello, my name is Krysten, and I am Karin’s guest blogger today! I know Karin from Ravelry, and “naelany” is who she is to me in my head (Ravelry names are hard to get away from!). When she invited me to post as a guest on her blog, I felt sure that she knew what the bulk of the post would be about: I am an independent yarn dyer, and that means I am ALL YARN, ALL THE TIME.
I am the owner and artist of Gherkin’s Bucket fiber and yarns, and on Ravelry (as well as frequently in real life) I am known as Gherkin. I began crocheting as a youngster in middle school…I was in the Crochet Club (yep, cool kid, totally), but it didn’t really “take”. It wasn’t until a few years after my son was born that I really got into it and began making items for myself, family/friends, and for sale. Once I realized the range of items I could make if I also knew how to knit, I promptly taught myself. My husband saw how I took to it and, desiring to be a part of things, surprised me with a spinning wheel for Christmas in 2007, anticipating that he would spin yarn for me. Well, we spent the next few months fighting over whose turn it was to spin on the thing, but eventually I emerged as the more interested spinner and off I went! Now there were new things for me to buy…not just yarn, but unspun fiber (combed top, batts, rolags, roving), and my husband encouraged me to try my hand at dyeing items myself. Open a wholesale account, he said, start a business, he said… and the snowball began rolling.
“What will I name it?” I wondered; perhaps you can guess who stepped in to help. Husband and I rattled off different shop names one after another until we reached an unsatisfied lull. Suddenly he blurted out, “Gherkin’s Bucket!”, and it was so ridiculous that we just laughed and laughed, and once we finished snickering we realized: that was going to be the name. And here I am, almost ten years later! One of the latest developments with my shop has been the dedicated dyeing studio that my husband and I built in our backyard. I don’t mean we hired people to build it. I really mean we did it ourselves (except for the roof…because I like living). Here are a some pictures of the process:
It has been an amazing, amazing step forward for the Bucket, and I’ve been able to work more effectively and efficiently, and without breaking any more limbs. True story. Broke my arm when ~150lbs of water and yarn came crashing down on me while I was working in our cramped laundry room. Still finished dyeing all the yarn that day though – dyeing yarn is not for the weak! ;D
Weaving and felting are also some of the crafts that I’ve picked up along the way in the rolling snowball of fiber & yarn addiction, although they are the skills that fall to the bottom of my list and I don’t get around to them very often. Knitting and crocheting are my bread and butter because of the samples and models that I frequently create to showcase my yarn, fiber, and original pattern designs. In addition to the Trunk Shows and shelf-stocking that I do at Local Yarn Stores (and looking nationwide very soon), I have been really privileged to work with a local designer, Yumiko Alexander, and I have had my yarns featured with her patterns online and at trade shows that she attends (Stitches, Vogue Knitting Live, etc.). Here are just a few examples of the patterns that she has recommended for use with my yarn:
Urban Chic in my Long Stride Sock in “Going Under”
I can’t say enough good things about Yumiko and her designs! She is a super swell gal, and she creates attractive, creative, and wearable designs. You can find her online at www.DanDoh.com and also on Ravelry.
Lately, I’ve been bitten by the shawl bug. I don’t even really wear shawls, but boy do I love knitting them. Here are a couple that I’ve completed most recently:
Golden Orchids in my Quick Step Sock in “Dark Plum”
BLT Scarf in my Shimmer Sock in “Red Out Loud”
And, perhaps most perplexing to non-knitters, I love to knit socks! No, it isn’t cheaper; no, it isn’t faster; no, they usually don’t look like a regular sock in regards to construction, but when you put on some hand-knit socks…you get it. Here are a couple of those to check out too:
Now I realize that every one of the projects I’ve shown has been knit, so I’ll include a few crochet pieces just so they don’t feel left out:
Amma Granny Square Top in my 80/20 SW Merino Silk Lace in “Royale”
I hope you have enjoyed seeing a glimpse into the madness of being an “Indie Dyer”. If you are of the yarn- & fiber-inclined sort, please do check out my shop and don’t forget to take part in my Christmas in July sale going on now through July 10th (code EtsyCIJ16 gives you 20% off)! Have a wonderful day! 😀