For the Love of Color
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t knitting, and short of injury or ill-health, I can’t imagine ever putting my needles down. I don’t know if my need to keep my hands occupied came as a result of knitting or was what led me to it.
Dyeing has felt like a homecoming for me. As a photography student at the San Francisco Art Institute in the 80’s I spent hours in the darkroom color correcting my photographic prints. Intensifying reds, taking greens out of blue to make it true, turning a pink into purple. When I learned fiber dyeing I was amazed to see that the process is almost identical to darkroom work; changing filters and altering exposure time to get the perfect shade and saturation were not unlike the additive and subtractive process when creating my pigment percentages and solution strength for the perfect depth of shade in my yarn.
Back in 2003 I started Knitwhits, a knitting pattern and kit company. After 6 years of designing small portable projects and keeping within the strict boundaries of making cost-effective, “kit-able” designs, I was bursting at the seams to make sweaters and larger projects. I started designing using primarily self-striping yarns as it appealed to my need to still change things up a bit. Long stretches of stockinette in one color just don’t seem to hold my attention.
It became increasingly apparent that though there were some gorgeous self-striping yarns on the market, there were elements still missing. It is those missing elements that I bring to Freia Handpaint Yarns. I have developed an extensive range of gradient yarns unlike anything that existed before. I straddle the line somewhere between an indie dyer and a large yarn company, providing a unique hand dyed yarn, but with lots of hours and hard work we are able to produce the yarn at levels to supply the wholesale market, enabling us to sell to retail stores across the world. The yarn I use is soft and lofty (or smooshy as I prefer to call it). It has a wonderful rustic character to it, without the itch. In our Flux self-striping yarn the balls begin and end in the same color, making it simple to just keep knitting on a bigger project without having to dig to match colors from ball to ball (and waste yarn in the process). The Ombré yarns have gorgeous extra long gradients and our semi-solids give a knitter enough flexibility to combine all sorts of colors in a project.
I love what I do, I feel like a kid in a candy store. I get to play with color, I get to knit and design with yarn whose color I’ve created and dyed from scratch. Short of owning my own sheep, this is may be the next best thing!
And who is Freia? Freia is my wonderful Chesapeake Bay Retriever who keeps me sane the rest of the time. Both Freia (the dog) and Freia (the yarn) have brought a wonder to my life that is priceless in beauty, joy and exuberance.