The knitting and spinning community is always inspiring. When I started knitting again in 2012, it wasn’t long before I, like many of you, discovered indie dyers . . . and promptly bought a lot more yarn than I needed. So it was with Tanis Fiber Arts, run by Tanis Lavallee. I was looking at some patterns on Ravelry and there I went down the Rabbit Hole that ended with skeins of yarn dyed in unbelievable colorways. I’m not alone: Jimmy Beans Wool has been featuring indie dyers (they call them micro-brew yarns) and Tanis Fiber Arts was among them! I wanted to try so many of Tanis’ colors that I bought one of her lovely TFA Paletts in Jewel tones. I’ve used this yarn for a pair of mittens and a hat–really lovely superwash yarn (if that’s your thing, this should be in your stash!) I have several skeins left (the Palette pack contains some generous yardage) and half the time, I’m dreaming up ways to use them; the other half of the time, I’m just enjoying them!
This got me to thinking . . . I wondered if Tanis would be up for an email interview? And she was! Even in the midst of her growing business and family, she managed to answer some questions–and send some beautiful pictures. I hope you will check out her beautiful yarns and patterns on Ravelry. Amazing.
How did Tanis Fiber Arts get its start?
TFA started as just me dyeing sock yarn for myself in my apartment kitchen. I was spending a lot of time on Etsy browsing gorgeous yarns and decided to give it a go. I opened an Etsy shop in 2008 and the rest is history.
How have your colorway inspirations changed over time?
New colourways are completely driven by my mood. I started out aiming to establish a good variety of colour. I wanted to have something for everyone, and to me that meant representing every colour of the rainbow. Now that I’ve got my bases covered I do whatever I feel like. Somedays I’m really feeling subtle neutrals, other days I like to see how many crazy colours I can combine to create something unexpectedly beautiful.
Who (or what) were your favorite teachers?
Experience and trial and error. Though I did take a textiles class as part of my Fine Arts degree, we didn’t cover yarn or knitting, so I’m pretty much completely self taught. I googled, youtubed and then just made up a method that works for me.
What is your best piece of advice for new dyers?
Do what you love. Don’t try and create colourways that you think other people will want but you don’t really love yourself. In my experience those colours never sell as well anyway. People can tell when something was made with passion.
Any new projects (either fiber or business related) on the horizon?
I’m always working towards new things. New patterns, kits, colourways and yarns. We’re taking it easy this summer since we just added a new baby to the family, but for fall I’ll be focussing on an exciting new base I’m really pumped to share.
How can interested buyers get in touch with you?
Through my website www.tanisfiberarts.com