Today, I have a terrific Indie Dyer Feature for you: Christina of AlohaBlu! I met Christina through some comments about indie dyeing on this blog 🙂 but I have long admired her colorways and eye for inspiring fiber-color combinations. As you’ll see from our brief interview and the images below, Christina finds much of her inspiration from the beautiful places of the world. I was happy to learn that she is also a sock designer–how cool! I love the fair isle sock pattern images she shared below!! And it sounds like there are some exciting new things to look forward to from her shop. Check out AlohaBlu on Etsy and Facebook for more information and inspiration!
All images are courtesy of AlohaBlu.
How did you get into dyeing?
When I joined the KnitPicks Community site years ago, a lot of the crafters there were knitting and spinning and some were dyeing their own wool and yarn. Until then, I had never thought about dyeing my own fibers, but I saw their amazing results and thought it could be fun. So, my hubby – who is a professional artist – and I took a cotton yarn dyeing class at my LYS and had a great time! Cellulose dyeing is a different process than wool, so I later tried wool dyeing with kool-aid and really enjoyed that process. This eventually led to using professional dyes which is what I use now. It helps to have a artist at home to bounce ideas off of, so I give a lot of credit to my husband for helping me with my colorways/creations.
What is your favorite fiber to dye?
I’m primarily a sock knitter, so I love dyeing sock yarn – with my favorite being Superwash Merino/Nylon. As for dyeing wool, Merino & Merino blends are my favorite though Targhee, Polwarth, Shetland, Yak and Silk rank pretty high as well.
Where do you find inspiration?
When I first started dyeing, I dove into my stash of vacation photos to see what I could find. I’m usually the one taking photos – and I love photography – so it was fun to finally put those vacation photos to use! Now when I go on vacation, I try to look for scenery that would make good colorways so the dynamic of taking photos has changed a bit.
What I find really fantastic too is when fiber friends send me photos that they have taken and ask me to create colorways from their hometown, vacation or special event. It’s such an honor to create a keepsake for them!
Any advice for new dyers?
First and foremost: HAVE FUN! The great part about dyeing is that there are so many ways to create, so spend the time to find your own ‘voice’ and experiment to find the process that works best for you. Don’t worry about making mistakes as we all go through a learning process and some of your creations may not turn out the way you envisioned, while some may come out even more fantastic than you thought.
Secondly, try to learn as much as possible so you have a good foundation of the basics from which to launch your creations. I love watching videos and have many books on dyeing, with my favorite for wool dyeing being Gail Callahan’s “Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece”.
Where can folks find your shop online?
My company is AlohaBlu and I can be found @:
- Shoppe: www.AlohaBlu.com
- Ravelry & Instagram: AlohaBlu
- Facebook: AlohaBluShoppe
- Blog: AlohaBlu.wordpress.com
- Sock patterns: KnitPicks.com
What’s NEW on the horizon for your shop?
I’m excited to be working on a line of “Dyed to Order” colorways that I’ll be posting throughout the year. These are either oldie-but-goodie or new colorways that can be ordered on whatever yarn or fiber base you desire.
I’m currently working on a set of Menehune Mini’s (mini skeins) in Hawaiian/Tropical colorways and am about halfway through dyeing for the set. These are great for those making sock yarn blankets! I wind the set into center-pull balls like these so you can just pull the center yarn and start crafting.
Last month I just finished a Spin-A-Long with a group on Ravelry (since the KnitPicks Community website has closed, we transitioned over to Ravelry). We’re setting up to do another SAL to coincide with Tour de Fleece, so I’m creating custom colorways for the TFPKCO group.
As a sock designer, I have a few projects being tested on my needles now, with new patterns to be published this year. Here are a few of my favorites!
Mahalo Nui Loa for having me on your blog!
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Thanks so much Christina!
I love meeting new people (and sheep!): if you are an indie dyer, a hand spinner, a shepherdess, a small flock owner, a mill operator, or a wool trader, I would love to feature your work on this site. Please get in touch via email or Ravelry by clicking the “About” tab (above)