Ok folks, this is BIG! I have an interview with one of my favorite fiber dyers: Krista McCurdy of Pigeonroof Studies! Sometimes, you just have to ask . . . I first noticed Krista’s work on one of my Facebook groups–people were talking about how beautiful the colorways were. I have, in my hot little hands, a couple of silmk/merino braids from her Luminosity collection and I cannot wait to spin them. Krista began dyeing in 2007; she is a printmaker and an artist, and it shows in her color combinations and rich saturations. I’ll let Krista tell the rest of her story in the interview that follows. If you love amazing color as much as I do, check out her Etsy shop and Facebook page. Enjoy!
How did you get into dyeing?
I got into dyeing pretty much just by chance. I’d taken a couple of textile classes in college and so had done a little bit of dyeing, but that was it for a couple of years. Then I picked up knitting again, about when I was 24, and discovered knitting blogs. I also started spinning. I was seeing people dyeing with kool-aid on blogs and thought it was neat, so started with that. It was just an obvious step to acid dyes from there.
What is your favorite fiber to dye?
As for a favorite fiber to dye, I’d have to say boring old superwash merino. Although blends with silk and cashmere, etc., are lovely as well. Because of the super washing, the dyes sort of just “sit” on top of the fibers so you can get really intense colors and interesting variations. It’s a good canvas.
Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration’s a hard one. I don’t dye from pictures unless it’s just a jump start to get some color ideas started. There really isn’t anything concrete that I can say inspires my dyeing. I guess I would have to say it’s just from working with the dyes themselves; colorways can build upon themselves, or I’m just experimenting from a “what if?” thought. Or one color of dye will act a certain way that I think is cool and build from there. I’ve always had an innate sense of color, I’ve never used color wheels. Honestly, I just do what my eye tells me is good. It’s hard to explain, it’s just like an instinctive exploration, sort of.
Any advice for new dyers?
I would say biggest thing is to just really get to know your materials. That’s a solid foundation to go from. Experiment. I realized that I don’t dye like any other dyers I’ve seen so far; it’s just a process that I’ve developed that works for me. It makes my yarn and fiber distinctive. Do what you want to do; you don’t need to take a bunch of classes or read a bunch of tutorials. I’m not knocking them, it’s a fabulous way to learn a lot of things, but nothing’s set in stone. You just need to learn what works for you, even if it’s unorthodox.
Also…if you want to keep it fun, don’t turn it into a full time business.
Where can folks find your shop online?
You can find all my yarn and fiber at pigeonroofstudios.com
What’s NEW on the horizon for your shop?
I’m looking forward to offering a lot more OOAK skeins. Dyeing is no longer my full-time job; I’m also a Pilates instructor, primary area of interest rehab, especially of the shoulder. I love that job. I closed down my main website and moved everything to the Etsy shop, because I just can’t have the pressure of having everything always in stock. I just can’t do that with my current life. When it comes down to it, I just really like to make things, and if I’m always stressed about keeping things in stock, the creative side just gets crushed, and that’s always been the most important thing to me. Starting a new career was so I could have some dependable income and not have the constant financial pressure of the yarn dyeing business. And now that I live in Portland, Oregon, and not one of the most expensive places to live in the country, (I’m from the Bay Area, California), I have a little more financial freedom.
I’ve been doing this for over ten years by now. The industry has changed so much since I started. At the base of it all, though, is simply a deep love for color and making things.
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Thanks so much Krista!
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)