Friday, April 25, 2014

Part 2 of my talk with LYDIA Yarn owner and founder, Angela Cline.

Yesterday I posted the first part of an interview with Angela Cline, the founder and owner of LYDIA Yarn, the exciting new hand-dyed yarn company that is creating quite a stir in the knitting community around here.  I asked Angela about her motivations and what's ahead for her company.

Grandma's Couch
KnitOasis: Where do you get your inspiration for the colors you make?
AC: My inspiration comes from my surroundings, as well as from my friends and family.  When I was dyeing the Limeade yarn, I knew I wanted a bright green because I have friends who like greens and I looked out my window and the grass was such a bright green in my yard, I just worked to make that shade of green.  I see color in people, in their personalities, and that inspires my color choices as well.  Because my friends and family have been so supportive of me, my dedication to them will lead me to make certain shades of purple, for example, for the ones who love purples.

KnitOasis: What are YOUR favorite things to knit?
AC: Hats, socks, and now sweaters.

KnitOasis: What are your own favorite types of yarn?
AC:  My personal favorite is worsted weight or larger yarn. I love the look of projects made from smaller yarns, but my fingers seem to work best with size 8 needles or larger. I am currently working on a sweater using DK weight yarn dyed with indigo on Size 5 needles and it is taking much longer than I am used to, but it is looking so good. My favorite type of yarn is Alpaca. I love the feel, look and warmth of alpaca yarn. The only problem is the use of alpaca in South Carolina sometimes is not very efficient because it is so warm. Alpaca also sheds a lot which I have found can be limited by mixing it with another fiber. LYDIA has a yarn in stock now that takes one ply of Alpaca and 1 ply of Merino twisted together, it looks so great and has this wonderful heathered look to it that comes from the natural color of the Alpaca fibers.

Mint: 2 ply yarn – 1 ply Alpaca, 1 ply Merino: Fingering Weight

KnitOasis: What can yarn buyers expect in the future from LYDIA?
AC: There are some exciting events in the works now. LYDIA will soon be offering kits with yarns and patterns unique to the LYDIA brand offered together. These kits are a wonderful thing to buy as a crafter because you have a whole project, including materials, right there in your hands. I know I like the kits as a consumer because I can really imagine what the finished project will look like. You can also look forward to more unique yarns being offered such as; mink, yak, camel and organic merinos.

Angela and I, out getting inspiration for yarn and knitwear.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

In which I talk with the owner of an exciting new hand-dyed yarn company, part 1

My favorite: Limeade: 40% Alpaca, 40% Wool, 20% Silk: 1 ply: DK Weight
As a knitter, knitting instructor and knitwear designer, it is very often my privilege to come into contact with some Pretty Amazing People Who Love Fiber.  Occasionally, I manage to become good friends with some of those Amazing People, and then I get to follow along on their fiber journeys as well.  This is so much fun for me.  Because I work hard at what I do, when I see other people work hard as well and create new worlds of textile in their lives, it inspires me to keep plugging away at my own little corner of the knitting universe.

Angela Cline is one of these Amazing People and is the founder and owner of LYDIA Yarn LLC.  She took time out of her busy day of dyeing scrumptious yarns to talk about the new company and whet our appetites for eye-popping color and fabulous fiber.

KnitOasis: Where does the name come from? LYDIA Yarn?
AC: It stands for Luxury Yarn Dyed In America.

KnitOasis: What do you think will make LYDIA different from other hand-dyed yarn companies?
AC: It goes back to the first word in the name LYDIA: Luxury.

KnitOasis: So, Luxury? What does that mean for you and for your customers?
AC: I love the feel of good quality yarns and it is so easy to tell when something was made really well, that is what LYDIA yarn customers are looking for. I think of luxury as the yarns that are made out of rare and amazing feeling materials such as Cashmere or Mink but I also think of luxury when looking at yarns that were made really well. The animals were well taken care of and the coat has an amazing healthy feel to it. The processing of the yarn and the materials used were well thought out and the finished product is sturdy and will last a lifetime. At LYDIA this is what we look for in yarn before giving it the tag “luxury”.

 KnitOasis: What experience do you bring to this venture?
AC: In my spare time I started getting into dying when taking classes with friends at the Charleston Museum. I learned about different techniques and processes that can be used from natural materials, such as leaves and walnut shells, to chemically processed materials, like pre-reduced indigo and powdered acid dyes. I found the entire process fascinating. After experimenting on my own with dyes and discovering effects I could create, I started to research the market for this yarn. I found a whole world out there and a community of people who do this for a living; it was exhilarating to discover this. I have an employment background in large manufacturing so I am very comfortable with lean production systems. This experience helps when it comes to running any type of business that produces products for retail. I also have an education in management and business and that really comes in handy when it comes to running the daily activities of a business from an accounting and procedural point of view. I just wish I had LYDIA yarn when completing my MBA because of all the business plans I had to write then.  I could have saved so much time!
Oyster Shell: 70% Superwash Merino, 30% Silk: Light Fingering Weight

KnitOasis: Describe your initial Etsy shop offering.
AC: Now that the Etsy shop is open LYDIA is selling a wide array of yarn bases in colors from all corners of the spectrum. Everything from the delicate light fingering weight yarns in a soft purple/red color “Oyster shell”. To the thick, warm cuddly yarn made out of sturdy superwash merino and nylon in the earth tone colorway “Grandma’s Couch.”

Current Offerings;
2 ply yarn – 1 ply Alpaca: 1 ply Merino: Fingering Weight
40% Alpaca, 40% Wool, 20% Silk: 1 ply: DK Weight
80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon: Sock Weight (High-twist)
80% Superwash Merino, 20% Nylon: 1 ply: Bulky Weight
70% Superwash Merino, 30% Silk: 1 ply yarn: Light Fingering Weight

Peacock: 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon: Sock Weight (High-twist)

Check back tomorrow for part 2 of my chat with Angela, and learn about what inspires her and what she has planned for the future of LYDIA Yarn.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Monday Medley of Patterns, All Free

Today I posted a PDF link to a very old pattern that I first blogged about four years ago.   If you're like me, when you find a free pattern you want to try, it makes life so much easier to have a downloadable PDF version, ready at the click of a button.  (This is especially true since it usually takes me 20 minutes to track down the needles I'll need for the project, but I feel certain that most knitters are more organized than I am.  Surely.)

This got me thinking about the other free patterns I have available, and although it's not Free Pattern Friday, I humbly offer, in honor of my newly re-posted Drop Stitch Garter Dishcloth: 

A Monday Medley of Patterns, All Free

Drop Stitch Garter Dishcloth

Thousand Mile Journey Scarf

Brickworks Thin-Finity Scarf