I make hand-painted yarn, using premium materials such as alpaca, super fine merino silks, yack and cashmere. They’re nicer and softer than other materials and pick up colour beautifully. I always choose the fabric first, before picking a specific dye. In the end it becomes a luxury product, because I put a lot of time and love into it. I have been knitting for about 18 years and am mainly self-taught when it comes to dyeing yarn.
I like mixing and blending colours because I’m never quite sure how it will look in the end. The different methods of applying dye to the yarn leaves space for mystery, which I find really exciting. I can spray, dip, splash or paint on the yarn with a brush or I can create a gradient effect. Knitting also modifies the pattern of the dye, which means each item is completely unique. I don’t think I could replicate the same item twice even if I tried.
When I work, it can be a real roller coaster of emotions. I can feel happy one moment and frustrated another. Sometimes, you have to start again, sometimes you have to adjust as you work, and sometimes an item that you don’t like at first will turn out to be a favourite piece. It’s an unpredictable and long process. Which is why it can take several hours to do a single batch.
I am also a photographer. I have been a photographer since I was really young, probably around 10 years old. The colours in nature inspire me greatly, and I love to capture them on camera because they appeal to me. They also influence my artwork. For instance, I will get inspired by the colours on a bird and I will play with that when I dye yarn. These ideas can make for some quirky and unexpectedly fun colour combinations.