I'm always excited to add a new dyer to the shop, and the yarn of Wooly Wonka Fibers is one the whole SSYC team has been salivating over for months. Shop-manager Heather knit up this awesome shawl to test the Artio Sock base months ago, and since then, it's been a constant reminder of the large amount of yarn coming from the mountains of New Mexico to the plains of Indiana.
Anne typically sells her wares at fiber festivals throughout the west, but recently decided to take on a few more shops. I'm so glad to be able to offer her skeins to you, not only because the colors are gorgeous and textures divine, but the prices are a deal. Each skein is $24, and that's with great yardage and luxury fibers. I have three bases for you to choose from Artio Sock (silk/bfl) Aerten Sock (merino/cashmere/nylon) and Arianrhod Sock (merino/silk/sparkle).
Shown below, Artio Sock in Around Midnight
I asked Anne to take a few moments with me and share a bit about her art and life, and here's what she had to say.
Allison @ SSYC: I'm so glad to be offering your skeins in the shop. What made you decide to take on new shops and change things up a bit?
Anne @ Wooly Wonka: Just in the last year I've started adding on shop customers. IN the past, I've only sold through my website and at fiber festivals. However, I've had several contacts from shop owners I had met at various festivals asking if they could carry my yarns and it's wound up to be a great opportunity for me as well as the LYS owners. Here in the Southwest, there aren't the prevalence of fiber shows that you'd find back east; committing to a 12-hr drive each way for most shows is a BIG committment, and being able to sell to stores gets me a little extra exposiure to knitters without having to drive quite so much!
Shown below, Aerten Sock in Nantucket
Allison @ SSYC: Tell me where we can find you this summer. What are some of your favorite or more memorable fiber fests or events?
Anne: This year I've cut back a bit on shows for the spring. I just had a book proposal picked up by Interweave Press and whew! Crazy schedule to get 23 garments and accessories designed, knit and out the door to editors by September. So I'm sticking close to home for the first half of the year. I have tentative plans for the Salida (CO) festival this fall, as well as the new Heart of NM Gathering in Albuquerque this summer. I'll possibly get to Texas in November.
I'll be the first to admit that I really like indoor shows. One of my favorites is the Dallas/Ft. Worth show. Well organized, nice space and great attendance. And I get an excuse to hang out with a great group on knitter friends from the area too. I did one outdoor show in Salt Lake years ago where we had a lovely, absolutely perfect weather day on Saturday, and then Sunday the winds started. They were just HOWLING down the mountain. We spent the day chasing skeins and hanging onto the tent for dear life! (Which is why I really like indoor shows. Not much chance of the booth blowing away!)
Allison: WOW. I can completely understand your change of pace. We're quite thankful that you're devoting more time to shops, as we will be one of them to benefit! I like the idea that by shopping at SSYC it's like browsing the aisles of a fiber festival.
My shop manager, Heather, knit the Artio Sock in the Dark Roast colorway into an Iron Maiden shawl. She said that every once in awhile there was a tiny red dot on the brown yarn and every time she saw that, it was like a treat. It made her happy and want to keep knitting til she saw another. While she and I know the reason for these artful inconsistencies in yarn, please tell readers are bit about dye and how it works. What causes these and as a dye artist what are your thoughts about the unpredictability of color?
Anne: The little flecks are caused by a "break" in the dye. Each color is made up of several base colors, some of which are happier to stay in solution than others. Reds are notorious for liking to pop up in odd little places. And a lot of my brown mixes have red in them for a warm tone, so that component sometimes becomes fugitive, leaving those tiny little specks.
Personally, as a knitter, yes I like them. To me it says "created by hand" and I love all the little changes from skein to skein. As a dyer, they sometimes are frustrating because it might not be what a customer envisions in their project. And of course, when dyeing a large batch at a time, you can bet it will be on the one skien that doesn't quite get a close going-over when it comes out of the pot and winds up in the hands of someone who prefers no flecks at all!
Allison: See, I love those inconsistencies. You can send me all the skeins that have flecks... I'll send you my home address...
So is yarn your full time gig? Or do you have a "day job" as so many dyers do?
Anne: Right now, I'm dyeing and designing about 35-40 hours a week, so in that respect, yes, it's a full-time gig. I also have another full-time day job (40 hours a week), which I'm hoping to give up in the short term and move into dyeing and designing as my only full-time job. Good thing I manage without a lot of sleep, eh?
Allison: I'm starting to realize that no one in this industry sleeps much! Well, thank you for taking time out of your super busy schedul to create amazing little skeins for my customers. Several of these lovelies were sold right out of the box on the day they arrived here, and I'm so glad to be able to share your talent with many others.
Shown above, a detail of Arianrhod Sock in Elphaba, so you can better see the sparkle.