When I went to KAN I met some amazing crafters. One of the lovely ladies I met was Lyn Walsh of Fibre2Go. Now, I'm not a spinner, but Lyn's amazing hand-dyed fibres are almost enough to make me consider giving it a go! I instead bought some of her scrummy sock yarn and have since ordered more.
Lyn kindly took the time to chat to me about Fibre2Go.
How did Fibre2Go begin and where does the magic happen?
I was attending a Creative Fibre Festival a few years ago and spotted a trader who was selling hand-dyed sliver. I’m an avid spinner and liked the idea of being able to buy uncommon colourways, different from what is available in vast quantities from big suppliers worldwide. Although I liked the idea, I didn’t much like the colours that this artist had on offer but I bought some anyway – as you do, right? Well, I got home and the germ in my brain had germinated – I could dye my own fibre. Next step was easy – I found a supplier of white sliver and bought some. Then obtained some dyes and started researching dyeing methods and located equipment. I liked the freedom to combine colours that I liked and was thrilled when others started to notice my colours were brighter, richer and more dramatic than others they had seen. They asked if I would consider dyeing some for them.
The Magic – well, that happens at several stages along the way. The biggest and best is when I add a new colourway into my range and I see the delighted expressions in people’s eyes and two people fighting over who will get the last chain of that colour. Sheer magic. Other magical moments are seeing a new colourway come out of its wrap. It’s gone from an idea to an inspiring armful of wonder.
How long have you been dyeing yarn and fibre for, and do you have a favourite to work with?
I have been dyeing fibre for a little under three years, but I only dabbled in yarn after a year or so. Nowsince being to Knit August Nights this year, dyeing yarn has become important too. My favourite product to dye would be 20% silk/80% merino.
You use lots of very vibrant colours - where do you get your inspiration for your colour combinations, and do you have a favourite?
Inspiration comes from many places. All around us there are gardens, magazines with photos of nature (my biggest and most reliable source) and also other people’s creative art works which might combine two or more colours which bounce or harmonise. There might be a vibrant juxtaposition of colours which attracts my eye in a piece of dress material or a painting. Monet is my favourite artist, a technical genius. His colours are sublime, and beautiful. What I have to keep in mind always is that the fibre I dye needs to contain the raw colours that later will be visually blended by spinning, felting, knitting, weaving etc, forming, with each process, less intense colours. The have to start vibrant to end up exciting and not muddy.
What is your dyeing process - do you have any favourite tools that you use?
For my sliver dyeing I use a steam-fix acid dye process – I have a steam oven regulated to 95 degrees. I couldn’t do what I do without this reliable tool. My yarn is dyed using the same acid dyes but the process is called kettle dyeing and is a full-immersion, low water volume, technique. The temperature never goes about 85 deg C so crockpots are my tool of choice for this.
Always! I am primarily a spinner. I spin to knit, mainly, although I also weave and crochet. Since taking to the dye pots I find I have less time to spin but it does bring in the money and a great deal of satisfaction – perhaps more than spinning and knitting ever could.
Where do you see Fibre2Go progressing to in the next 12 months?
I have several trading opportunities coming up over the next year. People are hearing about me and my products and I am being sought out to sell at trade fairs and craft gatherings all over the country. I do not intend, at this stage, to get “too big for my boots” though. I work from a craft room in my house and have no ideas of requiring a “factory space” any time soon. I see myself, for now anyway, as an “indie” dyer, happy doing small quantities of fibre and yarn so my products remain exclusive and sort after, not available in stores – yet.
Check out Lyn's Felt shop full of beautiful fibre here.