Meet the Maker of the Month – Michelle of Berry Colorful Yarnings

Hi there, the end of this month is chock full of information and blog posts as I took a little break and came back with a ton of things to share and also this meant that the Maker of the Month feature is way later in the month than usual. I do hope you forgive me for this and so here goes!

 

I first learned of Michelle and Berry Colorful Yarnings when I was in the yarn subscription club The Golden Skein (no longer operating). Every three months I would get three skeins of hand dyed yarns, each from a different dyer and one of those was Michelle.

Since then I have been following her on social media and of course on Etsy where she sells her yarns. Michelle specializes in self striping yarns and as a sock knitter, I find that super exciting! Somehow, self striping vanilla socks seem to knit up on their own, one is always so excited to get to the next stripe!

A while ago I contacted Michelle and she kindly accepted to do a little yarn swap and so I was lucky enough to get to try out some more of her yarns. This is the pair of socks I knit out of the first skein.

IMG_7361

 

I used my own hand dyed purple yarn for cuff, heels and toes so as to not disrupt the striping. I knit these from the cuff down and did an afterthought heel as I often do when using self striping yarn.

Michelle’s yarn is a pleasure to knit with and her sense of color is amazing. I have a few more of her yarns in my stash and cherish them very much! And I thought it would be so fun to interview Michelle and introduce you to her and her work if you don’t know her already. And she kindly accepted the interview AND a giveaway! So you just might be lucky enough to win one of her yarns yourself!

So here is my interview with Michelle


 

I see from your about page on Etsy that you opened your shop in 2011. Had you been dyeing yarn before then and selling elsewhere or is 2011 the year it all started?
2011 was the first time I had sold anything I had dyed and I started off with my etsy shop right away.

How did you come to start dyeing yarn and then selling online?
I have always been a lover of indie dyed yarn and I was buying yarn from international dyed but the shipping times and costs at that time were starting to add up. I had mentioned to a knitter friend of mine that “I wished I was talented enough to dye yarn” and her replay was “you are” so after chatting with my husband I jumped in feet first and haven’t looked back!

Do you work as an indie dyer full time or is this a part time thing ?
Dyeing is a part time thing for me. We homeschool our two girls and I help my husband run his business.

Where do you get your inspiration for your colourways from ?
I get my inspiration from many sources but I really love pulling colors from nature. There are some really beautiful combinations right in front of our eyes. I love when a customer brings me a photo and asks for a self striping yarn from it. This really allows me to be creative.

What is your most popular colorway? and/or most popular yarn base?

The most popular colorway has to be The Pats doorway, themed for the New England Patriots Football team. Second would be either the 12 color Rainbow or the 12 color 12 days of Christmas colorways.

bcy 12 days of christmas

I know you are most known for dyeing self striping yarn. How did you come to choose that type of dyeing method/yarn? Do you also sometimes dye tonal or semi solid yarns?
I had been dyeing yarn for several years when I wanted to do something a little different than what all the other dyers were doing. So I tried the self striping technique. I still love dyeing tonals and semi solids and will jump at the chance to dye them 🙂

Do you accept custom orders?

Currently no.. but after the first of the year my plan is to bring that option back to the shop.

What does a typical workday look like for you?
After getting the husband out the door, I get any business related emails and paperwork needed done. I get the girls schoolwork done and then some lunch.. if we don’t have a ton of activities for the day then off to the dye studio I go.. I get lost in the fun of color.

What have you got planned for Berry Colorful Yarnings in 2017? and where do you see your company in say 5 years from now?
2017 for BCY will be a slower year. But 2018 is hopefully going to see a few fiber shows and crammed full of new color combos and maybe even some fun new stripe tech.

Where does the name of your shop, Berry Colorful Yarnings come from?
Berry is my last name, Colorful for what I strive to always make my yarns, and Yarnings was what my youngest daughter would call anything I was doing with yarn or fiber, so Berry Colorful Yarnings happen to just fit so nicely!!

And a little about yourself, where do you come from/live?
I live in southern New Mexico, I spent 11 years here as a kid (military kid) then in 1996 my husband and I moved to CA and lived there for 17 years. We moved back to this area a few years ago and love it here.

Are you a knitter and/or crocheter?
I learned to crochet as a kid but didn’t learn to knit until 2009. My middle niece showed me how one summer.

When did you learn to knit/crochet?
Crochet I was about 10 and 2009 is when my niece showed me how to knit..

What are your favourite projects to knit/crochet? I’m guessing socks but I just might be wrong 🙂
I just recently became a sock knitter, that is why my stripes are a bit wider than some. I needed to be able to knit my own yarns into a hat or cowl. I love love to knit hats!!

bcy shawl

If you are a big sock knitter, do you have a go to pattern/recipe?

I love a toe up vanilla sock at the moment!

Do you knit socks cuff down or toe up?
Toe up for sure

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media? Do you have a blog?
I prefer Instagram (all though pretty pictures) I have a website that’s under construction and I would love to try and get my blog going again.. fingers crossed but right now I am mostly on IG as @Bcyarnings 🙂

bcy

Thank you so much Michelle for taking the time to answer my questions and giving me and my readers a little sneak peek into your life. And an even bigger thank you for donating a yarn for the giveaway! Michelle has donated a skein of her Daisy colorway that I show you here below.

bcy daisy

Berry Colorful Yarnings in Daisy, self striping

bcy daisy close up

A close up of Daisy

To enter this giveaway and have a chance of winning a skein of Michelle’s self striping yarn in the Daisy colorway you have to:

  1. go to her shop and take a look at her in stock yarns and/or sold yarns and
  2. come back here to leave a comment telling us which one of her colorways is your favorite
  3. Also tell us what pattern you would knit with her yarn should you win

I will use random number generator to draw a winner from the comments below (So I will not be replying to anyone so as not to disturb the drawing) on May 5th. Good luck to you all and enjoy the browsing 🙂

More knitting and some yarn aquisitions

Hi there, I hope your week is going well so far. I’ve managed to get some sort of a sore throat thing so  when I cough it hurts and I’ve lost my voice. Lucky for me that I get a few days off now for Easter!

So lately I have mostly been knitting on my Kitsune sweater and some socks of course. geek socks 23mar

This pattern is a free pattern on Knitty and is called Geek socks I think. This is especially designed for self striping yarns and the waves are worked with slipped stitches. The yarn is from Scrumptious Purl and it is one she dyed especially for the Golden Skein yarn club.  I’m really enjoying the yarn and the pattern and I think I’ll be knitting more of those with some of my recently aquired striped yarns:)

Now Round 2 of Sock Madness 10 began this week so of course I’m working on that. I cast on Monday and today Wednesday I have finished one sock and I’m a few inches into the second sock. I’m hoping to finish the second sock by tomorrow. I do have 2 weeks to finish the pair but as of now this has turned into a competition and only the quickest 40 in each team will get to go on to the next round and I definitely want to be one of those. Even though I’m a little afraid that I might not make it further than round 3 just because it starts while I’m away on holiday so 1) I don’t know in advance which pattern is next and so I could find myself on holiday WITHOUT something indispensable for the pattern and 2) because I might not have enough time to finish. But I’ll do my best and we’ll see how it goes.

So this round 2 sock has a very tough beginning. It requires a beaded cast on and boy, that was a tough one! I probably cast on and ripped out the cast on 10 times on sock 1 before getting it right. On sock 2 I only did 3 attempts so making progress there! Once you get past the cuff it is smooth sailing. The pattern is on Ravelry and it is called  Rose and Thorn by Ronni Smith. The pattern is not for sale yet but you can check out the pictures. Here are some pictures of my first sock

The pictures are not very good I’m so sorry. So the difficulty of this pattern is casting on using 2-4 needles depending on the method chosen and use BEADS. My row of beads on the cuff is not as nice and even as some of my fellow competitors have managed to make but still, I think it’s ok. I’m using West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply yarn which is a nice sock yarn, not very soft but I’m thinking that might be a good thing, maybe it will be a hard wearing sock/yarn.

So yes, I’m basically absorbed with this sock until it is done and I can work on other projects.

This week was a very happy mail week because I ordered some very special yarn that I finally got delivered yesterday.

First off, I got my special Shiny Bees Podcast yarn! If you are not familiar with Jo and her Shiny Bees audio podcast you should definitely check her out. I absolutely love her podcast. Jo is also the person behind the Golden Skein – a yarn club that sells hand dyed yarns from  different indie dyers. So Jo had the dyer behind BerryColorful Yarnings dye some yarn for her and this was up for preorders a while back. I ordered two and they came with a little project bag. Total gorgeousness!

shiny bees yarn

Both skeins are sock weight so they will most likely end up as socks:)

This is also the first time I get yarn from  Berry Colourful Yarnings so I look forward to trying her yarns.

And the same day, I got another order and that one I had purchased just a week or so earlier and I was not expecting to get that yarn so soon so that was a great surprise.

So I ordered some yarn from Turtle Purl yarns on Etsy. I have been stalking her shop for ages and I want to buy almost every single colorway she offers but I have been trying to be strong and serious and use the yarn I already have. Well we all know that is not a realistic goal to have so……I placed an order! And I got 4 self striping yarns. They are all totally gorgeous and I can’t wait to have the time to cast on.

turtle purl yarns

Just total bliss! Love those!

I have been doing some dyeing myself lately, mostly test dyes for custom orders. One of which is a collaboration with a renowned knitwear designer. I’m not at liberty to say who just yet but I am super excited about this and I hope it will become a reality soon. So here are some pictures, these are “test colors” so I don’t know yet if she likes them or which one she will choose to use but I actually quite like these myself.

cashmerino aran test dye

This is on a new Aran base – and it is a cashmere/merino/nylon base. Totally soft and squishy.

bfl aran test dye

And this is on a BFL aran base. Not as soft as the cashmerino blend but a very nice yarn all the same.

I also dyed just for me/the shop a few skeins of self striping. I had some 50 gr skeins that I dyed 2 by 2 to get as much similarity/consistency between socks as possible and then I wound the yarn double into a yarn cake so the yarn is ready for someone to knit their socks 2 at a time. This will produce a pair of fraternal twins rather than identical twins – when winding the yarn cake I saw a slight difference between color sequences.

selfstriping fraternal

I tied the 2 threads/yarns together in a butterfly knot and added a stitch marker. I think this looks kind of cute. What do you think?

Well, that’s all for today. I’ll be back soon and probably with a new video review and a giveaway for you:)

Take care and enjoy your crafting until next time