Thursday, February 18, 2016

Meet the Dyer: Annie Modesitt, ModeKnit Yarn

Over the last year, we have been adding many hand-dyed color ways from notable indie dyers in our online store (click here to see our most recent offerings). This month, we are pleased to debut 9 new gradient and ombre options from ModeKnit Yarn, each dyed in our popular Bijou Bliss and Tibetan Dream bases. These newest color ways are a unique addition to our lineup because they are dyed a little differently, using a special technique to gradually and gracefully create gradations of color in long color changes. The folks at ModeKnit Yarn have carefully honed the FLOW technique (you can learn more about it here on their website). We're excited to share an interview with designer & dyer Annie Modesitt to give you an inside peek into the process of developing these yarns for our fans. 

Annie Modesitt
How did you get into hand-dyeing yarn? 
I studied fabric dyeing in grad school at Rutgers back in the 1990’s while working on my Masters of Fine Arts degree in Costume & Set Design. I’ve played around with dyeing yarn quite a lot since then, and had been toying with the idea of starting a line of hand dyed yarns for quite a while.

Can you share a little bit of your process or approach to dyeing with us? 
As a hand knit designer I’ve always been inspired by color, so I, myself, was curious to see where color inspiration would come from! My business partner, Kathleen Pascuzzi, worked in the jewelry industry for 17 years, so our first set of colors was based on precious & semi-precious jewels and metals.

A few months into our collaboration, we started creating mini colorway stories based on TV shows and movies that we love, called “No Spoilers.

But I think my favorite inspirations come for the yarns in my clubs. I feel those are opportunities for me to ‘push the boat out’ a bit, and each club is inspired by a different subject (moths & butterflies, heirloom vegetables, the Northern Lights, etc).
Bijou Bliss FLOW colorways, dyed by ModeKnit Yarns
How did you develop the colorways for Bijou Basin Ranch? 
Carl and I have been friends for a long time, I just love him and his wife Eileen! He came by our booth at a fiber show and was intrigued by some of our color combinations and techniques. The colors that we developed for Bijou Basin Ranch are based on Carl’s reaction to existing ModeKnit colors, and suggestions he and Marly Bird had which they felt would work well with their yarns.

Kathleen models a "Slippy Cowl"
Do you knit or crochet? What are your favorite projects to make? 
I both knit AND crochet, and I love them both. Equally. Stop fighting, crafts, you’re BOTH pretty!

My favorite projects to make are interesting enough to keep my mind working, but repetitive enough to memorize. Right now I’m going through a “Slippy Cowl” phase (a free pattern on the ModeKnit website) It’s a very simple knit, but when it’s finished it looks SO much more complex than it really is!

Do you have any funny stories about dyeing yarn you can share with us? 
I love to listen to podcasts and “watch” TV shows while I’m dyeing; I’ve rigged up a place for my iPad to hang suspended over my dye table so I can binge watch my favorite shows. Once I was deeply immersed in “Penny Dreadful,” watching a very graphic murder, when I tripped and spilt a vat of red dye over myself and the floor, it was terrible!

My husband came downstairs into the basement hearing me swearing, the characters on TV screaming, and the dye room looking like a crime scene.  It didn’t seem funny at the time, but now I can look back and laugh at how I must have looked!  I’m fortunate he didn’t call the police!

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