The scrumptious yarn from the August box comes from JOMA yarns. Read on to find out more about this mother-daughter team.
How did you learn to dye yarn, and what drove you to pursue a career in hand-dyeing yarn?
It all began when I was just a little girl, always fascinated with and determined to master knitting or crochet or whatever cool stuff those old ladies were always doing. I was a creative and precocious child with a drive to experiment, very motivated to make things from early on, and for most of my life, the thing didn’t really matter as much as the process. Colour was always my first love. My work initially began in amigurumi crochet and evolved to be more about love for making colourful yarn in the dye pot than making things out of yarn due to repetitive stress injuries that made knitting and crochet difficult. The volume of production quickly highlighted a need for an outlet for my yarn since I couldn’t knit or use most of it, and wanted to continue to dye, spin and experiment in
an ongoing way. JOMA Yarn grew from that initial sprout, when my mom, an ever supportive mother and fibre enthusiast herself, joined the team and provided financial support. With the continuous efforts of my ever patient husband, JOMA Yarn has grown to what it is today.
How do you develop (or what inspires your) new colourways?
I am a dyer who approaches each session with an open mind and goes with the flow. While I do have recipes, I gravitate toward layers of colour and baths of dye using resistance, heat and acidity to achieve different
effects. I tend to approach the design process with a mood, a feeling or the look of a finished fabric in mind vice an actual plan for what the dyed hank will look like. I feel like this brings the finished yarn to a more cohesive place that is more fluid in its finished form be that knit, crochet or woven. I approach colour composition to be dynamic and
exciting with flecks, flowing pools and swirls of contrasting and complimentary colours, much like a watercolour painting comprised of thousands of splashes and layers of colour to visually represent a beautiful object or landscape.
If money were no object, and you could get a mill to spin any custom blend of yarn you wanted, what would it be? What would you make with it?
I am a strong believer in supporting the local fibre industry and would love to work with a small North American mill producing North American grown Merino wool yarns. Merino is my absolute favourite and one of very few fibres I am not allergic to!
What is the single most indispensable piece of equipment in your workshop, and why?
They truly are all indispensable but my favourite is by far the drying rack my husband made for me. There are many challenges to dyeing yarn in your home, especially when that home is already quite small, so the ability to dry yarn indoors when the weather is bad without it being in the way is amazing.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned so far as an indie yarn dyer?
I think for me the most valuable lesson has been that there are more colours for yarn than just rainbows. I am dyeing yarn for a very diverse group of knitters, crocheters and fibre artists. It’s important for me to make things that are outside of my normal comfort zones and not exactly my taste so that I can better support the needs and vision of my customers and continue to grow as an artist and a dyer.
What are the most difficult or challenging things about running a hand-dyed yarn business?
One of the most challenging is the sheer labour involved in something as simple as a shop update. It is a lot of work and as with most artisan businesses, the compensation is quite modest when you consider your time. This is definitely a labour of love, community and passion for the art form.
…the most rewarding?
The most rewarding thing is meeting people and seeing the finished objects on ravelry. I absolutely love seeing my yarn worked up into finished projects. It is amazing how many beautiful and unique things people make with my work and I love the opportunity to be a part of their creative process.
Most creative professionals have days where they don’t feel like being creative, and yet have a deadline to meet or an order to fulfill. As a yarn dyer, do you experience creative block and if so, what do you do to overcome it?
When it comes to dyeing I overcome creative blockage like I would with art. I throw some good songs on my phone and get started. I often find that tiredness, reluctance or resistance can come from exhaustion, too long of break or too much dyeing like when getting ready for a show. Like most things I love, if I just get started, it will soon feel natural and I will have so much fun with it if I just give myself a chance to relax. The dyeing is really the best part so that rarely happens!