An interview with Kelcey
I am SO PLEASED to introduce Kelcey! The dyer behind Knitting Niqabi and my collaboration partner on Local Meadow, Kelcey is one of the most generous, genuine, and open people I've had the pleasure of meeting on this knitting journey.
Jen: You often release collections based around a theme – like your Labyrinth collection. Can you tell us about the process of deciding on a theme, what those collections mean to you, and how you choose the colors?
Kelcey: When trying to decide on a theme I always tend to pick something I truly enjoy on a deep level. Something I am passionate about that can bring me inspiration.
For instance, Labyrinth was one of my all-time favorite movies as a child so when picking an Advent theme it immediately came to mind. Not actually realizing that many other people within the yarn community also loved the movie on the same deep level as me. So the large amount of orders that came in was very shocking to me, and brought me so much joy. Not because of monetary reasons per se but because I was able to share a common passion with my customers and place extra love into the project because I knew other fans of the movie were going to be opening them.
I have to say Advent was one of the best experiences of my dyeing career so far, because I got to see the excitement each mystery mini brought to my customers. This experience is the reason why I have decided to add more themed mystery yarn clubs into my shop this year. I hope they can bring as much joy as I saw advents bring.
Now for choosing colors I had to be very selective. Natural Dyeing has a smaller margin in color range in comparison to acid dyeing. So what I had to do was already have the knowledge of what is possible with natural dyes (as far as I have worked with them already) in my mind and compare them to scenes or characters in my theme. If anything matched up that would be my inspiration when I went to the dye pots.
Jen: How did you first discover non-superwash yarns and natural dying? What about these yarns speaks to you over time? Natural dying takes so much more time and water than acid dying and I know the margins are much smaller – what keeps you committed to these yarns?
Kelcey: My journey from picking up knitting needles for the first time ever to opening up my Yarn Company was a span of 2 years and 3 months. Within that time I became immersed as much as possible in fiber arts learning everything I could get my hands on.
This led me to learn more about yarn dyeing and to follow many indie dyers within our community. It was my husband who encouraged me to open my own yarn company even though I had zero percent experience with it. It was at this time that I had to make some decisions about what I would want my brand to be.
When I researched dye techniques and came across natural dyeing I instantly knew that was the route I wanted to take. I have always had an affinity for nature. Growing up in Michigan on a 20-acre homestead I spent most of my childhood climbing trees, frolicking in open fields, swimming in ponds, catching frogs, making grass crowns, etc.
I also love the deep history that comes with natural dyeing. Since natural dyes were the first dye techniques used in ancient times, being able to use those same techniques gives me a sense of continuing a tradition of our ancestors and helping an ancient tradition live on as we see many dwindling out of practice.
Since my experience with natural dyeing grows I continually feel a connection to nature and God. I am a very religious perso