Scarves, blankets, sweaters: Handmade yarn goods are tried and true. After all, knitting may have been around since the fifth century. Today, many fiber artisans focus less on form and more on innovation and creativity—bringing a new-fangled spin to an old-fashioned craft.
Indie (“independent”) artisans in the yarn community see first-hand how hard work and nature affect their goods. They fashion their products utilizing God-given thought and creativity to solve design and production challenges. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might,” says Solomon. (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
Samantha Myhre owns RavensWood Fibre Company in Canada. She raises her own sheep and sells yarns online and at local markets. Myhre also makes her dyes. Her colors have names like Sea Glass, a blend of dreamy water hues, and Autumn Drive, the flaming shades of a fall forest.
Myhre loves the visual journey dyes take her on. But there’s science too. “Dyeing is chemistry,” she says. “It involves the binding of a color molecule to a wool molecule.”
When Myhre discovered that water from the public system created unpredictable colors, she turned to well water.
Even then, there’s an element of mystery: More rain means more minerals in the water. “More minerals mean my reds may be more orange, my blacks break and go to gold,” she says.
Not only that, different fibers take dye differently. Alpaca hues tend toward pastel. Nylon and silk soak up dye, and when blended with merino wool, give beautiful color depth. Often her best color finds, she says, are “happy accidents.”
Meanwhile, on the yarn front, crafters around the world explore different types of wool: yak, cashmere, and Australian Polwarth sheep.
Britt-Marie Alm owns Love Fest Fibers in San Francisco. She offers small-batch yarns sourced from workshops in Nepal, Tibet, and the American West Coast.
Her soft, chunky yarns include Color Core. To make it, she spins merino wool around a colorful organic cotton fiber. The result looks like a woolly Twizzler—with a surprise color inside.
Love Fest also has a downy yak yarn called kullu, which feels like cashmere. Yarn options now also include upcycled linen and plastic fibers.
“Recent years have seen a reimagining of what yarn can make,” Alm says. She cites a range of knitted and crocheted home goods from baskets and rugs to pillows and poufs. Thanks to Alm, those items seem at once familiar and fresh.
Both Myhre and Alm say indie-made dyes and yarns tell stories. Those stories, these crafters reflect, make a handknitted piece feel all the more precious.
Why? Beauty, creativity, purpose: Yarn crafters harness and reflect God’s creativity in nature with delightful and ingenious provisions for humankind.