Having had the pleasure to knit with many colours from this gorgeous collection, I can personally attest to both how vibrant and true the colours are to what you see on the screen, and how nice they have been to knit with. I’ve done a fingering weight sweater (holding Gloaming and Goa together), several headbands holding different sock weights together (like Spearmint, Pixie, and Funfetti) and socks, too! A Canadian company, all this gorgeous yarn is hand dyed in in rural Quebec.
You are located in rural Quebec, and your journey from experimenting in your studio in Wakefield to becoming a founding member of an artist cooperative in an old elementary school is pretty inspiring. Can you tell me more about that?
I had been a practising artist for 25 years, drawing and painting, and I always maintained a studio. I have a long standing love of fibre arts although I only ever pursued it peripherally to my art practice. Through a funny turn of events a knitting class introduced me to Ravelry. Through Ravelry I met an amazing knitter, Julie, who became my good friend and right hand man in the studio. She introduced me to hand dyed yarn. I was struck by the beauty of the yarn (Madelinetosh) was and also intrigued. I had some experience with dyes so I began to experiment to see if I could reproduce that gorgeous yarn. Before long I was spending all my time dyeing and thinking about colour.
With a small investment I bought all my materials and renovated my studio to include a sink and stove. I had found I really enjoyed the dyeing process and wanted to try selling some of my experiments at our local Farmers Market. At the same time I opened an Etsy shop. This turned out to be fairly successful. I had quite a small studio with a very unreliable water supply and I heard through the grapevine that there was an interesting space that some artists were looking at renting, I expressed interest as I was really outgrowing my studio, tripping over boxes of yarn and the actual dyeing space was only 4 x 6 ft. They invited me to the first viewing of a decommissioned elementary school and it took me all of 12 hours to decide to join the board with the other artists and jump at this amazing opportunity. It couldn’t have been better timing. Just as my business started to grow I had enough space to go into real production. We were able to rent all the spaces at the school in a pretty short time and we formed an official coop which has now been running for 9 years under the name Place des Artistes de Farrellton or PAF as it is locally known. It’s a terrific organisation of professional artists in various disciplines.
I have had the pleasure of working with your sock yarn (again and again), I actually have a project on the needles right now with two colours! Are all your colours available on all bases?
Yes they are.
Can you tell me about your 2022 advent calendar?
This was my 2nd time doing an Advent calendar. It’s just so much fun to put together. I don’t do themes like so many dyers, but I start by playing with colours I have on hand. It’s an intuitive process. I look at what I like and what I think is missing and then I fill in the blanks by inventing new colours. I want the colours to work as either a 12 or a 24 skein progression of colour. They should work as one project or each colour can stand on its own. Then there are the gifts that go into the box. This year I included some cards I had reproduced from my original drawings, some chocolate by a local confiserie and Julie made a lovely unscented soap. It is a lot of work to package but I learned some lessons my first time around and I think we streamlined the process this past year.
What is your favourite base to knit with?
It’s really a toss up between Supersock and Merino Singles. I like Supersock for it’s wonderful roundness and stitch definition and the singles dye like no other base.
What are some new patterns you have added to your queue?
I have so many patterns it’s kind of ridiculous especially because I am a rather slow knitter. Right now I am enamoured with Spot Sweater by Anne Ventzel because of the colour possibilities. I also am looking at Anker Summer shirt by Petite Knit maybe in a nice linen silk blend or maybe 100% silk.
What’s your most recent finished object?
This may be an impossible question, but what is your favourite Riverside colourway?
I think I would pick either Cobalt and Rust or Little Burgundy. I love the combo in Cobalt and Rust but Little Burgundy steals my heart when it’s knit up. The colours meld so beautifully.
Are there any other fibre arts hobbies you’re pursuing?
Punch needling has led to rug tufting. It was something I had been thinking about for years. I took the plunge this past winter and bought a tufting gun. Now I can go big!