For the Love of Color
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t knitting, and short of injury or ill-health, I can’t imagine ever putting my needles down. I don’t know if my need to keep my hands occupied came as a result of knitting or was what led me to it.
Dyeing has felt like a homecoming for me. As a photography student at the San Francisco Art Institute in the 80’s I spent hours in the darkroom color correcting my photographic prints. Intensifying reds, taking greens out of blue to make it true, turning a pink into purple. When I learned fiber dyeing I was amazed to see that the process is almost identical to darkroom work; changing filters and altering exposure time to get the perfect shade and saturation were not unlike the additive and subtractive process when creating my pigment percentages and solution strength for the perfect depth of shade in my yarn.
Back in 2003 I started Knitwhits, a knitting pattern and kit company. After 6 years of designing small portable projects I veered towards designing ready-to-wear using self-striping yarns. It became increasingly apparent that though there were some gorgeous self-striping yarns on the market, there were elements still missing. It is those missing elements that I bring to Freia Handpaint Yarns.
In 2010 I developed gradient yarns -a color method unlike any multi-colored yarn that existed before, beginning one of the most marked and copied trends to hit the yarn market of the decade. I straddle the line somewhere between an indie dyer and a large yarn company, providing a unique hand-dyed yarn, but at a scale large enough to cater to Local Yarn Stores globally. The custom-spun fiber I use is soft and lofty (or smooshy as I prefer to call it). It has a wonderful rustic character to it, without the itch. In our Flux self-striping yarn the balls begin and end in the same color, making it simple to just keep knitting on a bigger project without having to dig to match colors from ball to ball (and waste yarn in the process). The Ombré yarns have gorgeous extra long gradients – that cannot be replicated in mass production – with a lush depth of color only we can bring as hand dyers. Our semi-solids give a knitter enough flexibility to combine all sorts of colors in a project in a base to match the other yarns we supply.
In the time since I took up dyeing back in the early part of 2010 to today, the company has grown and changed dramatically. Starting with just me and one hard-working intern based in my 700 ft home studio on the San Francisco Bay to a move in 2018 across the US, setting up shop in a 3500 square foot space in a revitalized textile mill in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. It is with the countless hours and commitment of my amazing staff through the years who somehow put up with my endless onslaught of enthusiasm, drive and crazy ideas that helped get Freia Yarns where we are today.
I love what I do, I feel like a kid in a candy store. I get to play with color, I get to knit and design with yarn whose color I’ve created and dyed from scratch. Short of owning my own sheep, this is may be the next best thing! And who is Freia? Freia was my wonderful Chesapeake Bay Retriever who kept me sane the rest of the time. She and her companion Cody both passed in the early part of 2018 and were followed shortly thereafter by Rosie, who sadly also passed far too young. Now Axel, the current studio dog, has some big shoes to fill but has a lot of love and snuggles to give and is good at his job – when he’s not stealing yarn. Both Freia (the dog) and Freia (the yarn) have brought a wonder to my life that is priceless in beauty, joy and exuberance.
Meet The Team
OWNER, DYER, CHIEF COOK & BOTTLE WASHER
Design, Dye, Knit
also Photography, Dogs, Gardening & Cooking and dedicated winter Ski Bum.
STUDIO GIRL FRIDAY, ALWAYS FRIENDLY CUSTOMER ASSISTANT
Yarn Detangler, Craft Maven, Natural Dyer, Dog Mom to a bundle of crazy (Marty)
Mom of 2 good kids, retired Roller Girl, general Bad-Ass
Yarn Wrangler and Detangler, pre-dye yarn prep, Dog lover & Fly-fisher by night
Yarn Detangler and Winder, Friendly Shop Gal, Visual Artist, Painter, Writer, New Dog Mom to Jack
Excels at being cute, requesting treats and leaning for attention, basically delinquent.