Hi Fiber Enthusiasts!
My name is Carol and I’m a yarnaholic. I love yarn – almost all types: yarns that are highly plied and yarns that are singles; bulky through lace-weight; tonals, solids and variegated, and all types of blends. I created Chicken Coop Dyeworks to enable my yarn addiction and to also share my vision of yarn palettes with other like minded fiber enthusiasts.
My journey into yarn dyeing didn’t come exactly naturally. No one in my immediate family sews, knits, crochets or spins. I had one aunt who knit and embroidered beautifully, but I never got the hang of it, nor was I particularly interested in learning to knit back then. I was interested in crocheting, which I learned while fairly young. I was taught how to crochet by my fourth grade teacher, Sr. Marie Cecile. She taught one of my BFFs and I how to crochet as a reward for helping to clean her classroom on the weekends. It is a skill that I picked up and put down for years afterward. As a teenager and young adult, crocheting and knitting weren’t “cool” things to do, particularly in the African-American community. After marrying, I picked the skill back up and crocheted scarves and blankets over the years, particularly afghans for both of my sons when they were born. But life gets in the way and working in a demanding field with a husband who was a first responder (now retired), made indulging in the time to create very rare.
When my oldest son and his wife informed us that they were expecting our first grandchild, I knew I had to pull out the crochet hook and make my first grandchild its own blankie. Not knowing the gender, I headed over to the nearest big box store and bought some beige acrylic yarn, along with some lavender and green. I worked on that blanket for a month and ended up with a blanket that would fit any twin size bed! I gave it to them for Christmas that year. Lucky for me, they both loved the blankie and still have it. But the bug had hit! I ended up crocheting a hooded blankie and a receiving blanket as well. My granddaughter still loves the hooded blanket and sleeps with it to this day, 6 years later. Being acrylic, it has held up to the wear and tear of many little fingers, being dragged on the floor, being thrown into the washer and dryer countless times, and being passed down to each one of my subsequent grandchildren – even though they had their own blankie!
Around the same time, I got the urge to learn to knit. I had been introduced to Ravelry and found so many knitting patterns that I would love to make, but I didn’t know how to knit. I spoke about this to a co-worker, who also mentioned that she would love to learn to knit, too. Her mother was an avid knitter and she had not been interested in learning while her mother was alive; however, the urge had recently hit her. We decided to take a learn to knit class together. We found a LYS near where we work and made arrangements to take classes. Walking into that store opened up a whole new world for me! I had never, ever seen so many shades and types of yarn! I was overwhelmed by that little shop! The owner, Rhonda, was the sweetest person, guiding me through the store, explaining the different types of yarn, the difference in fiber and blends. As a crocheter, I learned to knit Continental because, at first, I couldn’t get a rhythm to throwing. As the years have gone by, I have learned to throw and use that method for some lace work and, of course, in fair isle.
My children are now adults and I have more time to create. I have begun knitting sweaters, hats, mitten, cowls, socks and scarves for not only my grandchildren, but for others. I like giving hand knitted items as gifts to special friends and I have come to completely love and appreciate working with natural fibers. I have learned that I have a passion for color in many things, including yarn. I would go to the yarn store, looking for a particular color and couldn’t find it. Many times I could find the color but not enough yardage.
One day, I was out in the back of our acreage with my husband. He had just completed building a chicken coop and we had just put 10 young chicks in the coop and were feeding them. I mentioned to my husband that I really wanted to make a particular sweater for one of my granddaughters but hadn’t found the right shade of purple for it. Off-handedly, he said (without having a clue what it involved) why not dye it myself. He had seen some yarn I had dyed during a demo during a yarn crawl. He thought it couldn’t be that involved. BINGO!!! An idea was born!
I tossed the idea of starting this little business around with friends in my knitting group, CARTEL, and friends on a forum I participate in. They have all been encouraging, offering all types of awesome suggestions. The name of this little company was from a suggestion I received from a friend on the forum. I had just shared information about the chicken coop we had just built and she thought it would be so fitting as a name for this endeavor. She was right!
Just like our chicken coop below, Chicken Coop Dyeworks is a work in progress. I plan to explore color and dyeing in unique and different ways. Chicken Coop Dyeworks is an exploration for “the color in ewe.” And just like the hens in the coop, I might lay a few good eggs!
Until next time,
Carol, aka “Mother Clucker”