Artisan Knitworks and the Wonderful World of Hand Dyed Yarn
Hand dyed yarn
If you've never had the chance to see and feel hand dyed yarn made by master dyers you are truly missing out. The variety of materials and techniques used puts large batch commercial yarn to shame. It's like comparing food from a fast food chain to that prepared by a world renowned chef. There really is a world of difference. And within the community of small batch dyers there is as much to choose from as if that chef had made you a 50 course meal! This hub is just a small introduction to this phenomenon, and I hope that it inspires you to visit a local yarn shop, fiber expo or explore further on the web.
The owner of Artisan Knitworks, Sandra VanBurkleo, in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, allowed me to take a few pictures of some yarn prepared by dyers from near and far. Sandra approaches individual artists and buys wholesale for her store. She is exceptionally knowledgeable about yarn, knitting and everything having to do with fiber. An excellent resource in South East Michigan her store is definitely worth visiting. If you visit Artisan Knitworks you are visiting a gallery showcasing the best work of first class artists. If you can't get there, be sure to check out the websites of the artists highlighted here.
Hand Dyed Yarn: gorgeous colors are the norm.
Happy Fuzzy Yarn
The artist Riin Gill has 20 years of experience dyeing fiber. She has expertise in all aspects of the craft and knows fiber. Riin makes a point of getting to shows throughout Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. She makes hand spun yarn, hand dyed mill spun yarn and dyed combed top for sale. You can find out more about her here.
With an eye to making the best product possible Riin has devoted her energy full time to creating hand-dyed fiber. You can see that she favors a colorful palette, and includes every color in the rainbow. Her work is featured in the Yarn Museum and is described as "dreamy and luscious" by Knittyspin Fiber Fiesta in their review (second review of the issue just scroll down).
Stonehedge Fiber Mill
Stonehedge Fiber Mill
With locally sourced fibers (from Michigan) the Stonehedge Fiber Mill makes beautiful solid color yarns. The Mill is part of a 150 year old working farm. The yarn is made from Merino wool which is the softest of sheep's wool. The yarn is worsted spun, meaning it has a very smooth texture. The owner of the mill is versed in all aspects of yarn production. The Stonehedge Fiber Mill is a vibrant addition to the Michigan landscape.
Prism Yarns Subtle Colors and Textures.
Prism Yarns are noted for their subtle color combinations and use of a variety of fibers. Under the direction of Laura Bryant, Prism Yarns uses a variety of different fibers in the yarn that they produce. These include silk, cashmere, mohair and alpaca. Their dyed yarn, like that of all the artisan dyers mentioned here, is suitable for heirloom knitting projects. With superior yarn you just have a better time.
Prism Yarns was established in 1984 and have made new colorways each and every year since.
Dancing Leaf Farm
Dancing Leaf Farm
Located in Maryland, Dancing Leaf Farm is a small sheep farm. The owner, Dalis Davidson, produces hand painted fiber for your pleasure. She delights in making great design with color in both mill spun and hand spun yarn. If you visit Dancing Leaf, you can see the sheep that your yarn came off of, which is most unusual in this day and age. Even being able to buy the yarn and see the sheep's pictures on line is a thrill. Dancing Leaf Farm also sells patterns, kits and jewelry. They are all of the best quality; just as everything else at Artisan Knitworks in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.
Interior of Artisan Knitworks
With over 1800 square feet of retail space, Artisan Knitworks showcases the work of hundreds of artists and thousands of different items for resale. There are several overstuffed chairs and a couple of couches so you can sit and knit at the store. Classes and workshops happen on an ongoing basis. The atmosphere is relaxed and inviting. If you have a chance to stop by definitely go. There is always something new to see, and wonderful people stop by to work on projects and might help you with yours. Artisan Knitworks is a real gem of South Eastern Michigan.