Today I have a great interview with one of my favorite fibery people in the biz, Felicia Lo. She owns and operates, Sweet Georgia Yarns, and I have been obsessed with her and her yarn for quite some time. I actually met Felicia when I was working on the Crochet Red team of designers and I chose her! :-D I’ve been a HUGE fan ever since then! We even have a great review/tutorial of some of her Polwarth/Silk blend tomorrow! So, check back for that.
So, without further wait, here we go!
- SweetGeorgia is a widely recognized name in the Knitting, Crochet and Spinning world. Tell me, how did you get started in the fiber world?
In a time and a land before Ravelry… I fell in love with knitting when I was just a kid. I sent away for a “learn to knit” pamphlet from Patons and taught myself with some hand-me-down aluminum needles and acrylic yarn. But I was hooked. I knit my first sweater before I started high school but switched to sewing my own clothes in high school when I realized that I didn’t need to make my own fabric, stitch-by-stitch! About ten years ago, I picked up knitting again, along with spinning, dyeing, and weaving and blogged about my learning process. The blog is what eventually led to the dye studio and business.
- How did you learn to dye? What about the process originally appealed to you?
Spinning came first. All the wool that was available to me locally was plain white and I got bored of spinning plain white yarn very quickly. I tried buying some dyed fibre off e-Bay (Etsy didn’t exist yet) and was really disappointed, so I decided that in order to get the colour I wanted, I had to learn to dye it myself. I started with a few Kool-aid experiments but quickly moved to acid dyes and natural dyes. The near instantaneous and vivid results made me giddy and constantly thinking up new colour combos. At the time, I worked as a graphic designer and colour was part of my work… with dyeing, colour became play and just pure fun.
- I adore your use of color. It seems like no matter what you put your hand in it makes me smile a bit! Where does that inspiration come from?
Yes, my colour sense is influenced by a couple major things. My father is a painter and printmaker, so I get a lot of my interest in colour from him. My mother had the book “Color Me Beautiful” and I spent a lot of time as a teenager trying to figure out my season. And I also spent six years competing in ballroom dancing events. Dance costumes are usually visually stunning and vividly coloured in order to attract the attention of the judges, so I simply got comfortable with bright, saturated colours. Finally, we live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where you can’t help but be inspired by the environment. We have a lot of water- and nature-themed colourways because of this.
- Speaking of color, Spinning Dyed Fibers, your Craftsy class is superb! Can you tell my readers a bit about that class?
Thanks! The Craftsy class is designed to help spinners of all levels become more confident with using multicoloured spinning fibre. So often we buy and stash beautiful fibres but then are scared to actually spin them because we’re worried they will turn to mud or that we’ll ruin them. In the class, I show spinners how to evaluate the fibre they have and also teach a number of different techniques to either preserve colours or blend colours. Combined with knowledge of colour theory, the techniques allow you to either enhance or brighten, subdue or mute your colours to get the final effect that you want.
- This week we are focusing on getting beginners to the finishing stages of spinning, plying, setting the yarn, and choosing patterns…do you have some advice you could offer?
As for getting to the finishing stages, I recommend a good tensioned lazy kate at your side for better plying and Soak for washing and setting your yarn. Wet finishing my handspun yarn is the best feeling! It’s like I totally relax when the yarn relaxes!
- Lastly, what are some great tips you can share with all of those newbie spinners out there?
My only advice for beginning spinners is just to do a little bit every day. Just 10 minutes every day! When I first thought about learning to spin, I read through the instructions and though “oh man, that is a lot of work… not only do I have to spin it all, but then I have to ply it all too?!?” Doing a little bit every day will get you to the goal line. And be patient with yourself. Your hands are learning a new skill and it will take time to master.
A HUGE thank you to Felicia and the whole Sweet Georgia Team for allowing me to pick their brains and for giving this interview! Check back tomorrow for a great plying tutorial! :-)