Fiber Is... || #2

I found Sarah Eyre within the last couple of years on Instagram, when it was still possible to search a general hashtag (i.e. #knitting) and view photos that were posted more than an hour or two ago.  I was intrigued by this beautiful, courageous lady, partly because she just happens to have my dream job.... she co-owns a yarn company called Cephalopod Yarns!  Based out of Baltimore, her IG feed often includes skeins of lusciously hued  yarns in dye pots or drying racks, fun mirror art in the studio, and images and words that just remind you to remain present.  I'm hoping to splurge on some of her yarn later this summer---there's some camel fiber that I'm dying to make a shawl out of.  It's supposedly incredibly soft!  Here's what fiber means to Sarah Eyre..

About Sarah

Oh no, the dreaded introductory paragraph! I’m so awkward at this part. I’m your average cat- herding thirty-something fiber artist, living in Baltimore with my husband and daughter. I cook pretty well and play banjo very, very badly. I take endless photographs of absolutely everything. I love comic books, Victorian literature, yoga and running, and I believe every single one of us is a superhero. I teach yoga and meditation when I’m not on the road, with a focus on working with the disabled. I believe in the power of small and simple things.

Ways Sarah works with fiber, including her favorite craft:

I’m a dyer, spinner, knitter, felter, knitwear designer, embroiderer and shamefully awful crocheter. Improving my crochet skills is on my list of goals for 2013; there are just too many amazing crochet projects and patterns! In truth, I’d say I’m primarily a spinner and dyer; while I do knit, and love to knit, my primary passions are color and form.

There’s a real pleasure and peace in expressing thoughts, feelings, and experiences through color. Dyeing is a very playful form of self- expression that utilizes the both visual and the tactile. It is joyful, creative, messy, physical work. When dyeing yarn and spinning fiber specifically, we have these finished objects that are the working materials for other artisans, and that’s the most exciting part of the work for me. Seeing our yarn “in the wild”, whether on Ravelry or at a fiber show, is one of the biggest pleasures of this job! I love seeing what other people create with the things we have made.I love, love, love spinning, too. It’s my second great fiber love. I don’t actually knit with my own handspun; I really prefer handspun from someone else. I always see my handspun as a finished object in its own right, I think! I do adore handspun yarn- there’s something almost sacred about someone else’s handspun to me!- and I purchase and trade for it regularly. Knitting handspun has to be one of the sweetest things in the world- there’s just nothing quite like it.

And now for the big open-ended question.  To Sarah, fiber is...

Fiber is so, so much fun! It’s earthy and light and fluffy and sensual and amazing. Whether I’m spinning or dyeing, knitting or felting, there’s this wonderful sense of both being a part of these traditional crafts and being part of a new arts and craft movement.

Fiber is grounding and uplifting: it reminds me slow down and to pay attention to the small things, like stitches or plying, but it also brings people together into common efforts, like Afghans for Afghans, where fiber artists work to create warm handmade items for people they’ve never met. My life is infinitely warmer, happier, and, well, fuzzier with fiber in it. :)

Sarah (shown below with her husband, who she works with!) blogs at On My Tiptoes and you can shop for (and lust after) some of the beautiful yarns her company creates at Cephalopod Yarns.  Thanks, Sarah!

All photos courtesy of Sarah Eyre, some via her Instagram feed.


Fiber Is... || #1

I feel like I'm constantly reading about and meeting people who use fiber in unique and inspiring ways.  Knitters, weavers, spinners, dyers, printers... everyone has a different connection to fiber through their craft and it means something different to each and every one of us.  It's my pleasure to introduce a brand new column that explores those connections and gives us a different perspective on the impact that fiber has on the lives of artists who use it in very different ways.  I'm already inspired just thinking about it...  Here we go!

I came across Caitlin Ffrench through her patterns on Ravelry and was immediately intrigued by her unique style and great personality (well, of what I can tell from her photos.  But seriously, they have a lot of personality!) Caitlin is a pattern designer with garment photos that are both really fun and also jealousy inducing because of the incredible scenery that she lives in the midst of in the Pacific Northwest.  I knew from her blog that she is a natural dyeing expert (jealous a little bit more), and then I happened to grab a copy of the new Knit Scene magazine and lo and behold, there was Caitlin with a solar dyeing tutorial!  It's on my list of things to try out this summer, that's for sure.  Who's with me?!?  Here's a little more about this lovely, multi-talented fiber artist...

About Caitlin:

Hello! My Name is Caitlin Ffrench. Facts about me: I play accordion. It is large, and red, and it was my aunt's when she was little. No one else in the family wanted it! I make most of my own clothes. Dresses, sweaters, hoodies... its is because i'm 6 feet tall, and I need clothes that actually fit! I really like my cat. A lot. We hang out most every day, and we sing together! I got a BFA (Fine Arts degree) and halfway through completing it, went for a year of fibre school to draw inspiration. I ride bikes a lot. I also build freak bikes. Bikes are better than most everything else. Hobbies??.... all sorts. Weaving, spinning, sewing, building lovely things in my woodshop... a lot of reading too! I LOVE Grey's Anatomy. A LOT! I cry every time!

Ways Caitlin works with fiber, including her favorite craft:

Sewing, embroidery, spinning, weaving, felting, pattern construction, surface construction (screen printing), knitting, crochet.  And my favorites change all the time. Right now i'm totally into weaving.. but 2 weeks ago it was spinning!

And now for the big open ended question.  To Caitlin, fiber is...

Fiber is my everyday; I really make things every day. Some days I don't make much... but I still use my hands all of the time. Fiber is something to keep my mind happy, and my heart well. I can be connected to my fibre life by adventuring in the woods, harvesting dyes. Or I can be connected by just simply wearing something that I have sewn.

Fiber is something that I grew up with. My mother and grandmother both made things from fibre when I was growing up. My grandmother has since passed away, but I use her sewing machine all of the time. (It is a workhorse!) And my mother is a magnificent fibre artist. She can sew more beautiful things than I could believe are possible. She is fantastic! SO fibre is also something that connects me to my family.

You can find the lovely yarns that Caitlin dyes for sale in her Etsy shop, and she also has a blog.  Thanks, Caitlin!




All photos are sourced from Caitlin Ffrench's blog.