Today we have Dianne from Creatively Dyed in The Loopy Limelight. You have so loved her unique and beautiful Luxury Sock yarn and Seacell Roving and I know you’ll also snap up the new line that she is sending soon! (Her dye techinque on this new line involves using 15 colors per skein. The results are stunning. We hope to have that in just after Thanksgiving!)
Loopy: Hi Dianne! Thanks for being in the Limelight today. Let’s start at the beginning – you’re from Trinidad – how did you end up living here in the States?
Dianne: I came to America at the age of 13 because my mother wanted a better life for her children than my country had to offer.
Loopy: We’re glad that your family found their way over here. Are there things you miss from your country? And things you love about living here?
Dianne: I miss the food the most. I didn’t learn to cook many of our traditional foods before I left Trinidad. I have lots of cook books from my island but the ingredients are hard to find in my area. I have to drive 3 hours to Atlanta, GA for my country’s food. I love living in America because of the opportunities that I have here I didn’t have in Trinidad. In my country most citizens do not go to college even though we have some of the best colleges in the world on the island. When I came to America with one suit case containing all my worldly processions, I said to myself I’m going to take advantage of everything America has to offer. I wanted to go to college and wear better shoes than the ones I left behind in Trinidad that I kept repairing with a safety pin so I could play with my many cousins who lived near by. I remember when I came to America and found out that television was on 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Television in Trinidad only came on from 9am-12pm then from 3pm-9pm when I left in 1988. Most of the programs on TV were Indian Movies, Sesame Street or political talk shows. Not much to watch for a child my age so I spent most of my time reading books or playing with my cousins. My first week in America I watched so much TV that my eyes hurt.
Loopy: That must’ve been an interesting indoctrination into things here in the States. Not necessarily a good one, but I’m sure you learned a lot. Now let’s get to the knitting – how long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?
Dianne: I’ve been a knitter since February 2004. During my year in graduate school (Pursuing my master’s degree in Technology Management) I made a friend who happened to be a knitter. I learned to crochet at the age of 10 from one of our neighbored ladies but I hadn’t crocheted in years. My friend said you should learn to knit to relieve some of the stress. I called my local yarn shop to take the class but they didn’t teach beginner knitting classes. I went to my local Michaels with another friend from work because I didn’t know what to expect. I remember my friend learned the stitches right away but I struggled with every stitch. I was determined not to let this set control my life. I went home and stayed up until 2 am knitting because there was no way she was going to be knitting without me. It turned out that my friend learned the stitches but hated knitting, for me it opened a new world.
Loopy: What a great lesson in determination and perseverance. What is your favorite item to knit?
Dianne: My favorite thing to knit are socks. A couple of years ago I was bedridden with my 3rd sinus infection in a month. I knit 2 pairs of socks in 3 days for a friend. I don’t know what it is about knitting socks for me because I’ve had as much as 7 different socks on needles at one time. I tend to have my socks in various stages and my favorite pattern of all the sock patterns I’ve ever seen is the 2X2 rib. I can do that pattern in my sleep.
Loopy: You had a yarn shop for awhile. How did you go from owning a shop to dyeing?
Dianne: I opened my yarn shop in 2004 and closed in 2007. While I had my shop there were other shops in the area who would receive the same items that I did then put them on sale within 2 weeks of delivery. I wanted something that was mine that no one else had or could acquire. I begun dyeing my own yarn. I gave away yarn for months then after taking a sock dyeing class at John C Campbell Folk School I begun selling my hand dyes in my shop. It was funny because I often thought that my finished product was horrible but one of my good friends would tell me to stop being so hard on myself. She liked it and if others had any sense of style they would like it also. She’s still one of good friends and customers.
Loopy: And now you have a whole bunch of people all over the country who love your yarn and collect your different colorways! How do you come up with your colorways, and do you have a favorite?
Dianne: I have to be honest, I have no clue. When I first started dyeing yarn I tried doing repeat colors for my shop but I found that it was like pulling teeth for me to do repeats. I’m blessed to have some of the best bases spun for me and I decided that I would become an artist whose paintings represent what’s in their heart. I do my best work when I blast gospel music and let the skein talk to me. I start with one color then stand back feeling the vibes coming from the skein and create my work of art. I believe that dyeing unique color ways that I never write down is my favorite colorways.
Loopy: You do come up with some very unique color combinations, and they knit up just beautifully. (Here’s a sock that I knit up with one of your skeins of yarn, so that everyone can see how the colors mix together as you knit. Pattern: Cookie A’s Monkey Socks, done toe-up.) What is your favorite part of your job? And your not-so-favorite part?
Dianne: Favorite part of my job is that I get to take my daughter back and forth to school every day. I know that some people may not think it’s part of my job but it is. After years of working 8-5 and missing out on so many of her plays, school trips (I love to volunteer) or games, my job as an indie dyer helps me stay close to my only child. I don’t get paid even 1/10 of what I received at my job as a computer programmer but the smile on her face is worth all the money in the world to me. Another favorite part of my job is vending at a show in an area of the country that I’ve never been to before. This year we went to CA (to name one state among so many); I’ve been there several times (in my previous life) but never got to see the redwoods or the Golden Gate Bridge. My not-so-favorite part is when I get soaking wet because I’ve dropped a bucket of water. One time I dropped a bucket and I got wet from head to toe. All I could do was laugh because if this is the worst part of my job, I’m blessed.
Loopy: Ha! I think we need a photo of that sometime. 🙂 Tell us about your family and how do they help in your business?
Dianne: My family is s huge part of my business and I couldn’t be where I am today without them. My husband (aka superman aka Jerry) works a full time job yet he still has time to listen to my request for this or that for my business. When I have shows that I know are to big for me to handle, he always finds time to come with us. He built my racks, the stands for my pots, ran hot water to all my pots so I no longer had to use buckets; he’s currently running lines to all my pots for a new 300 lbs gas tank for my studio. I’m blessed because all I have to do is give him a description of what I need and he does his best to create it for me. Our daughter (aka princess aka Diana) is one of the hardest working teenagers that I know. I pay her for her help (she doesn’t accept candy for payment like she did when she was younger) after school and for helping me out at shows during the summer. She doesn’t have much time during the school year but she does her best to help me on the weekends.
Loopy: It’s so great to have a supportive family and I’m glad you share a photo of the three of you. What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Dianne: I haven’t had a day off since July 2007 when we took a family vacation to Cancun, Mexico. While we were there I couldn’t dye but I did get to plan colors from the beautiful colors of Mexico. We went on vacation this year about a 4 hour drive from our house and you guessed it. We came home early because I wanted to dye. In 2009 with my show schedule it doesn’t seem like I’ll have a day off until November. I work so hard because our daughter will be leaving for college in less than 4 years. I believe that the next generation should not have to use student loans like I did so I’m working hard so I can pay her tuition.
Loopy: College costs are skyrocketing these days. I know your daughter appreciates all of your hard work to help pay for that coming up in her life. (Or if she doesn’t appreciate it yet, she will someday!) Anything else you’d like to add?
Dianne: I am a workaholic who loves her job and wish I found this job earlier in life. I have an AA in General Studies & a BS in Computer Science & one year left to finish my MA in Technology Management. In my previous life I used to be a computer programmer. I am SO BLESSED.
Loopy: And we feel blessed to have you here at The Loopy Ewe. Thanks, Dianne!
So many fun things arriving at Loopy Central and we’re photoing as fast as we can! Wait until you see the cute sheep-y bags from 3AM Enchantments – too fun. And we have that special new line from Dream in Color called Starry arriving this week in all colors, including their brand new semi-solids. Can you guess why it’s called Starry? Here are the new colors you can look forward to (but these were dyed on the regular base – not Starry. So the photo will give you no hints on Starry yet…) New color names (L-R): Cinnamon Girl, Gold Experience, Shiny Moss, Bermuda Teal, Romeo Blue, Purple Rain, Absolute Magenta, Tea Party, Grey Tabby, Black Pearl and Crying Dove. We’ll be getting these new colors in Smooshy and Baby and Classy as soon as they’re available, but first we’ll have them in Starry.