The Close Knit podcast showcases artists, designers, and makers from all over the world who work with fibre in its many forms. Knitters, spinners, sewers, textile artists - all will be celebrated on the Close Knit podcast.
In episode 16, I spoke to Sarah Belcher of Blue Highway Handdyes. Sarah lives in Texas, where she creates naturally dyed yarns from locally raised animals. We talk about her journey into dyeing, and how she couldn’t imagine acid dyes in her home around her family so she looked for an alternative and found natural dyes. She then went on to create her own yarn bases for her natural dyes fromTexas -raised merino and mohair.
Sarah is a a self-described "yarn sniffer" - which of course we bonded over instantly. She wanted to make her own wool and realised that there was a ton of merino and mohair in Texas and most of it was being sent abroad in bales. That led her to create her Tex Ranch yarn base - from Texas, and spun in Penn.
When I asked her about how she went from the idea to make a local yarn to actually doing the thing, she told me that she first just googled american mills, she knew about green mountain spinnery from when she lived in vermont, and mountain meadow mills, and coincidentally there is someone very close by making a small mill. Those guys would take a smaller minimum of fibre so that meant she could get small amounts processed more easily. She was able to figure it out by asking and the fibre community has been so open to sharing knowledge.
We also discussed many of the larger mills are often not aware that there is a huge market for farm to needle and lament the mass textile market that all of the wool goes overseas automatically.
Sarah is a process knitter - she just knits to knit for the sake of it. it quiets her mind, and she knits a little bit every night to wind down. It's like meditation.
Sarah's biggest bit of advice:
"comparison is the thief of joy. look long enough to get inspired, but not so long to feel less about your own efforts."
People/ Things we mentioned in the podcast:
- sugarhouse workshop - vermont based amazing quilter, natural dyer
- folk fibres - texas based amazing quilter natural dyer
- botanical colors: natural dye expert cathy
- 44 clovers - natural dyer
- sasah duerr - natural dyer
- dogwood dyer - natural dyer
- fibershed - resource for making clothes locally - highly recommend checking them out!
Like what you're hearing?
Awesome! I'm glad you've found your way to this podcast. Please feel free to subscribe, leave a review on iTunes (this makes all the difference to reaching more people!) and share with your loved ones. Thanks for tuning in.
Until next time!