Today we have Tricia from Earthly Hues in the Limelight. I love that Tricia uses natural dyes in the process, which makes her yarn special! I know so many of you love Tricia’s work, and I’m happy that she agreed to be in the Limelight with us today.
Loopy: Hi Tricia! How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?
Tricia: Hi Loopy! Which time? I first learned to knit when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I have memories of sitting with my Mom and learning very basic stitches, then getting frustrated and losing patience. Those lessons didn’t stick. I learned to knit again when my son, Kevin, was about a year old, which would be about 3 1/2 years ago. We had recently returned home from a trip to Colorado, where we spent a week around Estes Park and then a week around Gunnison. We were in Estes Park (awesome farmer’s market there) during the week of the Estes Park Wool Market, but I was clueless. I remember thinking, “That looks like it might be fun to go see . . . ,” but we went for a hike in the mountains instead. Lucky for my husband and two boys, huh? I probably would have gotten sucked in then and there! Soon after we returned I investigated The Needling Yarn in Granville, my local LYS, and signed up for a beginning knitting class. I made a felted bag that was knit in the round and all knits and purls. I dropped a stitch and actually ripped out several hours worth of work to go “catch” it. Now I know better and have several crochet hooks to use to catch that dropped stitch up to the current row! I’ve never not had a project on the needles since then. It’s an addiction. I actually need to knit. But it’s not an unhealthy addiction, I think, because so far I haven’t done anything illegal or immoral to feed it!
Loopy: You passed on the Estes Park Wool Market? Oh, my! What is your favorite item to knit now?
Tricia: Anything that will keep my boys warm. I have three: Geoffrey and Kevin are 6 1/2 and 4 1/2 years old and Andrew is the greatest Husband-Boy ever. Can I just tell you what he gave me for Christmas? A 5-day beginning weaving class at Harrisville Designs in New Hampshire! I don’t think he could have come up with anything better. I’m currently working on sweaters for all three of them, which should have been Christmas gifts but weren’t. One of the reasons is that I married a tall man who likes things long and roomy, which translates to needing a huge sweater. I also had a lot of fun knitting a shawl for my Grandma Mary too. It was pale grey undyed alpaca with black, white, and scarlet accents, and I used a Feather and Fan pattern from Cheryl Oberle’s book, Folk Shawls. I shortened it though, to fit my 4 ft., 11 in.-Grandmother’s frame! She loves it and wears it to OSU Buckeye game-day parties where all the other ladies ooh and aah.
Loopy: I like the picture of your grandma in her shawl. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Tricia: That scarf I started when I was 9! But that probably doesn’t count, because it lives on as an eternally-UFO somewhere. My Mom saves everything, so it truly wouldn’t surprise me to find it in a corner of a drawer someday, in a baggie marked “Tricia, 1982.” But that could also be my Dad’s work too. He files things. You’d be surprised, and I’m sure I would be too, at what can be found in old file cabinets and boxes. Seriously though, I think the most difficult thing I’ve knit is an intarsia and fair-aisle vest I designed and implemented for my kids. It has a raven, which, if we had a family crest would be on it. I’ve been told that Rawnsley means “raven” in Old English, and Andrew likes the symbolism.
Loopy: And now you’re a dyer. How did you go from knitting to dyeing?
Tricia: Well, I was curious about dyeing from almost the start of my knitting career. I started to research dyes and techniques, and to lurk on some blogs within a year of learning to knit. One blog in particular was maintained mostly by Jacki when she and Gail ran Cider Moon. I think it was through there I realized they were going to teach a class at Knitter’s Connection in Columbus in June of 2007. I signed up for their class, among others, but theirs was the one I really looked forward to the most. It was a lot of fun, and very informational, and I still have those skeins of yarn in my stash. I bought a spare microwave from the show organizer, and started experimenting with yarns and dye that summer. Pretty soon I decided that the acid dye powders weren’t something I could feel comfortable working with in the house (remember I have two curious little boys?) and I started to research natural dyes. So, Jacki gets the credit for peaking my curiosity. It’s also due to being so inspired by other talented dyers, many of whom have yarn here at The Loopy Ewe! I still lurk on blogs and websites, and am inspired more and more every day. Though Jacki and Gail have gone on to pursue different projects, I know that without that class it would have taken me much longer to get where I am!
Loopy: Jacki and Gail are both great at inspiring many knitters. How do you come up with your colorways, and do you have a favorite?
Tricia: Well, my by-line kind of explains it: “Divine colour inspired by nature.” I look around at what I see and I try to replicate a little bit of it. The wrens in my garden this winter, all black and brown and tawny gold make me
want to try something that incorporates those colours. Similarly, the greys of Ohio in winter are also inspiring. Then there’s Rainbow Feet, which is my favourite … unless my favourite is 1776. Anything that has indigo is my favourite I think. Indigo is magical and mystical. I’d love to demonstrate Indigo at a fibre show, because it really is something that’s so easy yet produces beautiful colour. Yarn always looks terrible when it comes out of the pot, but within seconds the blues start to develop. It seems magical but there’s a very good scientific explanation. It’s the perfect marriage of science and art. I don’t think I can adequately describe it. Come on over some day and I’ll show you!
Loopy: That sounds like a deal! What is your favorite part of your job? And your not-so-favorite part?
Tricia: My favourite part of running Earthly Hues is naming colourways. Sometimes I know what I’m aiming for, but other times I just start throwing colour at yarn and decide later what it should be called. My least favourite part, by far, is book-keeping. I hate to do it. I hate even acknowledging that it has to be done! It makes me scowl.
Loopy: It makes me scowl, too. Ugh. Well can you tell us more about your family and your farm?
Tricia: I think the only member of my immediate family I haven’t mentioned is our German Shepherd dog, Zinfandel a.k.a Zinny-Dog, Zin, and Spastic Shepherd. She’s 7 now, but as a puppy she had these crazy spasms of energy where she’d drive us bonkers, which is how she earned that nickname. I used it on my first blog, and considered using it for my dye business but then decided not to. So, Spastic Shepherd Knits remains the personal knitting/family blog and Earthly Hues got its own blog. Neither gets updated as much as it should. Have I mentioned I have two small boys? And a husband? A dog? Oh, right. I did. We live in a beautiful home on 3 acres in Granville, Ohio now, but that’s to change soon because Andrew’s job is relocating us to New Jersey. We’ve always had a garden, which includes annuals, perennials, and vegetables, and this past year I started a dye garden that has madder and coriopsis and a few other things. We got the news about the move around the same time I was sowing seeds last spring, so I saved a lot of them for the next house. I did learn, though, that Indigo will not grow in Ohio.
Loopy: You have a garden specifically for growing dye plants? That sounds wonderful! I’ll bet it’s handy to have all of that yarn around, all the time. Does anyone else in your family knit?
Tricia: My sisters both knit, as does my Mom. My sister-in-law mainly crochets. I have several aunts who either knit or crochet, and my Grandmother also knits. I’m trying to convince the (little) boys that knitting is fun, and have even bought a book for them and big needles, but they say it’s “too girly.” Maybe if they knew men who knit they’d be more apt to try it too?
Loopy: I think you need to find a cool hat or scarf that would appeal to them. Then they’ll see what fun things they can make. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Tricia: I love spinning yarn. I know I’ll love weaving. I read a lot of Elizabethan fiction and non-fiction from that era in history because it is my favourite. I hand-stamp Christmas cards every year, but didn’t get around to it this year because of general busy-ness. I also sew and enjoy drawing, singing, playing guitar, gardening, hiking, shopping local, volunteering in my kids’ classrooms, learning new things, baking and cooking (and eating) local foods, and writing. I like words, which is why I got my BA in creative writing. But you probably couldn’t tell I like words, right? Because my answers are so short, cryptic, and to-the-point? Sarcasm is something I inherited from my Mom. My sisters have it too, and my brother. It’s definitely genetic. (Don’t try to deny it guys.)
Loopy: You like words? We would not have guessed. What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Tricia: Having fun with my boys, big and small. We recently spent a day going to lunch and then to COSI, Columbus’ Center of Science and Industry. There are always interesting things there to learn about and play with. It’s a great museum and I’d highly suggest it as a place to take kids if you’re visiting the area! Another recent day off we took the boys ice skating. Lots of fun and only a few bruises!
Loopy: Thanks for being in the Limelight today! Anything else you’d like to add?
Tricia: “Save fuel, wear wool.” It’s not mine – I got it from my LYS’s front window. I like it though, so that’s my final answer! Thanks so much for the opportunity to introduce myself to all your readers. I’m honored to be a
part of the Loopy family!
Loopy: And we’re very glad to have you here!
Sock Club Signups are up on the homepage (although most of you have apparently already found that!). Also, watch for this week’s Sneak Up, which will include our next round of Loopy Legends, The YoYo CashSport, The Alpaca Yarn Company’s brand new Paca Peds colors, a Claudia Hand Painted re-stock, and a Namaste re-stock. (Note – if you ordered a Zuma Eggplant, they shipped out to us last week from CA. We’ll be emailing the pre-order invoices sometime this week so that we can get those right out to you as soon as they arrive.)