UPDATE: Michele has launched a new website! Head over to www.republicofwool.com to shop her beautiful yarns online.
Michele has been filling my IG feed with her bright creations and silly kids for months and I've always admired her fearless color combinations in her knitting. When she announced Republic of Wool, I wasn't surprised by the playfully dyed skeins she was turning out. Color names like Mr Fox, Coffee Breath, Decompose, and Tin Roof Rusted make perfect sense - they reflect the usually striped, often times speckled little strands perfectly. It's clear she is telling a story and setting a mood during her process (see more of her lovely colorways on IG using #republicofwool)
As I mentioned in a previous post, I used her fingering yarn for the mesh back of the Gather Pullover. I got in touch with Michele and she was was kind enough to answer a few questions!
PBK: First, can you tell me a little about yourself?
Michele: I am a CA transplant living in Portland, OR. I have dabbled in many crafts, but became completely obsessed with knitting about 3 years ago. I have 3 kids (3, 5, and 7) that have all learned to not pull knitting off of the needles when I leave the room, or use my yarn to make booby traps. I have been a full time mom for the past 7 years, but before that I was a hair stylist dyeing hair, rather than wool.
PBK: When did you decide you wanted to make the shift from knitter extraordinaire (I've seen how quickly you can whip up a sweater) to yarn dyeing goddess?
Michele: The decision to shift from yarn appreciator to colorway creator came out of necessity. I became a single mom, and was watching my stash quickly dwindle away, and had to figure out a way to maintain my knitting habit without an income. I had always gotten lots of compliments on the color combos I used in my projects, and thought "why not put the colors together on a skein for others to enjoy?". So for my birthday my parents bought me 10 skeins of blank yarn, and from those 10 skeins I started Republic of Wool.
PBK: Your colorways are inspired to say the least - can you give a little insight to your process?
Michele: My process is really a jumbled mess in my head, that bounces around until I can unleash it on yarn. I see things that inspire me, and either make a mental note, or take a picture, and from there I play. Some colorways are inspired by the tiniest little section of yarn on a colorway I had created in the past. It is really a big dance of arranging and rearranging colors till the right thing happens!
PBK: Describe your long-term ambitions for Republic of Wool in 3 words or less :)
Michele: Keep. It. Real.
PBK: Do you have any big plans in store for us this year? Expanded yarn bases, additional colors, or new dyeing techniques?
Michele: I am planning on doing some "power couples" real soon. Pairing up colorways for stripes or colorwork projects for all those that claim to be color impaired ;) I may bring on more bases later on as well, but I like to keep it simple so we will see...
PBK: And finally, I know you've designed and written some knitting patterns in the past - is this something we'll see more of from you or has dyeing taking up creative priority?
Michele: I am going to leave the pattern writing up to you, and all the other impressive designers out there! I tip my hat to all you designers!
Thank you so much, Michele and I'm looking forward to seeing your "power couple" pairings - I know they're going to be stunning!
Michele is also offering a 15% discount to PBK readers until April 1st.
Head over to her Etsy shop and use code PBKsentme
(discount available for in-stock items only).