Hey everyone! I know you'll help me welcome Creating a Family Home sponsor Brambleberry Yarns. Owner Cynthia sells the most beautiful naturally dyed yarn you'll ever see in her Etsy shop, Brambleberry Yarns. Earlier this month I introduced her to you and she offered readers a 20 percent discount in her shop -- so generous!
Cynthia is an amazing woman after my own heart -- a longtime gardener, knitter, lover of family and a homeschooling mom -- and she's incredibly gifted and interesting. Her craft and her perspective is so unique and refreshing. I recently had the chance to get to know her better through her interview, below -- and now you can, too! (I'm sure you'll also find her charming and delightful... I mean, she's a gardener and a knitter and she combines the two in her craft. How can she not be?)
Read on to get to know Cynthia and please visit her shop to see more of her beautiful yarns.
1. Tell us a little more about Brambleberry Yarns.
Brambleberry Yarns came to be as sort of a spin-off from my blog Brambleberries in the Rain. I have been blogging for over four years now about using natural dyes. Over those four years I would occasionally sell some of my yarns online and at various bazaars just for fun. I was never sure if I wanted to make selling yarns a full-time endeavor or not. I finally decided to take the plunge on selling my yarns through Etsy a few months back and am now enjoying it so much!
2. What inspired you to begin dyeing yarn, and what keeps you motivated today?
First of all, I have always been a gardener. My gardens have always been a true passion of mine. Then I became a knitter roughly 10 years ago and not long after that I learned it is possible to dye yarn using plants -- plants that I already had growing in my garden! I was head over heels in love with knitting and the thought that I could combine this new craft with my lifelong love of gardening was too good to be true. I dived into the world of natural dyes and have never looked back! Staying motivated is easy because there is always something new to learn or a plant I have not tried dyeing with. The world of natural dyes is huge! It is always so fascinating to me to see what color one can achieve from a particular plant.
3. How do you balance being a creative, a business owner and a homeschooling mom?
It is not an easy feat that is for sure! I am constantly working on finding a good balance with where I focus my time. There are days when I feel pulled in a thousand directions and never enough of me to go around. I keep my head on straight by doing small things for myself (like taking a half an hour nap when I need one or making sure I put in a few minutes a day to work on my knitting) that keep me feeling motivated. A lot of my time spent dyeing yarn is at night when the younger children are in bed and not needing my attention. This works out really well for me as long as I remember to get myself to bed at a decent time!
4. What do you love most about using plants for dying—as opposed to using traditional dyes or even plant extracts?
This is an easy one to answer! :) Plant based dyes are simply fascinating! Just like with growing grapes for wine climate, soil, and water affect the colors a person will achieve with dyes from natural plants. A plant growing in spring will yield a completely different color than it does during the fall. That is just so amazing to me. In fact, we just recently moved and I am a little concerned (and excited!) to see how the change in water is going to affect my colors.
5. What are your favorite plants to use for dying and why?
I really do not have a favorite (although this year was definitely the year of goldenrod for me as it was growing everywhere!) I find them all to be my favorites depending on what happens to be in my dye pot at the moment. I have a love for growing herbs and using them so they are always favorites of mine in the dye pot.
6. What are your favorite colorways to dye?
I do not know if I have a favorite because I seem to love them all! Every skein that comes out of the dye pot is a new favorite. Each and every one is like a baby to me. Lately though I have been really enjoying the more soft and earthy tones.
7. What do you enjoy most about knitting, gardening and putting the two together in your craft?
There is definitely a rewarding feeling when it comes to growing the dye plant, dyeing with it and then knitting the yarn into a garment to be worn. I love to be able to look at a knitted item from my yarns and remember where that color came from -- be it my garden or a hike with my kids.
8. And finally, onto the knitting. What do you love to knit most, and why?
Just about anything! Although I do love to make items for my children: hats, longies, cardigans, mittens, etc, etc! I have been trying to work on making more items for myself though lately. In fact, I am just about ready to cast on the Shalom cardigan for myself with some yarn that I dyed using logwood. Too much fun and too addicting!