Friday, December 16, 2011

Dyer Moments: Shayla Myst Morrigan

When I design knit patterns, my inspiration usually begins with a color.  I like to design textures and patterns that represent, in some way, the color I’m working with.  If a particular dye lot reminds me of fire, or a stormy sea, or a leafy vine, I’ll try to reflect that in the stitch pattern or overall shape.  But where do those beautifully colored yarns originate?  I'm particularly fond of the work of indie-dyers, and so I've created this interview process - Dyer Moments - to expose the people that make the colorways that inspire new design.  


Join me today in getting to know Shayla Myst Morrigan!


Describe the first time you dyed.
~ I saw so many pretty colors in the world around me and wanted to see if I could translate those colors into yarn. So I bought a dyeing kit from Knit Picks, just to see if I could dye at all. I made a huge mess in my kitchen and was tickled when the skeins were finally dry and the colors were so pretty.

How did you begin your business? 
~Some of the women in the Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House cup group really liked the skeins I'd dyed and someone suggested that I sell them. Since I already sold herbal salve online, it wasn't a big leap to add yarns to my shop.

What inspired the name of your company?
~ Many years ago I wanted to come up with a name to represent my online presence, so I began looking up various names and words. Alina means "away from home" and Shea means "a magical place".

What inspires your colorways and how do you name them?
~ A lot of my colors are inspired by the things I see in life. From Morning Glories, Nightshade, & Bright Vincas to Melted Lipstick, Nightfall, & Chocolatey Mint, it's all out there in the world to see. The names just come to me as the colors form in the pots and they just seem "right".

Do you also knit? Crochet?
~ Yes, both! I also like to spin and I weave a little bit. I can't imagine sitting for very long without some project in my hands.

What is your favorite color and do you have a favorite pattern for showing off your yarn?
~ This varies between deep purple and rich green. One of my favorite colorways is Nightshade since it has both colors. Favorite patters? I think that changes every time I see a new project that someone used my yarn with.

What is your favorite fiber/yarn to dye?
~ I carry a base called Frosted Moon and I love how it soaks up the color and gives just a hint of sparkle.

Is there anything especially cool about your yarns we should know?
~ I try to get really soft yarns. I ask companies for lots of samples, and when they don't quite feel soft enough to make baby clothes, I probably won't carry them.

Describe your background / education. Does it have any influence on your company?
~ My mom was known as an "Earth mother" so there was a lot of hippy-ness going on during my younger years. A lot of time spent outdoors looking at pretty flowers, interesting leaves, animal tracks, and so much more. I think that really influenced my ability to see beauty in so many things. Education? Well, I was home-schooled, then in college at 16. The most useful class I took was interpersonal communications, but I still have trouble communicating even now. (The other classes dealt with computer programming, drafting, and math.)

What advise would you give others looking to dye?
~ Play! Don't be afraid of adding a little extra color, or a little less. Trust your intuituion. If a color doesn't look right, over-dye it with a harmonizing color (blue for cool colors, bold orange for warm colors) and you'd be amazed at the way it changes.

Tell us about your biggest dye “fail”.
~ Mud. I was trying for a soft blend of blues, greens, and browns. Sadly, I dropped the skein fully into the brown (while my tongs were on the other counter) and the whole skein ended up looking like the mushy leaves at the end of winter. I over-dyed in in black and never put it in the shop.

Most importantly, what’s the best way to purchase your yarns? Are you in retail stores or do you have a shop online? Do you offer a yarn club?
~ I have an online shop through Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/shop/AlinaSheaCreations) and you can keep up with the weekly updates through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/alina.shea.creations).

~ I do have a yarn club! I have so much fun coming up with colors and gifts each month and the members are truly amazing people. Most of the information is found on AlinaShea.com (http://www.alinashea.com/club.html)

Shayla Myst Morrigan - Alina Shea Creations
To get a better idea of the people behind the product…I ask our dying interviewees these insightful questions developed by Bernard Pivot.

What is your favorite word?
~ Illume. It just seems to hold all the magic of a tiny point of light growing slowly to help us to see clearly.

What is your least favorite word?
~ Can't. Only because so many people believe it when they use it and everyone has so much potential for "Can".

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
~ So many things. The sparkle in my kids' eyes (14 & 19), the love from my friends, the purring of my cats, the wind blowing the bright leaves in my yard, The snow glittering when the temperatures drop, the rain hitting my window...

What turns you off?
~ Intolerance and beligerance. I think they just send out such negative energy that it hurts anyone around the one doing the sending.

What is your favorite curse word?
~ I don't really have one, but I usually say "snack crackers" when I'm really mad.

What sound or noise do you love?
~ The wind. It has so much life to it.

What sound or noise do you hate?
~ A car's tires screeching. That one stops me in my tracks everytime in a near panic.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
~ Alpaca breeder, or farmer, they are both tied.

What profession would you not like to do?
~ A public defender. You don't really get a choice in who your clients are and that could easily go against a person's own morals.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
~ Yes, you made a positive impact in people's lives.

Please visit Shayla at http://www.etsy.com/shop/AlinaSheaCreations