Happy Monday, everyone! I’m delighted to kick off Indie Yarnie week with Tami Klockau, the bright and bubbly chick behind Candy Skein.
I ‘met’ Tami on Ravelry, where we discovered we had a shared passion for crocheting amigurumi. Before I knew it, I had joined in on the Work-in-Progress Wednesdays and Finished Object Fridays blogging days on Tami’s blog. I’ve been keeping up with her great projects (and beautiful yarn) ever since!
Let me start with a confession. I’m addicted to bright colors. When I was a kid, I thought I would grow up and paint my bedroom in 7 colors of neon (that still may happen!). So, it almost goes without saying that me and Candy Skein were born to be together.
Candy Skein colorways are super-vibrant shades inspired by (obviously) candy. For me, the biggest problem is settling on a shade for a project!
After surveying my shawl collection, I noticed that the ‘shocking lime’ portion of the rainbow was absent, so I nabbed a skein of Yummy Fingering in Lemon Lime.
And, well… it’s freakin’ amazing! I knit a Haruni shawl with one skein- and I can’t even tell you how many compliments I’ve gotten on it:
Isn’t it gorgeous? I also got my little paws on a sample of the delicious line, which has a bit of silk and cashmere added to a lot of lovely alpaca… and let me tell you, it’s delish!
How long have you been dyeing? How did you get started?
I started dyeing yarn a little over a year ago. I found a tutorial online and it looked fun, so I thought I’d try it. I got a skein of Lion Brand fisherman’s wool and went to town. I was instantly addicted. After awhile, I started experimenting with different colors and yarn bases. I’m an artist at heart, having worked in a creative industry (and I have an art degree), it was a great outlet.
What inspired you to turn it into a business?
To be honest, I’m not sure. It might have to do with the fact that I was accumulating WAY too much yarn. I also wanted to experiment with more bases and colors, but needed the money to do that. I had quit my job in the video game industry 6 months prior to getting the idea and it just seemed natural. The company has grown way more than I would have ever imagined, especially this early on.
I think that’s a pretty common reason for starting… turning an obsession into a job! Describe your average day as a dyer.
Each day brings a new portion of the job for me, but every day I have yarn cooking in the dye pots. I just recently changed the day I post new yarn/news, etc for Candy Skein. It started out on Mondays, but it ended up not making much sense for me. I was way too stressed trying to get everything done after the weekend. I now updated my blog, website and Ravelry group on Thursdays. Each day, other than Wednesday, I’m dyeing, re-skeining and labeling yarn with a trip to the post office squished in when needed. Most of the time, it’s just me doing all of the work myself (though I do have a friend from one of my knitting groups who helps out sometimes), so I work on Candy Skein stuff 6-7 days a week. I’ve recently had to step up my game, as I’m preparing for a local fiber show (Vista Fiber Fiesta), so am trying to dye at least 6-7 skeins a day. Let me tell you, that’s a LOT of re-skeining!
Wow! That’s an important thing to know… dying isn’t an easy job! What’s your favorite part about dyeing?
My favorite part is coming up with new colors and naming them. I have to admit, since I stick with the candy/food/drink theme to my colorways, naming them can get pretty tricky, but I have a lot of friends who help in that department when I’m stumped. I’m always looking for unique ways of mixing the dyes that I use. Most of the time, you never know what you’re going to get when you take it out of the dye pot!
What are your favorite fibers to use?
I carry a line of yarn called my Delicious series (in lace and fingering weight) which I adore. It takes the dye beautifully and it’s insanely soft and silky. The yarn is made out of 70% alpaca/20% silk/10% cashmere. I can’t seem to get enough of it, to be honest! I’m always looking for new ways to use it.
What’s your studio space like? Where do you do your heavy-duty work?
I do all of my work at home. Right now for dyeing, I use a Crock Pot and two huge lobster type pots to do most of my dyeing. I also have a studio space upstairs that I share with my husband where I do my re-skeining (when I’m not in front of the TV working) and photos. Nothing fancy at all. I must say, our house is being overtaken by yarn!
What’s your your favorite product that you’ve made?
As far as yarn is concerned, I’d say my self-striping yarn, though I don’t do it often because it takes forever to separate the skein, dye it, put it into a ball and knit the sample swatch. I’m also releasing a new yarn series soon which is a single ply that has a gradient of 4 colors. I’ll be calling this my Ripening series. I love everything I’ve made with my yarn for different reasons, but right now I’m working on a Little Shells shawl that I love out of Delicious fingering in Blueberry Sorbet.
Well, then… we know you’re a knitter! Do you also crochet? What do you love to work on? Give a shout out to your favorite project or designer!
I started crocheting, then learned how to knit about a year ago. I have to say, now that I’m comfortable knitting, I love it more. There’s something about having both hands fully active that I love. The finished knitted items just seem more finished to me as well, but that doesn’t mean that I still don’t love to crochet. I’m working on a crocheted blanket right now that’s going well. The reason I wanted to learn how to crochet originally was wanting to make amigurumi. I love to both crochet and knit little toy plushies. Two of my favorite designers right now (for knitting plushies) is Rebecca Danger and Anna Hrachovec.
Two of my faves, too! Tell me the truth… how much yarn (personal stash) to you currently possess? And how often do you snatch yarn off of your production line and keep it for yourself?
This past winter, a friend of mine started a yarn diet that ran from January 1-June 1. We were allowed to buy yarn 5 times, but for each trip, there wasn’t a limit to how much we could buy. Let me just say, that was a mistake. Not the yarn diet part, but not having a limit. I think if I do it again, I’ll definitely change the rules. That being said, I keep a count on my blog of my yarn count, which currently sits at 282. I’m not sure if it’s 100% correct, but I do try and update it when I finish a ball of yarn (if I have enough left overs to do something else with, I don’t take it off just yet), I pull it off the count. That being said, the big mistake here is not counting any Candy Skein yarn. I try not to use a lot of it, but when I started the company, I needed to make samples. I also have an amazing knitting group that buys a lot of Candy Skein yarn from me, and seeing all of their lovely projects out of it, makes me want to use Candy Skein yarn more! Between that and the KALs on the Candy Skein Ravelry group, my stash isn’t getting any smaller, let’s just say that.
If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
Good question! Right now I live in San Diego, CA, but I grew up in Los Angeles. I have to say, I seriously miss LA and would love to move back. Would that be where I would choose in the end? Probably not. I’d love to give the Pacific Northwest a whirl. I’ve always love Vancouver, BC and my trip to Seattle was amazing. The fiber arts community is so huge up there, I think I’d love to at least try to live there for a few years. In the end, I think I’d get tired of the rain and gloom.
Grab some Candy Skein!
You can find Candy Skein yarn at www.candyskein.com.
My blog is at http://tamisamis.blogspot.com. I host Work in Progress Wednesday and FO Friday each week for anyone to join and share their links, as well as update Candy Skein news on Thursdays. I hope to have more time for the blog beyond those three days of posting soon. I’d love to do more giveaways and reviews of both books/patterns/knitting and crochet items in the future.
My twitter name is @tamiklockau. I tweet about Candy Skein, knitting and crocheting, writing/reading and hockey. I must apologize in advance as the new hockey season is starting, so you will be seeing a LOT of hockey tweets!
Candy Skein also has a Ravelry group called Candy Skein Addicts! I update all Candy Skein news, as well as host KALs there. You can find me on Ravelry as hpseeker4.
If you live in the San Diego/Southern California area, I will have a Candy Skein booth at the first annual Vista Fiber Arts Fiesta October 8-9th.
Thank you so much for joining us, Tami! Keep on making your rockin’ awesome yarn!
Each day this week, I’ll be interviewing a fabulous independent dyer or spinner. Trust me, you won’t want to miss a single day!