If you love to knit or always wanted to learn, The Sheepyshire is just for you! Her beautiful hand dyed and spun yarns will make anyone want to take up fiber art…. so excited to have her as a first-time Arts on the Square vendor!
Tell us a little about how The Sheepyshire got its start and where you’re located.
I moved to NEPA from New Jersey a few years ago and although I miss being close to the ocean, I love the wide open spaces and mountain landscapes of this area. I have always loved mixing and combining colors and dyeing was a perfect outlet. I decided to open The Sheepyshire when I realized that I was dyeing wool much faster than I was able to knit or spin it. I’ve recently decided to push myself outside of my comfort zone to make The Sheepyshire something more than just a side hobby. AOTS will be my first show and I am very excited to get The Sheepyshire out from behind a computer screen.
I create all my products out of my home in Mayfield. My yarn and fiber are dyed in my brand new basement studio that I am quickly covering in a rainbow splattering of dye.
How did you get into knitting, fiber dying and fiber art in general?
I always loved creating things when I was younger, but I couldn’t seem to find something that could keep my interest. Then I found my first creative love – quilting. I loved everything about it; the colors, patterns, fabric, the process, and especially the feeling of being able to wrap the finished product around my shoulders. Quilting, however, isn’t very portable so when it was time to go off to college I had to find something new. I had knit some in the past but it never quite stuck. It wasn’t until I came across the fiber arts community of Ravelry.com that the obsession started. I have gotten seemingly limitless amounts of inspiration from that site and have learned so much about different crafts and techniques that I never knew existed. It still amazes me just how much you can do with wool. It is a wonderful feeling to slip on a pair of cozy socks and a warm sweater that you made yourself on a cold winter day. I am eager to keep learning new techniques and expanding my fiber arts knowledge. I’ve recently dabbled in needle felting and weaving on a rigid heddle loom, which I am also enjoying.
Tell us a little about spinning and dying. Was it a slow learning process?
I was taught how to spin a few years ago from a short demo when I bought my first drop spindle at a sheep and wool festival. The basics are very simple and don’t take long to learn, you literally twist wool or other fiber in one direction to make a long continuous strand and you have yarn. You can stop there and be left with a very basic single ply yarn, or take two of these strands and twist them in the opposite direction to make a more balanced 2 ply yarn. There is of course much, much more to learn about it than that. Spinning your own yarn can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. It allows you to completely customize your yarn starting with a specific breed of sheep, deciding what thickness you want it, the construction of your yarn, and so much more. I started dyeing wool and yarn so that I was able to customize my projects even more. My first time dyeing was simply with Kool-Aid packets, vinegar, and a microwave and I loved it. Dyeing has taken a lot of practice and I love seeing my progress over time. I do have skeins of yarn hidden away in closets that were the result of failed dyeing experiments. I am still constantly learning and improving my dyeing skills and I thoroughly enjoy doing it.
What types of items will you be featuring at AOTS?
I will have hand dyed and natural colored spinning fiber, simple drop spindles that are used to spin yarn, various weights of hand dyed mill spun yarn, and sewn draw string bags for projects or whatever you may want to put in them (I haven’t let go of my fabric obsession either).
Connect with The Sheepyshire