Interview with My Mama Knits, Hand-dyer

Over two years ago, I reached out to Sunshine Stewart of My Mama Knits because I was embarking on my Ultraviolet Knits book and her UV-reactive yarns were one of the few available at the time. We have corresponded ever since and I was thrilled to have the chance to interview her for my blog.

If you already follow her on Instagram, you know she has a prolific colorway spectrum with bold neons to subtle variegated options. Names inspired by her life in Scotland evoke memories and lore.

To preserve her voice, I’m sharing the interview itself along with her own photos.

Interview with My Mama Knits yarn hand-dyer | EvinOK

How long have you been dyeing yarn?
I have been dyeing yarn and fibre for myself for some time, but only took the plunge into dyeing as a business in 2015.
Interview with My Mama Knits yarn hand-dyer | EvinOK
What inspired you to make your dyeing a business?
When I first started adding my hand dyed yarn to the shop, I was dabbling in pattern writing and could not find the colours I wanted , so decided to make them myself. I bought some simple supplies to play with and also introduced the kids to Kool Aid dyeing to make some gifts for family. I added kits and dyed yarns to the shop to share the fun and fuel my experiments. These were well recieved and dyeing just quickly took over from there. I’m still very much learning how to mange the business side of things juggling the balance of business vs creativity.
Interview with My Mama Knits yarn hand-dyer | EvinOK
Where did your company name come from?
At the time I first started out with a shop on Etsy, I was a new mother and knitting sort of became the only thing that I did as an activity for myself. (Although, I was still primarily making baby clothes.) It was easy to slow down and pick up a project while breast feeding and cradling a child who didn’t nap without me near. My Mama Knits became the name of my shop as I began to wonder what this little person’s idea of my identity beyond mom might be. I orginially sold hand knit hats and the business has just orgainically grown and taken me in new directions from there, including my own stand alone website. Despite my current yarn dyeing obsession, my down time is still spent knitting and it is the first thing the kids will say if asked what I do!
Interview with My Mama Knits yarn hand-dyer | EvinOK
What do you like about what you do?
I love the whole process. For me being able to play with colour and texture daily and be surrounded by it in the home is amazing and feels very much like allowing a core part of myself to thrive. The ability to have a creative outlet is so life changing for me. I love that I am just a piece in the wool’s journey as well. Just a hand in the process that started before me in a field and will continue on in another makers hands after I’ve sprinkled, dipped and painted my colour visions on it. I am so grateful to be part of that and hope that all of the positive and healing aspects the process brings to me are passed forward as well.
Interview with My Mama Knits yarn hand-dyer | EvinOK
How does your environment inspire your work?
I love colour and can become almost drunk on it sometimes. I am hugely inspired by the colours in Scotland and my native New Mexico. The colour in nature cannot be out done. I can get caught up in the colours in the grandest sunset or the tiniest little beetle.
Interview with My Mama Knits yarn hand-dyer | EvinOK
How do you approach your work on a colorway?
My approach can vary. Some colourways brew in my head for months and I might think a long time about how exactly I want the skein to look and how to achieve that or how it might fit into an exisiting theme. Others just come out over the pot when I might just have an idea of certain colours I want to see together in a skein or want to play with a new dye or technique. Still in other colourways I might be working towards a certain affect I want to see in a knitted piece, such as colour pops, striping or UV black light effects.
Interview with My Mama Knits yarn hand-dyer | EvinOK
Finish this sentence: “When I am not dyeing yarn I am… “
Beyond dyeing and fibre crafts, bakeing, gardening and being out in nature are also some of my passions. I’m also a sucker for giant creature B-movies and love a good book.
My Mama Knits Bee Mine colorway with bright yellow, deep black, and cheerful pink
I’m so appreciative to Sunshine for taking the time to share her perspective and experiences. You’ll get to see her yarn in my upcoming Ultraviolet Knits book designs. I’m so pleased to have been able to work with her on this special project.
Interview with My Mama Knits yarn hand-dyer | EvinOK
You can read other interviews with hand-dyers, artists, designers, and creatives HERE in the Community & Interviews category of EvinOK.

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