Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dyer Interview: Friday Studios

 It's been a while since I've actually written a blog post. Ever since I started recording the podcast, I've come to really enjoy using video as my platform every week (and I have some other non-podcast video ideas in my head). That being said, I don't want to abandon this humble blog that got me started.

If you are familiar with my podcast, you've probably seen a few interviews I've done with dyers and other fun people in the fibery world. Sometimes though, there is a dyer that I can't record a video interview with, like if there is a lack of equipment for example. I've decided to post some written interviews on this blog so we can all soak up as much information from various dyers as possible, whether it's through video or a blog post.

Now that I've rambled for a bit, let me introduce today's interviewee: Frida from Friday Studios. I've admired her work for a while now (I have my first skein of hers on its way to me now!) and was thrilled that she agreed to let me interview her!

All photos are courtesy of Friday Studios

"Vampire Bill" Courtesy of Friday Studios

First thing’s first, tell us a bit about yourself and your business.

I live a quiet life in a very small village on an island in a lake about an hour away from Stockholm in Sweden, with my husband Ola and two angora rabbits. I work from home and I am very happy being alone during the day, and I would say that one of my greatest accomplishments, in my work life, is that I have eliminated early mornings. ;) Though lots of my yarns are dyed in the middle of the night.
I have a background as a silversmith and an art jeweler, I have a bachelor in Fine Arts, but  I somehow got tired of that world. And I found “my people” among the knitters, spinners and dyers. :)

When and how did you start dyeing? What sort of resources (books, Internet, teachers) did you use to get started?

I rediscovered knitting during art school, creating interesting shapes based on a mitten pattern, and then I learned that you could dye wool with food colors and koolaid, and it sort of exploded from there. 

The first yarn I dyed was from necessity, I had a sock pattern in mind, the Kebnekaise socks, and I needed a specific color pattern for it to work, so I dyed that yarn using food color from the store.
I learned a lot from reading tutorials on the internet and from Youtube. I don't really have a go to book, I developed my own methods through trial and error, constantly evolving my methods.
Sweden is a small country and there is usually no one to ask or learn from, you get used to learning on your own. I wish I would have taken some classes in the textile department in school, but I did not know then that I would need it now, and as it is now I have a very open mind about techniques and colors.

"Toothpaste" Courtesy of Friday Studios
What made you decide to start selling your hand dyed yarns?

I have always created things with my hands, and I think I was always on a path to owning my own business selling something of my own creation. I can not see myself doing any other kind of work.
When I was little I sold polymer clay animals, I painted and then it was silver jewelry that morphed into art jewelry and then hand spun yarns, knitting patterns, dyed wool and now self striping yarn.

What are some dye techniques that you particularly enjoy?

Any involving me playing with dye. ;)

I mostly work with immersion dyeing, using lots of little containers and a microwave oven,  and I am always experimenting with new ways to skein the yarn, new ways to apply the dye or new equipment. I am very interested in what happens to the colors when you knit the yarn into fabric.
The next thing will probably be a small knitting machine, because I am itching to try to dye knitted fabric. 

Courtesy of Friday Studios

What is the space you work in like?

I work from my home, a little grey/blue house with a garden. I dye in my laundry room where I have great access to running water and a drying cabinet and I have confiscated the whole top floor for yarn, wool, swifts and spinning wheels. I love working from home in my own pace and in my own time, not having to get ready to go somewhere in the mornings. 

Courtesy of Friday Studios

Courtesy of Friday Studios

Do you have a favorite colorway you have created?

As I am sure all dyers say, the latest one, ;) But I think my favorites are Vampire Bill and Science Fiction. Right now, though, I am really in love with the gradients, specifically Rose Hip.

"Science Fiction" Courtesy of Friday Studios
What drew you to self-striping yarns/gradients?

I love squares, color blocks and stripes, all through art school that defined me. I do love other kinds of patterns too, and I buy a lot of variegated yarn, but that is not what “comes out of me” what I create. You have to accept what you are good at and go with it.

And I love the defined borders between colors and seeing what happens when you put one color next to another, next to another, and then how the whole is perceived. It is easy to be inspired by something and pick out a bunch of colors, the tricky thing is to make the combination work and reflect the thing you were inspired of.

Are there any dyers or fiber artists that you look up to or find their work inspiring?

I admire all small crafty business owners, and I love reading blogs and watching podcasts and Youtube channels. I really admire you who find the time to do that too.

My inspirations still comes a lot from the art jewelry world, I love Lisa Walkers work (, and I greatly admire my two professors from art school, Karen Pontoppidan and Ruudt Peters (, both for their work, their teachings and way of life.

What advice would you give to people interested in trying out
dyeing in general or specifically more complicated techniques like self-striping yarns or gradients?

Just go for it, there is no right and wrong, accept what you are good at and remember to do what you like. Find information, test techniques and learn, there is always something to learn. Write down what you are doing, so that you can reproduce it. Oh, and ask people, ask how they are doing it, maybe they don't mind sharing.

What advice would you give to people interested in selling hand dyed yarn?

About the same as in the question above. Just go for it. Try things out and learn, never stop evolving. Etsy is a good way to start, but you have to work with a great deal of competition there. Learn about your customers, what they want, what they are willing to pay, and pay for. Ravelry is a great place to get to know your customers. Be proud of your product and don't sell anything that you don't like yourself. And ask people for help. 

"Scary Movie" Courtesy of Friday Studios

Reader Question from knittygirl on Ravelry: How do you decide which colors to stripe? Do you have inspiration or do you play around with different colors?

Hello knittygirl! I get inspiration from everything around me, and I see color combinations or a mood I want to communicate, and I go from there.

For example Science Fiction started with a love of that turquoise and green, and it felt like the covers of old science fiction books to me, when it was done.

Vampire Bill, on the other hand, started with a love of Charlaine Harris´s books and I tried to get the feel of that character. When inspiration hits I try to just go with it, and when inspiration is lost, I do an old favorite. :)

How can people find you and get in contact?

The best way to get in contact with me is through Email, Ravelry or any of the below really. To get the latest news about updates and sales you can join my newsletter.
I am always open to custom orders or color ways, just ask!

Ravelry: Fridaa
Plurk: FridayStudios
Twitter: FridayStudios
Facebook: Friday Studios
Instagram: FridayStudios

Thank you!