Meet the Maker: Emily of Distortion Fibers!
We are thrilled to host local dyer Distortion Fibers for our final trunk show of 2023! Get to know Emily of Distortion Fibers below, and be sure to shop early for the best choice of skeins from her colorful collection!
Meet the Maker:
How did you get into dyeing?
I have been interested in dyeing yarn for a really long time. My undergraduate degree is in Chemistry, so it seemed like a natural fit for me. Like so many others during the pandemic, I found myself at home with a lot of extra time on my hands, and I decided it was the right time to dive in. My "official" start date was September 1, 2020 - so Distortion Fibers is over 3 years old now!
What is your favorite part of the process?
My favorite part of the process is probably a tie between 1. matching my inspiration with potential color combinations, and 2. when I go back to my studio to find a rack of dried yarn that turned out perfectly. There's almost no better feeling for me as when the ideas in my head work out as intended! Like I mentioned, my background was full of science and math, and I didn't make a lot of time to explore the creative and more free flowing side of myself. Knitting and dyeing have been a wonderful exercise in balance for me!
Where do you get your inspiration for colors?
I'm Gen X all the way, and I love to gain inspiration from all things nostalgic. Specifically, music (love 90s grunge) and pop culture. I'm a fan of deep cuts and references that will make people smile or light up with recognition. I love all colors, but I'm really drawn to colors that are a little grungy - not so delicate and sweet. For me, I feel like cool & intricate colors with an edge are what I'd reach for all day. I love a neon pop here and there, and I love pinks and purples - but it's gotta have an edge.
How do you come up with names for the colors?
Mostly from music, movies, nostalgia & other pop culture references. Not always though - sometimes it's just a mood or a vibe.
Which color best reflects your personality and why?
Picking a favorite color is nearly impossible, but if I had to pick one that reflects me, I'd say a deep midnight blue. I will cheat and say blue paired with black. Blues are so many things. They have a calming effect, but are also really intricate. Pairing blue with black can be really intense, but also totally neutral! My version of balance, lol!
Tell us about a WIP or a project in your queue that you're really excited about! Which of your yarns would you recommend for this (or these) project(s)?
I have 2 that I'm excited about at the moment - one is the Outline Tank by Jessie Maed. I've been wanting to knit this for a really long time, and I finally found a perfect color for it. I'm using my Super Singles (single ply fingering) in the color Viper Room. It's perfect because this colorway has a ton of hot pink, purple, blue, and chartreuse speckles in it ,and I love looking at it like a piece of art! The stockinette in this tank lends itself perfectly to showing off all of those intricacies.
The second is a really super simple cowl/scarf that I'm writing up to go with a yarn collection I recently dyed for the tv show Good Omens. It's called The Ineffable Cowl and it's giving a super boho/scrappy look. I wanted it to be interesting and tell a bit of a story, but be simple and easy. My first attempt didn't turn out at all like I wanted it to, but I'm still inspired, so I'm back to the drawing board!
Of what you are sending us, what are your favorite colors or color combinations?
I love them all and they're all my babies, but I'm particularly in love with the sparkle bases I sent. Both of these colors "To the World" and "Not My Department" were some of my favorites from the Ineffable Collection I did for Good Omens. "To the World" is just a perfect blend of grungy/neutral/pop all blended in one. Broken speckles of blues, greens, and gold, with that hint of hot pink streaking through is just heaven to me. No pun intended. And "Not My Department" is such an awesome representation of this particular character in the show. Steely neutral greys, highlighted with specks of a piercing periwinkle blue. Gorgeous!
What advice do you have about combining colors in, for example, a two-color shawl?
I am a big fan of pairing "safe" and "fun/wild/pop/different". It usually takes shape in either light/dark, or a semi solid with a speckle. But I want to clarify that safe and neutral does not mean boring! I fully believe that all sorts of colors can be considered neutral. You have your obvious: black, grey, white, beige, greige, navy, tan. But I love using certain purples, greens, yellows, blues and even reds as a "neutral". I do this so that there is some sort of balance. I don't usually go for the overly busy and frantic look - these days I'm going for a color story to make sense in some way. I do the same thing with marls - I'm way into marling colors together. I love it!
What is your best knitting or crocheting tip?
Big picture, I would say, don't be afraid - nobody was born knowing how to knit or crochet. Your local community and You Tube are huge resources that can bolster your skills immeasurably. Finding a new skill can be a spark that leads to all kinds of inspiration.
And, Small Picture, always block your work!! You can make miracles happen through blocking, I swear. Is that sweater a little too tight or short? Block it. Are your stitches uneven after months of sitting in a WIP pile? Block it. Is your beautiful lace work barely recognizable? Block it! I always add a splash of white vinegar when I block as well, to push the wash acidic for cleaning and dye adhesion.
What are two interesting things about you that aren’t fiber related?
I grew up in Delaware (the first state!), and Dr. Jill Biden was an English teacher at my high school while I was there. I didn't have her as a teacher, but she's in my yearbook! Also, I am a certified SCUBA diver and have done some really cool dives - one of them was a shark dive in the Bahamas with no cage!
If you didn’t dye yarn, what would be your dream job?
Either a writer, a cast member on Saturday Night Live, or a marine biologist.
What is the best advice you've ever received?
I don't know that it's advice I've received necessarily (I'm a Virgo and we generally like to give advice more than take it haha) but, I know that life is so short - *Keep Searching for Sparks*! Trivial or life altering - sparks of inspiration and joy and comfort are what it's all about. It keeps you moving forward and helps balance all aspects of life. A new friend, song, hobby, tv show, philosophy, pair of shoes, recipe - anything lol!
Knit or crochet? Knit!
Starting a project or finishing a project? Finishing, probably, although I love new beginnings.
Solids or Variegated? Speckles (!!) and I love semi solids and tonals.
Coffee or tea? Coffee - although I drink a lot of iced tea!
Sunrises or sunsets? Sunsets (the best in the universe are from the beaches in western Michigan over the Lake!)
Netflix or audiobooks (while crafting)? Probably Netflix, but honestly my favorite crafting is done during get-togethers with my fiber buddies - over a coffee or beer and snacks of course!