Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rachel Kluesner: : Fiber

Today we are visiting the studio of Rachel Kluesner, owner of Dyeabolical, hand dyed yarn and fiber. Rachel's studio is in her home - utilizing one bedroom, and lots of corners here and there throughout.
Rachel is a long time fiber artist and her company's story is a fun one. After learning both during her childhood, Rachel gave up knitting to focus on crochet until 2005 when she began working at her local yarn shop. Here, she rediscovered knitting and it is now what she looks forward to most at the end of her days.
About four years ago, her family gave her $100 in dying supplies as a gift.
 She took her hand-dyed yarns to work to show the owner and sold them on the spot, wet off the hanger.
She went home, made another batch, and it happened again! Wet off the hanger - her yarn was sold and a passion was born. "The sock yarn world has exploded," she said, "but at that time, you couldn't get those really saturated colors."

Rachel started Dyeabolical and worked part time whenever possible in her 500 square foot apartment. A year ago, she went full time and she and her husband moved to a bigger home where Dyeabolical could have its own space.

Let's start with the business side. Here is Rachel's shipping station.

Her business center.

And her library.

In the middle of the room is the production studio. Deborah is here today, Rachel's friend and assistant.

Rachel is carding up custom dyed Blue Faced Leicester (pronounced "Lester") wool.

I hope you can see its beautiful grey shade?

Deborah is working the mechanized skein winder.

See it smiling at her?

Behind Deborah is Rachel's light box. Rachel estimates it takes her eight hours to photograph two weeks of her work, or 15 to 20 pounds of fiber and yarn. She says the light box has been a tremendous asset in her marketing.

Four years after that $100 gift, Rachel has opened an etsy shop, she has participated in many shows, she teaches, she designs (her most popular pattern is here), she blogs and she has a national clientele for her work.
Next year she hopes to do one out of town show and she's taking sign-ups for her first ever Sock Club and Fiber Club (peek fast - they're almost sold out!).
Here is one of the corners of her home that I mentioned. Rachel spins her yarn here (see first photo). It's very zen.
Her loom is also outside her studio. This is one of Rachel's husband's creations. One piece of advice that Rachel would offer a beginning fiber artist is this: get to know your tools. "I didn't know that my $100 spinning wheel was a well made machine until I took the time to really learn how it was meant to be used," she said.
And while she can always make her own yarn, Rachel still loves to shop from her peers, "I love using my own wool, I love hand dyed and hand spun yarns, and I love knowing an actual human being took care to make my yarn."

Thank you Rachel! (and Deborah!)

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