Meet Rachael! (right)
I can’t say, with any great accuracy, when I started in the fibre arts. Perhaps it was always there, in my peripheral, popping up in the spool knitting club in elementary school, or sewing class in middle school. There are photos of seven-year-old me, sitting on the couch in my Sunday best (a dress sewn by my Oma), working away on a long snake of spool knitting. And I can remember finger knitting with my sister for hours, although I couldn’t tell you who taught us.
In any case, I do remember one evening at my mom’s condo, in the years between starting university and starting a family, watching my mom crochet a blanket – worsted beige acrylic yarn, all single crochet. It was hypnotic. When my mom put down her work to start dinner, I asked if I could try a few rows. Hesitantly, she said it might not be a good idea because our tension could be different – whatever that meant. (Years later, I completely understand her concern!) But she finally gave in and I completed my first row of single crochet. Before leaving that night, I asked for a hook and some scrap yarn, and went home to practice.
And I’ve been creating with yarn ever since! I went through the progression of learning to read a pattern, picking up Tunisian crochet, recalling long-lost knitting skills from Granny, and - most recently - delving into the world of hand dyeing yarn. Until Marissa reached out on Instagram, I felt there weren’t many people who shared my love of fibre art. Now we are a team, motivating, challenging, and supporting each other in our latest fibre passion: West Coast Yarn Co.!
Note: Marissa has since left West Coast Yarn Co, but has started Rocky Mountain Yarn Co. in Calgary, Alberta. We remain close and continue to collaborate. I left her bio here because I feel it is important to learn more about the start of our business together.
Meet Marissa! (left)
Hi there! Writing this is kind of surreal for me so I’ll just start from the beginning. As the daughter of an Interior Designer, I grew up around colour, balance and aesthetic. I’ve always had a strong creative side, but never really found what I enjoyed doing with it. Standard painting and chalk pastel art really weren’t my thing--I have many thrown-out projects to prove it. Fast forward a bit... While I was getting my doctorate, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, which really started to take a toll on my health the closer I got to graduation. I started having more nights, and days, where I was stuck at home not feeling well and then I discovered knitting! I dove in head first and started collecting all the yarn I could get my hands on, mostly from Premier Yarns, We Are Knitters, and JoAnn Fabrics. I had no idea about high quality hand-dyed yarn...
As I immersed myself into Instagram, I started to discover the amazing community we all know and love. I found so many incredible makers--pattern designers, indie dyers, and more. I started following ALL the people, making some truly amazing fiber friends, and saving all the yarns to my phone. As soon as I got my first hand-dyed yarn, after knitting for about a year, I was HOOKED ya’ll. From that moment, I knew I needed to dye and I’ve been jotting down ideas ever since.
Not long after we graduated, my now husband and I moved to Victoria! I found a local pompom maker (shout out to my friend Stacey @roseandpurl!) who put on a Knit Night in the area. Around that same time, I came across Rachael on Instagram; it was kismet. I happened to see she was also local and reached out to see if she knew about the Knit Night, and boy am I so glad I did! We became fast fiber friends, bonding over our common health ailments and love of yarn. Come to find out, we both had been wanting to dye yarn and here we are, starting this business for our 1-year Friendiversary.