Sponsor Saturday: Brambleberry Yarns

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This week's featured sponsor--just perfect for this bit of stormy, fall-like weather that's hitting my part of the world this weekend--is the lovely Brambleberry Yarns.  Cynthia, the spinner behind Brambleberry, dyes all of her yarns using natural materials--many of which she even grows herself.  

If you're a knitter like me, I'm sure that's making your head spin a little with the wonderful possibilities!  I could have spent hours asking Cynthia questions about her processes, but I had to rein myself in to just a few questions.  However, if you want to know more about Cynthia's dyeing and spinning, you can also check out her blog, Brambleberries in the Rain.  On to our interview!

Me:  How did you get started dyeing and spinning your own yarn?

Cynthia:  I’ve actually been dyeing yarn for almost 10 years now. It started with my love for growing herbs. I always knew yarn could be dyed with plants and once I learned how to knit I just had to try it out. I was amazed at the colors I was able to achieve. The colors are so warm and earthy. It has been quite an adventure learning about dye plants after all these years!

Spinning my own yarn came many years later. For whatever reason, spinning yarn always intimidated me. It always looked so complicated. I would actually feel anxious looking at spinning wheels and think I could never figure that out! I finally could not stand the longing to try it anymore and decided to just give it a go one day with a drop spindle. I became instantly hooked that day and have never looked back!

Me:  I understand that you use only natural dyes.  Can you give us some examples of the plants and materials you use?  What is the strangest material you've ever used to dye yarn?

Cynthia:  I don’t think people realize just how many plants out there can be used as dyes. I use all parts of many different plants from the roots, bark, and leaves to even the seeds. For example, just a few weeks ago I dyed up a lot of yarn using just the seed stalks from a common weed called yellow dock.

I honestly cannot think of the strangest material I’ve ever used! At one point in time it seemed strange to me when I used rusty nails to mordant my yarn but now that has become quite common! My family once thought it was odd when I was collecting used tea leaves and coffee grounds for use as a dye. Maybe I should ask them what they think is the strangest material I have ever used! 

Me:  My Sweet Husband and I are currently having a very-much-facetious disagreement about whether we should add a pair of angora goats to our household.  But I've heard a lot of people say it's a small step from spinning your own yarn to raising sheep or other fiber animals.  Have you ever done that?  Ever considered it?

Cynthia:  I certainly daydream about the day when I can raise my own flock of {insert any of the following} sheep, goats, angora bunnies, etc.! It’s hard not to when you are so immersed in the fiber world. I have considered raising an angora bunny or two but they do require lots of grooming so I continue hold off until my younger two children are a little older and can even help out with them. It is certainly fun to daydream about though isn’t it?! 

Me:  If you had to pick only one yarn to knit with for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Cynthia:  This is a fun question to answer! It would certainly have to be some sort of wool as I do love wool. Maybe a blend of merino for the softness and BFL for the strength and luster. It would probably also have to be in worsted weight because that seems to be my go to weight of yarn when I knit. 

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Cynthia is generously offering free shipping to all My Bit of Earth readers for the entire month of September.  (It's time to start planning that Christmas knitting, folks, so this is a good deal!)  Just enter the code MYBITOFEARTH on either the stand alone Brambleberry Yarns site or at the Brambleberry Yarns Etsy store.