Maker Spotlight on Karina Moore•
Posted on August 20 2022
The July T&M Maker Spotlight is on Karina Moore, creator of @louielolayarns in Tasmania. Karina brought Thread & Maple to knitters of Australia and we've developed a long-distance, yet close friendship since :)
Karina not only runs her own LYS, she also dyes an exquisite palette of complimentary tonal and variegated colourways on a range of gorgeous bases, including our fave Merino Silk Yak Fingering which we couldn't resist carrying in our own shop. She's recently had her first release of hand dyed spinning fibre as she continues on her fibre craft journey, learning to spin, weave and crochet.
Karina is a true inspiration for us, as she is a talented creative spirit, skilled businesswoman and local community icon. L&L have been selected as Australia Post's Local Business Hero for 2022! Together with Tracie Millar, we have collaborated on two breast cancer fundraisers, which has been a true highlight for all of us. Karina brought together the Australian fibre arts community to raise over $20,000 for breast cancer research!
We are fortunate and honoured to have connected with Karina has kindly shared some insightful Q&A's with the community.
Q1: What advice would you give to someone starting to learn the dyeing process?
Most definitely it would be to take detailed recipe notes for your colourways. Whilst there's certainly creative value in dyeing just for fun and and by feel (and these can always be one-of-a-kind skeins) - it's often those OOAK colourways that you love the most and want to repeat, but without detailed notes they can be a challenge to replicate.
I think it's also about getting to know your dye pigments intimately. One of the best pieces of advice I received from Hannah of Circus Tonic Handmade who taught me how to dye, was to stick with one dye brand and get to know how the strength and properties of each dye. Every pigment will have it's own concentration and special properties. Some will be more granular and others more powder like. Some will be more concentrated and others easy to 'break', whilst others not so much. It's about getting to know how each of your pigments will behave and which ones will be better for certain dyeing techniques such as speckling. Developing an intimate understanding of your dye pigments will help in developing new colourways and achieving the results you are after.
I think it's about having fun and developing your own dyeing style & colour palette. Dyeing what you love and what you are proud of is also important - you can't be everything to everyone, so getting to understand your own style is important and will bring you more creative fulfillment.
Also appreciating that it's a creative journey, that there will be mistakes and that you'll evolve and change over time. I look back now at some of my earlier colourways and ask myself 'what was I thinking' - but we all start somewhere and it's only through learning and spending time on developing our craft that we can later step back and appreciate the evolution in your own work and dyeing style.
Q2: What do you find most rewarding about running your own business?
I would say a couple of things.
Firstly, it would be having the freedom to set my own creative direction and establish business processes that work best for myself and my customers - such as having fortnightly shop updates where I focus on dyeing up a complementary palette on one main yarn base, alternated with yarn club dyeing and dyed to orders.
The other would be developing friendships and gettting to know customers, suppliers and others in the fibre community. Given how passionate we all are about our crafting and the fact that we're located all over the world and what we've been through over the pandemic - having the opportunity to make online connections in the fibre arts interaction is more importrant now than ever. Despite living and working from home in North West Tasmania, it's great to feel more connected than ever with our community and hearing that our yarns have brought enjoyment to people's projects and crafting is definitely the best part of being an indie dyer for me.
Q3: What has been the biggest challenge for you and how have you tackled it?
Trying (and failing) to teach my partner how to skein yarn, LOL! Let's just say we gave up on that idea after a few weeks!
Actually it was probably convincing him to let me take the plunge of quitting my full time job - to being self-employed and focusing 100% on Louie & Lola Yarns, but we got there in the end!
It has also been learning to balance the demands of a small business with also setting aside 'off' time for myself. When you work from home it can be all too easy to let your business take over your entire life, as there's something to be done - your to-do list is always there.
I guess particularly in the early years when trying to build the business and get into a routine, my biggest challenge was learning to manage my time effectively - whilst also ensuring I set aside 'creative play time' in the dye pots and also time for my own personal crafting projects.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us, Karina! We’re so happy to have had the opportunity to get to know you and work with you, you’re a true inspiration!
Stay tuned for next month’s edition of Maker Spotlight! Meanwhile, check the L&L blog for our Q&A in reverse with Karina, where she turned the spotlight back onto us!
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