Yarn Alchemist Spotlight Series: Andrea Mowry

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The Yarn Alchemist Spotlight series on the Aroha Knits blog was started up by Ash Christine. She wanted to use the Aroha Knits platform as a way to shine a light on the hidden gems in the community and give them the opportunity to share their story.

 Andrea Mowry of DreaReneeKnits

Andrea Mowry of DreaReneeKnits

1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in knitting

Hi there! My name is Andrea Mowry and I design knitwear under the name DreaReneeKnits! I was born and raised in Michigan, and returned with my husband to raise our family here. We have a daughter—Olive, Son—Levi, and little pup—Fargo. I consider myself so lucky to have learned how to knit from my grandma, when I was about 9 years old. She planted the seed all those years ago, and I am grateful everyday! I came back to knitting as a teenager, and haven't set the needles down since!

2. What type of Fibre Muse are you?

This was tough! It is so hard to only pick one answer for each question. But apparently I am a Mystic Fibre Muse :)

3. What first inspired you to start designing your own patterns?

 Comfort Fade Cardi

Comfort Fade Cardi

When I really jumped into knitting full on, it was pre-Ravelry and the main books in my knitting library were by Elizabeth Zimmerman (one of my heroes!). She really empowers the knitter to just find their gauge and knit. So I started off by creating my own patterns, with the help of her recipes and guidance. When I left my job as a pastry chef, while pregnant with my first child, I found I finally had the space in my life to get back to designing my own patterns and thought, why not try publishing them to see if anyone else wants to knit them, too! I had so many ideas flying around in my head of knits that I really wanted in my wardrobe, so I just jumped in and went for it!

4. Where do you draw inspiration from in your designs?

I am most often inspired by the yarn I am planning to work with. I believe if we listen, it tells us what it wants to be. So I start there. But I also always try to be present and take in the world around me, as it is full of inspiration—color, texture, style—it's really endless! I'm also drawn in by techniques. So, often if I try something new (ahem, brioche), and I fall in love with it...then I will try to find different ways to manipulate it in my patterns.

5. You have a lot of unique designs available—if you had to pick one technique or project type as your favorite to design, what would you choose?

Right now, I am all about sweaters. I find that is what my mind keeps going to, so if I could only pick one then that would be it! (Followed up closely by shawls, of course).

6. How do you see your work making an impact in the knitting and fibre community?

It's challenging to know how my work will impact the knitting community in the future, but as for right now, I think it has helped draw more people to playing with color and indie dyers, which is really special to me! I love supporting indie dyers, as so many of them are super awesome women supporting their families with their dye business. I am doing the same for my family with my designs, and definitely want to support others in any way that I can! I am also a huge lover of brioche, and have had so much fun introducing other knitters to brioche through my patterns and workshops!

7. What is your favorite part about being a knitwear designer?

KNITTING! I always say I knit all day for work and all night to relax ;) But beyond that, it is absolutely being a part of one of the most kind, genuine, and thoughtful communities ever. Knitters want to support and connect with each other, and they truly are just the nicest people! I feel so, so lucky to be a part of this ever-growing community!

8. What’s in store for the next year of your life and your designs?

This year I am doing a lot of traveling to teach, and I am also trying to make more space for independent design. I love collaborating with other people, but I find that some of my best work comes out of creative freedom. I am really excited to take down any constraints, and just see what flies off of my needles! I've also been trying out some new-to-me yarns from people that I really admire, which is bringing another level of love to my work. As I mentioned earlier, I have sweaters on the brain, so they are at the top of my list, along with playing with new and interesting constructions. Oh—and socks! I am determined to become a sock knitter, as my sock drawer is feeling really sad at the moment!

Where can we find you and your work?

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/dreareneeknits
Website - http://www.dreareneeknits.com/ 
Ravelry shop - https://www.ravelry.com/stores/dreareneeknits


To support Andrea Mowry, I'm going to gift a copy of one of her patterns to a lucky winner! To enter you just need to leave a comment with which design you would love to knit (and perhaps what yarn you'll do it in!) along with your Rav ID and give Andrea a follow on Instagram.

You have until March 23rd, 11:59pm EST to enter! I'll pick and announce the winner right here <3


Holly and Ivy Dyeworks Featurette

Holly and Ivy Dyeworks


Holly and Ivy Dyeworks is helmed by two Fibre Muses: Katrina and Eve!


Katrina was taught how to crochet by her grandmother, when she was only seven years old, “My mother taught me to cross-stitch, and they both helped me learn to sew/quilt. When I was in college, I met Eve and she inspired me to finally teach myself how to knit (something I had wanted to do for quite a long time). So I suppose I could say that I got into the Fibre Arts because my family and friends shared their love and knowledge of it.” 

For Katrina, creating is a natural outpouring of herself, “Like Eve said, I almost can't help it! I have a need to express experience and emotion—and a desire to bring people happiness, specifically, when they see my work. It brings me great joy to see someone pick up my yarn, squeeze it, and smile. At the same time, being a part of the process of creating for someone else is incredibly fulfilling!”

The story behind Holly and Ivy Dye Works is a unique one, “Eve and I take on the dyeing process differently, but both of us share through our yarns. It is fun to talk with my customers about the specific stories behind my yarns.”

Katrina shares an example of a conversation that happened at a recent vending event she worked, “There was a woman who picked up my Writer's Block colorway multiple times. She finally told me that she loved it, but she was a writer and felt that she probably shouldn't purchase it because of the name. 

I was so glad she told me because I was able to share the story behind that colorway: “I was having a creative block while preparing for a Fibre event, and my blue dyes got mixed up. The colorway I thought I was dyeing turned into a different color altogether. When I realized it was messed up, I embraced it and added speckles. There it was! And I was inspired to go on and create two more new colorways afterwards! She then decided that she had to have it for the next time she got Writer's Block, in order to help her come out of it.”


 The Wifty Top - Designed by Francoise Danoy of Aroha Knits using Holly and Ivy Dyeworks yarn.&nbsp;

The Wifty Top - Designed by Francoise Danoy of Aroha Knits using Holly and Ivy Dyeworks yarn. 

Eve has been interested in the Fibre Arts for as long as she can remember, “When I was four, my grandmother taught me how to crochet and my mother showed me how to hand sew. I was always making/creating things, and I was especially drawn to all things fiber related. I began knitting when I was eighteen, and got a job at a knitting shop. I fell in love with the yarn world. At the John C. Campbell Folk School, I took classes in dyeing, spinning, and weaving, which intensified my love of the Fibre Arts. Katrina, my business partner, and I met at college and discovered that we both had a passion for knitting and yarn. Years later we started Holly and Ivy Dyeworks, because of that shared love of color and fiber.” Her creativity for the fibre world is a God-given drive, “I can't help but create, it truly is something I have little control over. There is something intoxicating and so alluring about the Fibre world. The way it combines beauty, color, texture, practicality, and style never ceases to take my breath away. And the craft itself, not just the finished item, is a wonder. Yarn and knitting bring me both peace and passion. I needed to be a part of that world. I love inspiring people to push themselves to create a beautiful craft. That is why I don't just make finished items, I want to be a part of someone else's creative story/process.” 

Holly and Ivy Dyeworks is built upon friendship and a shared passion. “Although Katrina and I have separate yarn lines in the business (hers being Ivy and mine being Holly), and are inspired by different things, we feed off of each other's drive and love of color and fibre. I tell the stories of my life through my colorways: Gatlinburg October, Mississippi Storm, Stratford Hillside, etc. I dye the colors into my yarn that flit across my mind when I think of my past and the places I've been. Our yarns are created from both a place of artistic inspiration and from personal storytelling.“


Want to win the "Wifty Top" kit? Entering is easy. First, follow Holly and Ivy Dyeworks on Instagram. Next, leave a comment with your Rav ID below answering the question, "What is it about the creation process that brings you joy?" Giveaway is open until March 23rd, 2018 11:59pm EST. The winner will be announced along with the release of Wifty Top next week!

Instagram: www.instagram.com/hollyandivydyeworks/






Making has been a part of my life for as long as I remember. My parents always encouraged creative pursuits. Sewing—quilts in particular— was my first fiber craft. I made my first quilt when I was 8 years old (with lots of help from my Mamaw and my Dad!), and from there I sewed, off and on, throughout my life, but mostly for functional purposes (curtains for the apartments, fixing clothes, hemming thrift store skirt finds into mini skirts, etc.).

Step Outside your Comfort Zone: Knit the Thing that Scares You

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Almost every knitter I know has a “pedestal project,” something that they have been dreaming of making, but they’ve put it off for “some day,” when they have the time/more experience/better skills to make it. For some, it’s a large project like a sweater or even a wedding dress. For others, the pedestal project is more about a particular technique, like double knitting or steeking.

What’s YOUR pedestal project? What’s the item you’ve been wanting to make practically since you learned how to knit, but so far you’ve been afraid to start it for some reason or another?

Sometimes following our own creativity is easy - we get to express ourselves through familiar techniques and comfort-zone projects. Other times, our creativity calls us down a path that’s a little bit scary: learning something new, working on a project that requires endurance or skill, or setting ourselves up to be in a situation where we might fail.

If you only ever follow your creativity to those easy places, eventually it might just leave you behind.

Your creative muse doesn’t want to stay in the comfort zone all the time - sometimes, she wants to stretch her wings and fly a little higher. Are you ready to follow her?

This year, my wish for you is that you feel empowered and confident to follow your creativity wherever it leads.

Maybe that means…

  • Trying a new technique that has seemed too difficult so far.

  • Taking on a project that’s bigger than anything you’ve made before.

  • Finally making that “pedestal project” item that your creative muse has been begging for.

Though it may seem scary, you are not alone! The wonderful thing about the Internet is that it can connect you with knitters all over the world who have already tackled your pedestal project, or something similar. They can help you with Facebook groups, notes in Ravelry projects, forum posts and online chats. You can find the resources you need through classes, books, tutorials, and blog posts.

You can do this. And I’m here to help.

This concept of “pedestal projects” has got to go - we’ve got to feel empowered as knitters to create the things that scare us. The Dreamer Fibre Muse knows this - she knows that her knitting is a primary form of self-expression, and she doesn’t hold herself back just because she needs to learn something new or try something challenging.

That’s why I created the Dreamer Challenge: to inspire the Dreamer muse living inside of YOU, and to support you while you tackle your pedestal projects, one stitch at a time. Sign up below to get free challenge prompts, inspiration, and the support of a community of knitters determined to take the fear out of this hobby and follow their creativity wherever it leads.

Are you up for the challenge? I know you are - I’ll see you inside.


Join the Movement: Create your own Handmade Wardrobe

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Did you know you can follow tags on Instagram now, the way you might follow people? One of my favorites is #HandmadeWardrobe - it’s so inspiring to see people all over the world using their hands to create their own fashion through knitting, crocheting, sewing, and more.

Fashion has been a way for people to express ourselves since we first started making our own garments, but in recent years there has definitely been a strong emphasis on fashion. I love that shows like “Project Runway” allow us to think about fashion as a means of self-expression, and maybe even inspire us to create our own fashion through a handmade wardrobe.

Whether you already have an extensive collection of garments and accessories you’ve made for yourself, or you’re just getting started building your handmade wardrobe, I hope you’ll take some time this year to express yourself and your fashion sense by knitting at least one new item just for yourself.

Will this be the year you finally make that sweater that’s been calling to you from your Ravelry queue?

Maybe it’ll be the year you decide to stop looking for the perfect hat (scarf, top, skirt) on every retail rack, and instead take the steps needed to make one for yourself!

What’s on your fashion bucket list? What would it take to learn how to make one?

If you’ve been thinking about making more clothing or accessories for yourself but you just don’t know where to start, I’m here to help! I want to help you feel confident in your ability to create whatever inspires you, whether you’re making it from an existing pattern or inventing a new one all for yourself. If you need a little creative boost, or the support of a crowd of other Makers cheering you on, sign up below for my Dreamer challenge. We’ll be working together to express ourselves through our knitting, and we’d love to have you along for the journey.


Express Yourself through Color

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“Pink is my signature color.”

  • Shelby, Steel Magnolias

Do you have a signature color? Do you feel that the colors you wear are an expression of your inner self, or do you just grab something out of the closet and go?

Choosing your yarn colors with intention is an excellent way to express yourself through your knitting; and, in turn, to express yourself when you wear those garments and accessories.

Did you know that there is actually a phenomenon known as synesthesia, and that the people who experience this phenomenon often associate colors with personalities or feelings?

You don’t need synesthesia in order to do this for yourself! You can use your own perceptions of colors as a way to guide your yarn choices.

Think about…

  • How you want to feel, in general, this year.

  • Moments when you could use more of a particular emotion (confidence, joy, serenity, etc.).

  • Which aspect of yourself needs a little more attention or nurturing this year?

  • What are your goals for your life this year?

Now - choose a color (or a few) to go with each of the emotions and parts of yourself that you listed in that last step.

When you’re planning out your knitting projects for the year, remember these feelings and colors, and choose projects that will bring the two together.

If you’d like some help, download the attached PDF document to guide you through this planning process!

Remember - you deserve to feel how you want to feel, every day. Your true self deserves to be expressed!

Here’s to a colorful year.