Shellie has been knitting for years and for a number of years was the lead designer at Shibui Knits. She has designed so many gorgeous, timeless garments and accessories. Recently she found she was ready for new challenges and began playing with colors and dyeing yarn. And WOW, her colors are just stunning!
I was honored when Shellie reached out to me about her new yarns and when asked my favorite colors (which you all know is purple), she dyed up some stunners in each of her bases for me to play around and swatch. Not only was the colorway just gorgeous but her selected bases are so yummy!
Working on this collaboration with Shellie has been wonderful and I have so enjoyed getting to know her better. And thought you would too - so here is a short Q&A Shellie & I had.
Many of us know you as a knitwear designer, but recently you have also begun to dye yarn and other fabulous things. Can you share more about what inspired this new journey?
I've designed a few pieces using Heather of Sew Happy Jane's yarn and completely fell in love with her yarn. In February of 2022, she offered a couple of dyeing classes - one on dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid and the other was ice dyeing. Those two classes opened up a whole new creative world for me. It reminded me how much I love playing with color. I instantly jumped in with both feet and started dyeing everything in sight. Adding the yarn dyeing to my design work has been amazing and has created such a great balance. I love being able to see a color I want to design with, dye the yarn and start working on the design the next day. It's truly amazing. I'm still doing some ice dyeing as well. I'm dyeing over 100 napkins for my niece's wedding in December.
Where do you find your inspiration for your color ways?
Everywhere! TV - Ibiza was inspired by Tourmaline's hair on Carnival Row. Nail polish - I just created 5 new colorways matching nail polish colors. I'm also into floral photography, so I get a lot of inspiration from that. I took a ton of photos of hydrangeas at the beach last weekend and will be playing with some of those colors. Several of my new colors have been inspired by the combination of colors in my hand-painted yarns. My Fire! Collection is a prime example of that. I loved the way 'Treuse, Chili and Hottie played together.
Would you share a bit about the bases used in the Duchess Shawl? And a little bit about your other bases?
You used Finito Fingering held with Mohair Silk Lace. Finito (of the very best kind) is one of my newest bases and I am truly in love. It is 100% superwash merino and has a micron count of 19.5, which makes it very close to that of cashmere, which makes it so incredibly soft. It absorbs color intensely so I can get rich, vibrant colors. It also offers an amazing drape and crisp stitch definition. I will be bringing in the DK version and probably the sock version later this fall.
I'm sure many of you are familiar with Mohair Silk Lace. One of my all-time favorites. I love it for the softness it adds to knitted fabric, as well as the color vibrancy and I particularly love how the mohair and silk absorb colors differently, giving the yarn an added interesting depth.
I have several new bases coming this next year and I am truly smitten with Suri alpaca, so be on the lookout for lots of that base in a few different weights.
What’s coming for Shel Designs for the rest of 2023?
I have a trunk show in Hood River, OR this week at Knot Another Hat that I am really looking forward to, I have one more collaboration with Laura of My Tomato Moon in October that I am super excited about, and possibly another trunk show at Knotty Lamb here in Forest Grove. I'm starting to work on a really big project for 2024 that I've been wanting to do for a while. Mum's the word on that for now. AND... I will be dyeing wedding napkins!!!
When dyeing yarn, what do you listen to? (Book, music, podcast, tv show, etc??)
Sometimes nothing. Sometimes I just enjoy the quiet. Other times it's music. I have to have a little dance with my corgi Bentley first though. He comes running when I put the tunes on.
Any new designs we should be ready for coming soon from you?
Watch for a top-down version and a cardigan version of Foster, and I have two new designs in my collaboration with Laura of My Tomato Moon. And so many more to come.
What’s your beverage(s) of choice when knitting or crocheting?
I usually enjoy a nice cup of tea or coffee.
Anything else you wish to share?
I would just like to share how grateful I am that you agreed to design with my yarn and how grateful I am to be able to get to know you. I'm really looking forward to collaborating with you in the future and am super excited to see what we come up with.
Awwww...same to you Shellie! It's been so fun getting to know you and I can't wait to see what more we cook up!!
Be sure to check out Shellie's patterns and yarns on her website: sheldesigns.net
And you can grab a copy of Violet Duchess HERE.