Interview with Misfit Yarns



You might recognize the brand Misfit Yarns from my Cookies and Cream Hat pattern, which is made using the colorway Cookies and Cream in DK by Misfit Yarns. I first discovered Misfit Yarns on Instagram (@misfityarns), and was instantly drawn to the brand's color palettes that range from some of the brightest hues imaginable to more subdued combinations! My personal favorite is (perhaps obviously!) Cookies and Cream, which features a creamy white background with speckles moving from light grey to deep black. It really does remind me of a classic candy bar mixed with an Oreo cookie!

The Cookies and Cream Hat, with a beginner-friendly crochet pattern available here

What you may not know, however, is that Misfit Yarns is a one-woman operation led by Michele! Michele is one of the kindest independent dyers I've worked with, and I am so excited to share our conversation about her yarn-dyeing business with you!

How did Misfit Yarns get started?

Misfit Yarns started in 2007(!) when I learned how to spin yarn and wanted to dye my own roving colors. I was also really into processing my own fiber (washing the fleece, carding the fleece, etc.) so I wanted to have complete control over my color choices. I started selling handspun and hand dyed yarns on Etsy as a hobby and it became a very part-time endeavor when I was able to devote the time and energy to it. Misfit Yarns went on an on again/off again hiatus between 2012-2018. I revived Misfit Yarns as a more consistent part-time endeavor in the middle of 2018. I was starting my doctoral studies in a part time 2-year program and because I wasn't working full time, it provided an opportunity to rebrand into commercial hand dyed yarn.

Why did you want to create hand-dyed yarns?

Again, it came out of wanting to control the colors I wanted to spin and create with handspun yarns. This evolved into using prespun, commercial yarns and the motivation from all of the indie dyers that have emerged over the years. I really enjoy dyeing yarn and wanted it to become a more consistent part of my life, even though I'm operating out of a tiny kitchen. 

I've never dyed yarn, but I imagine there's a lot of steps and planning that goes into it! (Color selection? Washing the yarns? Drying time? It must be a ton!) What does a typical yarn-dyeing day look like for you?

When I dye yarn, I don't always have a plan in mind. When I do, it's usually the turn of the seasons or an inspiration that pops up. With this current batch of fall and Halloween yarns, I came in with a plan to use fall and Halloween colors and go from there. I usually take notes (or forget and have to remember later) during the dye process to be able to recreate it to the best of my ability later. I mostly dye protein fibers - which are animal fibers. The dyes used for protein fibers are acid dyes. The acid I use to set the dye is citric acid - so nothing too serious. Some use vinegar, but with citric acid there's no smell and the powder lasts longer than liquid. Depending on the method, I either tray dye or dye in a pot. For variegated and speckled yarns, I'll use a hotel pan on my stove and add the colors to the yarn after adding citric acid and water to the pans. Depending on the effect, sometimes I add the citric acid later. Once I have finished dyeing, I let the yarn cool and then I rinse it in my washing machine with no agitation and then spin them to get the moisture out. I then hang dry them on a drying rack. After they are dry, I will wind them, photograph them for Etsy and Instagram and tag them. Whew!

How has social media helped your business?

Instagram has really opened up a lot of doors and promotion for the business. I've certainly gotten a fair amount of customers from Instagram and also some from Facebook. It's really fun to be able to interact with customers and potential customers on social media platforms and I'm glad that there's many out there who have found my yarn and feel it's worthy of their yarn craft projects. 

Lastly, what's in the future for Misfit Yarns?

I'm really excited that I was accepted to vend at the Online International Fiber Festival taking place November 9-16. You can find out more info at The first day highlights the American Midwest and I am excited to be representing the region where I grew up and currently live in. If shows open back up again next year or more go virtual, I hope to do more shows next year and continue to grow my brand. I've also been accepted for Virtual Vogue Knitting Live, which is taking place now through October 11! 

A selection of hand-dyed yarn by Michele of Misfit Yarns, all available in the Misfit Yarns Etsy Shop!

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