I was lucky enough to work with Maya of Springtree Road for the Fall Collection. She provided yarn support for Ann Leachman’s sweater Henri, and it was a pretty magical pairing! Learn more about Springtree Road by reading the interview Maya was kind enough to do for us.
1. For those who haven’t heard of Springtree Road before, please give a little background and information about you and your yarn.
Sure! My name is Maya. I’m married, have two kids, and we live near Atlanta, Georgia. I started a blog called Springtree Road with this post in 2009. I used to write bits about my childhood and I’d post pictures that I took around Knoxville, Tennessee, where we lived at that time. Eventually, I started the yarn business and it seemed natural to just keep my company name the same as the blog’s, in honor of my grandparents and their little house on Springtree Road that I loved so. I learned to knit when I was 16, though I didn’t really get into it until much later. I dye more sock yarn than anything else and I lean toward really saturated colors. Though I occasionally do some crazier color combinations, I prefer semi-solids. I love it when I get an email from someone telling me that even though their yarn is a semi-solid, each stitch was exciting in its subtle variation.
2. Why kind of dyes do you use?
All of them! Pretty much any brand of acid dyes you can name, I have some of them.
LOVELY, Rich Colors
3. When did you start dyeing?
In 2009, I had been working at home as a copyeditor for a non-profit for about 4 years when they decided they needed to let go of everyone who didn’t work in the office. I was panicked because I wanted to continue to stay home with my daughter. Most people suggested I look for other editing work, but instead I bought a used spinning wheel, dyes in the primary colors, and 3 pounds of mill end wool and taught myself to dye and spin. I opened an Etsy shop with 10 handspun yarns that July. I did that until my hands couldn’t take it any more, and that’s when I started dyeing millspun yarn. That was in 2011.
4. Are you a one woman show? How many people are on your team?
I’m the only one on the team at the moment, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that my daughter will want to help out eventually – or do her own thing within the business, like carding batts (which she thinks is a fantastic way to spend the afternoon). She’s almost 7 now, so it’ll be a little while. She’s always stealing my yarn and fiber to put in her stash, so I think she might be into the idea when she gets a little older.
5. What inspires your colorways? Their names?
Sometimes colors pop into my head. Or I’ll see something in a movie or on TV that strikes me and I need to translate those colors onto yarn. I also just stand there and look at my jars of dye and wonder what would happen if… But I also think a lot about what colors a person will want to wear day-to-day. I wear a lot of gray and black, but I love little pops of color for accessories. Orange looks terrible near my face, but it’s one of my favorite colors and I like to be able to carry it around with me on a gray winter’s day, so it’s perfect for socks or mittens. The names I choose come from something that catches my eye in a book I’m reading, a lyric to a song I love, or a word that I saw somewhere that just stands out to me. I have a colorway called Cinnabar, which reminds me of a bracelet my mother had when I was little. I once did a colorway called Message to My Girl for a club that is the title of a sweet song by Split Enz (who later became Crowded House) from the 80s. The name for my colorway called Tanis comes from the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, which I was obsessed with when I was a kid and saw it in the theater 23 times.
Cast On Now Please!
6. Where do you spin and dye? Do you have a home studio or an office?
I have room in my home where I keep all the yarn and my needles, etc. Currently I just use it for storage so little paws and fingers can’t get into anything. I’m sure in a few years I’ll get to spend more time in there, and I’m looking forward to that! I end up hefting plastic storage containers up and down the stairs a lot. My husband asked me the other day, “Ummmm, Sweetie? Can these ever go away?” I said, “Yeah, sure, Schmoopy!” knowing full well that I will take those particular containers downstairs, but will just immediately replace them with others holding the next batch of yarn I have to tie up for dyeing. When I do get to spin, it’s on the living room sofa with a movie on or something. I tend to believe that multitasking is a myth, yet I’m constantly trying to do it anyway. I’m hardheaded like that!
7. When you knit and crochet, what projects are you drawn to?
I like small projects, usually with just 1-2 skeins. I really pack a lot into each day – we homeschool, the yarn, and as of April 2012 there’s a baby. I like projects that are easy for me to memorize so that I can whip them out any time and get 15 minutes of knitting in and then put it away until the next time I see a free minute. Since those free minutes don’t come as often as I’d like, I like small projects so I can actually finish something in a timely fashion. I don’t like to have too many WIPs at one time because I forget where I am in the pattern and that makes me procrastinate. But one day, I’m going to knit the shawl of my dreams, which was designed by an indie designer I love and I have it saved on my computer. It’s really big and really detailed and really beautiful – it’s going to take me forever! But I’ll be a happy girl when it’s finished.