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Why I Do What I Do – Musings of a Yarn Dyer

I get asked a lot… How did you get started in the yarn business? What made you think of it? How did you learn to dye yarn, etc?

So here’s the answer, which may surprise you.

I like to think of it as “going with the flow.”

I’ve crocheted since I was 9, but just started knitting a few years ago when I was 27.

I loved it SOOO much that I would sit and knit for hours on end, attempting to be as quick and amazing as the Yarn Harlot, Cat Bordhi, Wendy Johnson and many MANY others.

It was a sad time in my life. I was closed off to life. I held in tons of pain and wasn’t truly living. I felt pretty miserable most of the time and I have only myself to blame. ย I could have chosen differently, but I didn’t. I chose the pain. I chose the suffering. I can see that now.

But back then, I couldn’t see that. I only saw through a murky fog of disillusionment and disappointment.

But I had my newly-found love of knitting. And it gave me so much joy.

I would pour through Ravelry patterns for hours on end. I would read knitting blogs till my eyes raggedly shut at the end of a long day.

I’d knit until my hands screamed with pain. Literally.

I began knitting so much that my wrists gave out one day.

One day while home alone, with nothing else to do, I sat and knit for 10 hours straight, watching Far and Away, I Love Lucy and Little House on the Prairie.

By the end of that, my hands were throbbing with heat and pain. My wrists were shot. My arms were shooting icy hot pain all the way up to my elbow.

I couldn’t type on my computer properly for weeks.

I couldn’t knit.

I was again miserable. The one thing that had brought me joy, was now bringing me pain.

I had taken up spinning as well, but even that hurt my hands.

Frustrated, I ordered in some undyed yarn, bought some kool-aid packets and Wilton cake dyes, and began to dye my own yarn and roving.

It was the only thing I could do with fiber that didn’t make my hands and arms rebel with rage.

And I was in love. All over again. Maybe even more so. My nature loves instant gratification. And seeing the colors pop onto the yarn immediately, was like heaven.

The options were endless.

I could dye up any color I could dream up.

And it didn’t hurt my hands.

And slowly, as my hands healed, I began to make things with them. Little by little.

Fast forward past my divorce and 4,000 mile move to Alaska…

I found myself needing money. (Don’t we all)

I coasted for nearly a year, but I knew my savings wouldn’t last forever.

So one day while reading T. Harv Eker’s Millionaire Mindset, I had one of those “epiphany” things.

I asked myself what I would do everyday if money were no object. And I just knew.

I would have a state-of-the-art yarn dyeing studio in San Diego, California. Huge windows. Vast counters with stainless steel sinks. Rooms full of yarn. Positive, helpful peeps. Maybe someday a physical yarn shop, complete with endless rows of the most beautiful yarn the world had ever seen (I like hyperbole!), coffee shop, fireplace and love.

Why San Diego popped in my head, I do not know. I’m still in Alaska.

So I began dyeing a few shades and listing them on Ebay and Etsy. Got my actual shop up.

wool yarn dyeing

But I was still living in fear. I didn’t want to spend too much on my lil’ biz for fear I wouldn’t make it back.

So I got a job… such wonderful people and such a great job. But I knew it wasn’t my calling. I just had to dye yarn. I just HAD to.

So I quit my job after 7 months and started up yarn dyeing full time.

It was now or never.

Succeed or die! (My dramatic side coming out again).

It was a bumpy road, but little by little, sales began trickling in and then more and then more… And now here we are.

Now that I look back… would I be sitting here today, typing this blog post, telling this story, if I hadn’t experienced that horrendous wrist pain years ago, which forced me to start dyeing yarn?

I don’t know.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Life is funny…I think it’s all about going with the flow.

Listening to the calling of your heart.

Walking on in spite of your fears.

Moving in the direction of your dreams.

Opening up to life and all its possibilities.

I don’t have the big-windowed-stainless-steel-sink studio yet. But I don’t need it.

I’m so content right now. Things are as they should be at this time in life. And I’m blessed. And happy.

Yes, I’ve experienced pain along the way. And fear. And lots of doubt. But I kept walking on. And I can smile at it all now, from a knowing, centered place.

There are ups and downs still yet to come and I’m ready for them.

My hope today is that whatever your dream is, you set your eyes upon it and walk steadily toward it until it’s manifested ย in your life.

I pray you throw off self-doubt and fully embrace who you are. That you love yourself and open up to life… There is so much in store for you.

I’m sending you lots of love right now.

XOXOXO

~Chandi

By | 2017-09-04T14:05:04+00:00 June 27th, 2013|Dyeing Yarn, Inspiration, Life Musings, Yarn Studio|19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Robin Comfort June 27, 2013 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    Thanks…what a terrific story.

  2. Geraldine June 27, 2013 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    I see that you are beautiful inside as well as outside. I drool over your yarns and colors and wish you continued happiness.

  3. Christine Nissley June 27, 2013 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful story Chandi !! I can relate to a lot of things you were talking about. Knitting and designing has helped me get through a lot of sorrow and pain. I found something that I love and will continue until I cannot knit anymore. Just wish I would have found this out when I was younger. ๐Ÿ™‚ And per your advice, I am going to try and dye some yarn very soon. Thank you for your beautiful work and talent !!

  4. Carol Gough June 27, 2013 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    Not only are you an incredible yarn dyer, you are an amazing writer! So articulate and inspirational too. ๐Ÿ™‚ And the photos are to die for!

  5. Kymber June 27, 2013 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    Thank you, this is so helpful. I am at a crossroad in life myself right now and am trying to figure out what to do with myself, thankfully I have an amazing husband who is very supportive. Since crafts have always been a part of my life, I turned to them when I needed a distraction. Over the last few years I have spent a lot of time in doctors offices and hospitals due to some severe chronic gastric issues, I’ve always had stomach problems but over the last 6 or 7 years they have become debilitating and I have to rely on my family to care for me a lot. This has left me feeling like a burden, so I have been searching for ways to distract myself that are portable and allow me to feel useful. Your yarns have restarted my love for crochet and given me the courage to share my projects and the confidence to actually try following patterns as well as actually creating my very first pattern. I am creating the most beautiful scarf, inspired by your peacock dewdrop. I really am thankful that I stumbled onto your site, you are such an inspiration to all of us!!!

  6. ADELE June 28, 2013 at 12:18 am - Reply

    I was very impressed with you and how you made your life better and found happiness. I am very happy for you and wish you the very best. I started to take up knitting when I lost someone very close to me. gOOD LUCK!

  7. VJ June 28, 2013 at 1:04 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story, but thank you even more for your prayers. I needed to read this as I’m about to take that leap of faith to do the thing I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.

  8. Lona Yackel Walker June 28, 2013 at 1:58 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story. I was diagnosed with RSDS after a botched hand surgery. I was unable to grip a hook or stand the touch of the yarn for nearly 10 years. I finally got mad and did my own rehab to suit my needs. Then I set out to learn to handle a hook again. Best choice I made in dealing with the “unexpected outcome”. I still feel the pain in my hand, but the peace in my mind is so worth it! Keep up the beautiful work. You are so very talented.

  9. Denise June 28, 2013 at 2:15 am - Reply

    It takes a lot of grit to write a personal story. And what a wonderful story it is! There’s so much inspiration here. Thank you, Chandi!

  10. Connie June 28, 2013 at 2:56 am - Reply

    Wow, what. A story, it could be my story, I quit my job in Feb. And haven’t been lucky in the job search. You set a good example to a lot of people.

  11. Dorothy June 28, 2013 at 3:48 am - Reply

    Oh Chandi, you have no idea how your story has inspired me in my heart of hearts. I am still at the stage of life where, I am past the pain in the hands from knitting all day cuz I am trying to get past a relationship that wasn’t right for me, but I felt I “loved” the man. (for ten years! on weekends only, lol) And I am questioning every aspect of my life… my work, my house, my location…. And you are in Alaska… 4000 miles away. How did you get there. I think you should tell us more of your life story. And T. Harv Eker.. I read a little of his stuff. but is that book really good? tell us more on your thoughts. I watch for what you are doing on facebook with anticipation every day. you are so enthusiastic… I love how you embrace life. Keep doing what you are doing… cuz it is so awesome, and your heart is truly beautiful. And I’m sorry you’ve had the pain of divorce… but you would never be who you are without sharing your pain with the world. Loves and hugs, Dorothy

  12. Maria June 28, 2013 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    As always, Chandi, you are such an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Much love,
    Maria

  13. Connie Ball June 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    I am so happy for you that you found your “passion” ; there are people who live a whole lifetime without realizing the “gift” that you have found.
    I have learned a long time ago, that “life isn’t fair” , the only thing that we can do is change our attitude, especially with all the unnecessary challenges that are thrown at us, especially health concerns..I thought if I was “miserable” to be around, even if I was in a lot of pain, that my friends would not want to be around me as I would be “emotionally draining”…It is not any person’s fault and I wanted to focus on “enjoying” our time together, rather than having a “pity-party” , especially if laughter is involved… that results in wonderful memories you can look back on in tough times.

  14. renee July 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story with all of us. It takes a strong person to pick up and rebuild and an even stronger one to be so open about it. Keep up the great work. As I read the posts under yours I think it is obvious you were put on earth for more than “just” spinning yarn. Keep spinning, keep inspiring!

  15. TerryLee July 5, 2013 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    Chandi

    What a truly amazing story, it is sad that we have to go so deep, to find our way back. It is such a hurtful place and a depressed place, you are a truly remarkable person and you inspire people to do their best. God bless you, you are a wonderful person. Thank- you for your story, here are some prayers and happy thoughts for you. I am having a problem signing up for July’s Hat box, it won’t let me enter. Thanks love a fan.

  16. Jennifer July 6, 2013 at 2:30 am - Reply

    Wow. What an amazing story! I loved reading it and am glad you shared. I just learned a couple valuable lessons that will probably change my life and my attitude. You’re like Oprah only better; you love yarn. How does it feel to be a motivator to so many? I can relate. I have lived through a life riddled with pain confusion and self-doubt, depression, you name it. Glad to see one more thing we share from someone I admire. Thank you again for sharing, my friend.

  17. Sue August 29, 2013 at 5:01 am - Reply

    All I can say is WOW CHANDI … I have never read this before, and I am totally amazed at how you came from where you were to where you are now. In the latest contest (Aug 28, 2013) I spoke to you about your yarn and colors and comments coming from a deep place of love and could be felt in my heart through your colors and your words. And in this post about how dying came about, you actually type the words that speak to ones heart. Like I said I have never read this.. but through your colors of your yarn and your words to explain them I always felt deep love coming from you through your yarn to me.. I am not sure how to explain what i feel when i read your posts and see your colors except “LOVE” that comes shining through like a ray of beautiful unending light. Thank you so much for being you <3 And thank you for the love you share through your beautiful colors and words about your colors that brighten my every day <3

  18. sandra July 4, 2014 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing. I needed to read that right now!

  19. Kathllen November 21, 2015 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    Great inspirational story !! Thank you for sharing it !!

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