Happy Sunday! It is that time of the month where I have the pleasure of featuring another wonderful indie dyer. This month we are chatting with Ruataniwha Dye Studio! Who wouldn't want to know more about a company that describes themselves as~
"Ruataniwha Dye Studio is the colour collaboration between two New Zealanders, one a yarn enthusiast the other a chemist! We currently hand-dye yarn in central Tokyo, Japan and specialise in providing quality New Zealand and British-sourced yarns for unique knitting and crochet projects."
When did you start your business?
Duncan and I began Ruataniwha Dye Studio in 2015, but it had been ruminating away quietly for some time before then. (Note: the ‘wh’ in ruataniwha is pronounced like an ‘f’ or the ‘ph’ in Steph ‘roo-ah-tuni- far’). Ruataniwha literally means two taniwha’s, where a taniwha is a prevalent creature in New Zealand Maori lore and they are often thought to protect bodies of water and the people who reside by them from nefarious influences. It’s also the name of the inlet neighbouring my parents’ sheep farm in New Zealand where I grew up.
What inspired you to dye yarn and what inspires your colors?
Most of our shades are inspired by nature or the feelings of wonder that our environment holds. We both love hiking and being outdoors and are both fascinated with plant-life, geology and birds, in particular. Duncan especially enjoys mapping our outdoor excursions with photographs of the mineral depositions in rocks, tree-clinging lichens, and the various creepy crawlies we encounter. In all these photographs and his collections of rocks, plants, and insects, I saw beautiful shades that I wanted to knit with and so we began transferring some of these colours onto yarn.
Other shades are inspired in a much more whimsical way, by my feelings about certain happenings or associations in my personal sphere, while Duncan has a greater hand in designing the brighter colours that frequently adorn our sock yarn owing to his status as Ruataniwha Dye Studio’s Preeminent Hand-Knit Sock Wearer.
We tend to favour more semi-solid and tonal shades, varying from pastels and muted tones through to rich, layered colours. We do step out a bit more with our sock yarn range, occasionally playing with a touch of speckling and light variegation because for socks, we like to have a bit more fun!
How about a little about you?
Both of us are academic scientists and have moved a lot over the last 10 years, from our native New Zealand, to the UK, Germany and now Japan. I’ve been knitting for many years, learning as a child and becoming inspired to knit more earnestly while living in Leeds, UK with its rich textile history. I equate knitting and having my hands full of yarn with feeling ‘at home’ wherever we happen to be. For the longest time, Tokyo was too big and too busy to really feel like home, but taking yarn, infusing it with colour, and drawing upon our collective scientific training to do so gave me the feeling that I’d finally arrived. I find dyeing yarn to be both joyful and restorative and those are the sentiments I hope our yarn carries along with them to their final destinations.
Where do you see yourself and the business in 5 years?
Rolling stones that we’ve been, we’re now hoping to gather a bit of moss over the next few years! I’d certainly still love to be transferring the beauty of the natural world onto yarn and to be able to spend more time doing it. One of our core philosophies is that sustainability and traceability in business practices are maintained to protect our environment. All of our yarns are entirely traceable and from ethical, sustainable sources, meaning for the most part, we know the farms where the sheep were raised, the scourers and the spinners, all those involved in the process, and can attest that no animals or people were exploited or ill-treated to make our products. I’d like to build on this foundation in the future and further reduce our footprint by looking to non-superwash and nylon-free sock alternatives, for example.
I like to throw in some fun questions at the end of these chats so I asked Steph:
Your favorite dessert?
Lemon meringue pie (with a biscuit base not a pastry crust).
Good choice...it is one of my favorites as well. :)
Wasn't it a pleasure to meet Ruataniwha Dye Studio's. Each month it bring me such joy to "meet" and learn more about the talented artists in the fabulous community we create in. I am currently knitting a pair of socks in Ruataniwha Dye Studio's Merino yarn in the color Coral, you may remember this picture from last week. The pattern I am knitting is Wildflowers & Honeycombs- which I happen to think goes perfectly with this gorgeous Spring color.
I was hoping to be further along on these socks, but some weeks don't allow for much knitting. Trust me when I saw it is a pleasure knitting with this stunning yarn. I will be stocking up on all the beautiful yarns from this amazing dyer!
Why not stock up and add some of the beauties to your stash, especially as Ruataniwha Dye Studio has offered the most generous of discount codes for all of you- use Andi17 to get 10% off your cart until June 1st 2017.
Thank you so much to Steph for visiting me and allowing me to share my love for Ruataniwha!
Have the best day today and to all the wonderful mothers out there~ Happy Mother's Day!