I can’t remember exactly when I first encountered the work of master hand dyer Karida Collins. Karida lives and works in Baltimore, where she founded Neighborhood Fiber Company in 2006.
I think the first skein I ever saw was in my local yarn store. I was drawn in by a selection of Neighborhood Fiber Company’s Studio Worsted yarn, in colors that were clearly hand-dyed, but still felt right for a city wardrobe: jewel tones, saturated reds, blues and greens, and neutrals that didn’t read “neutral” at all. Karida’s dyeing style can take a classic shade—charcoal, for example—and make it come alive in a radiant gray-dient.
Karida Collins’s astonishing take on kid mohair + silk: Loft.
We got some Neighborhood Fiber Company yarn in the MDK Shop as soon as we could, starting with Loft, Karida’s astonishing hand-dyed version of a classic kid mohair and silk blend. We originally brought it in for Ann Weaver’s Sommerfeld Shawl in MDK Field Guide No. 4: Log Cabin, but started carrying it by the skein when we realized that—hello!— knitters would enjoy mixing and matching from this palette themselves. Next, we brought in NFC’s Studio Chunky, a soft rope of a yarn in glazed colors that look baked on, perfect for Thea Colman’s Slip-Stitch Cap in MDK Field Guide No. 8: Merry Making.
Past is Prologue
With the publication of MDK Field Guide No. 11, the world’s handiest mini-manual on making socks, we saw the chance to bring a completely different style of Karida’s dyeing into the MDK Shop.
The colors of Neighborhood Fiber Company’s Studio Sock will never remind anyone of sensible shoes or flannel suits. These yarns are wild and vivid, whether they take their inspiration from an artist, a mood, or a Baltimore street.
Alice Gadzinsky (Kay’s fave).
There is strength in numbers, and in twist. Where other sock yarns blend in silk or nylon to add the durability needed for wool that will be walked on, Studio Sock’s solution is to combine 4 double plies of yarn.
Karida herself is a bright light in both the knitting and dyeing worlds, and an inspiring community leader. To learn more about her, good places to start are this piece in the Baltimore Sun, and her interview with Miriam Felton on the Yarn Stories podcast.
And to experience Karida’s exhilarating ways with color through your knitting needles, get yourself a skein of Studio Sock and have a good time.