Discovering new yarns is one of the great pleasures of knitting—as is getting to know the people who are giving us this golden age of yarn. We welcome Kim Formica, a shining new talent who in only two years has established a thriving enterprise with Barnyard Knits. We recently checked in with Kim to get to know her a bit better.
Kim and her sons
How did you come up with the name Barnyard Knits for your company? Do you in fact have a barnyard? : )
Originally I had intended to knit small items and sell them. This is the company I chose to name Barnyard Knits. The name came to me literally while I was asleep. I remember jumping up and immediately calling my mom to tell her. She also thought it was a cute name. Now that my mom has passed, I just had to keep the name.
I do not have a barnyard . . . yet.
Have you always lived in New Jersey?
No. I was born and raised in Staten Island, New York, and moved to New Jersey when I was in my early twenties.
How long have you been dyeing yarn?
What led you to explore the art of dyeing?
Barnyard Knits was started just after my mom passed as a way to keep my mind busy. I was just learning how to knit and like I mentioned, was planning on knitting items and selling them. Once my mom passed (she died on her 64th birthday, February 12, from breast cancer), I needed more to keep my mind busy on more than just knitting. Knitting just wasn’t enough. I kept the name Barnyard Knits because it was still a connection I had with my mom. She knew about the name.
Prior to my mom’s passing, I had never even heard the term “indie dyer” before. I had purchased yarn from big box stores and made hats, because that’s all I knew how to make. I spotted indie-dyed yarn on Etsy for the first time probably a month after my mom passed, and I was completely drawn to how you could use yarn as a blank canvas and create whatever colorway I wanted.
It became the perfect way for me to express myself and create the colors I wanted and love. Barnyard Knits was formed and my website was up and running within a couple of weeks.
From where do you draw your inspiration for colorways?
Photos, memories, and just the things I love in life.
What has surprised you the most since you founded Barnyard Knits?
What still surprises me are my customers’ and Instagram followers’ reactions to my colorways. I receive the kindest emails, messages and compliments on my colors, and even after two years dyeing, I’m still humbled by all the compliments.
Do you have a favorite colorway? If so, what is it?
That changes all the time as I dye up new colorways, but some favorites are Stormy Seas, Shoreline, and Amethyst, but I have many.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into hand-dyeing yarn?
A few things come to mind. First I would say to dye what your heart tells you. Dye the colors you love the most regardless of trend. Also, it takes time to find your style in your dyeing. I dye very differently now than I did when I first started. Be patient and don’t be afraid to play with color.
You can follow Kim’s dyeing adventures on Instagram at @barnyardknits. Highly recommended!