It’s hard to believe, when looking at the luscious colors of Alpha B skeins in the store, that Anne Morrow’s first attempt at dyeing ended in disaster. She started dyeing yarn at the encouragement of her knitting group, back in 2009. The first ever Sock Summit was to be held, and Anne thought that she might dye a bit of sock yarn, perhaps sell it at the show. Her first batch came out all wrong — the color was off, the yarn completely felted. But she tried again and again, dyeing batch after batch until she was satisfied.
“I wasn’t sure if I could sell it, if anyone would want to buy it,” she laughed. “I had a Jeep Cherokee, I was meeting some of my knitter friends, and there was a huge box of yarn in the back. I threw open the hatch and asked if they thought anyone might buy it. They were very encouraging.”
At Sock Summit a few weeks later, Knit Purl signed on to be one of her first wholesale accounts. The yarn, named Alpha B, has become one of the most sought-after lines in our store. By pairing luxury fiber blends with strong, clear color and sassy names (“Babydoll,” “Hey Sailor,” and “The World is My Oyster”), Anne has created yarn that is almost as much fun to collect as it is to work with!
Like many who foray into the business of dyeing yarn, Anne is a knitter first and foremost. She learned how to do the basic knit stitches in school as a child, but picked it back up when a friend started knitting. Unlike other dyers, Anne has no artistic background. In fact, she was an accountant before she became a full-time dyer.
“It’s not as complicated as people think. There isn’t that much math involved in my process, it’s more about the color than anything else. I just get an idea and go with it,” she explains. “I try not to take it too seriously. It’s yarn. It’s about having fun.”
Even her yarn lines, like Sexy B and BFF B, create a sense of fun. Skeins in every color imaginable often sell out as soon as they’re brought in—from calm grays like Stainless Steel to bright, happy blues like Teal Me. The joy that Anne gets creating the yarn just might be contagious.
Some of Anne’s favorite local businesses in Portland: