Dyer Interview: Iris Schreier from ArtYarns
Artyarns = Created by Hand = Works of Art
Hi NobleKnitters! It's KnitDocDonna and today we'll be spending time with one of my favorite artists and hand painter of luxury fiber...Iris Schreier, who is the face behind the company name, Artyarns!
The Gold Standard
Artyarns is a purveyor of hand painted yarns of every hue imaginable, created from truly luxurious fibers spun in Italian Mills. Creations with cashmere, fine merino and silk, studded with crystals and pearls, or sublimely simple, they are the gold standard to which other dyers aspire.
I wanted to know more about how these fabulous fibers are created and I'm betting you do too!
Quality/Hand & Drape
KnitDocDonna: You are really well known for your quality. How do you choose what fibers are used for the finished product and why does it make a difference (i.e. how do you get your merino to feel like butter )?
Iris: We source our Merino and Cashmere from Italy, where the master spinners have been spinning yarns for generations in family owned mills. Our silks and mohair come from Japan, where we find spinning with the best consistency. With high quality you will find good hand and drape, no itchiness whatsoever. Trust me when you purchase our yarn and start knitting with it, you will have no regrets about the yarn purchase. Our philosophy is that you spend so much time with your yarn, and therefore it should be of the highest possible quality and best materials, for the most successful outcome. There are no synthetics whatsoever in our yarns with very few exceptions. Our Merino Cloud feels like butter because we use the same mill that makes our cashmere (butter-soft) to make this yarn, and the cashmere is so super-soft that it creates a lovely softness to the yarn. Actually, all our yarns are incredibly soft, shiny and wonderful to the touch.
Improves With Age
KnitDocDonna: During one of our conversations about Merino Cloud you mentioned that Merino Cloud is somewhat like a string of pearls, as it improves with age and being worn next to the skin. Could you talk a little about that? What can our knitters expect from their projects after a few wearings?
Iris: Merino Cloud develops a slight halo even though it wears like iron. It becomes even softer with wearing, and I recommend making items that you wear directly on the skin. It definitely gets better with age - you can use it to make a sweater that will become your favorite.
Watercolors, Beading & Pearls
KnitDocDonna: Your colorways are exceptional. They blend like watercolors. How do you get your inspiration for the color combinations and why do they flow so beautifully. And ............how do you string those crystals and pearls?
Iris: This is a tough one. I am inspired by so many different things - nature (many of our highlight colors are inspired by colors you see together in nature) artist (our Impressionist collection has some incredible multis). Every summer we visit Florence for the biggest yarn buying show and I am always inspired by various commercial designer palettes to create multis. Color 193 comes to mind since it was developed based on Pucci garments. Color 1025 and 1026 were based on Chanel designs.
Artyarns plies their own yarns with glitter, beads, and beads and sequins using some proprietary machinery which joins and twists the yarns. Elliot ( Iri's husband) is an engineer by trade and he has created and adjusted existing equipment so that it can do that right in our factory. We have lots of flexibility with embellished yarns since they are all created right here in White Plains.
Little Known Facts
KnitDocDonna: Anything else you would like our readers to know. Maybe a little known fact about you...what do you think?
Iris: My knitting career started later in life. I had no idea previously but discovered after opening our business (Artyarns has been in business for 11-12 years), that my paternal Great Grandmother had a yarn shop and taught knitting. My Maternal Grandmother was a skilled couturier who designed one-of-a-kind dresses, and as long as I remember she had ladies lined up outside her apartment for fittings. So knitting and designing are in my blood, and come to me rather easily!
My thanks to Iris for graciously sharing her expertise and artistry with us!
So, stay tuned and Happy Knitting!
- Donna, your friendly Knitting Doctor