Hello dear readers! Today I’d like to introduce you to Hadeel al-Massari, who has recently opened her own yarn-dyeing business – Fandom Fiber Company. As the name suggests, she dyes yarn based on stories she’s loved, from tv shows to books to movies.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Oh man, the hardest question! I told myself that I would stop doing to cop-out I feel like a lot of creative women do where they start off with “I’m not that interesting” because that’s literally never the case.
I live in Seattle, I’m (slowly) learning how to code, and I’m an indie yarn dyer! I’ve been knitting and sewing since high school and I cosplay a LOT. I’m a huge anime and video game nerd and I even worked at Nintendo for awhile.
How long have you been dyeing yarn? How did you get started?
I started playing with some basic dye techniques over the summer after buying some yarn for a project online only to see that it was a completely different (uglier) color in person. It was really expensive and I couldn’t return it, so I had this idea that I’d just overdye it and it worked! I’ve dyed fabric for cosplay before so I wasn’t sure why I didn’t just do that from the get go.
I then got it in my head that I’d dye all the yarn for a sweater I wanted to work on and it just kind of took off from there. A few of my local knitting friends told me I should sell some of overstock and it was a lot more popular than I anticipated, so I was like “What if I did this more?”
What is your favorite part of the yarn dyeing process?
Colorway testing. I have a few inspiration boards on Pinterest that include photography, book covers, and anime stills and I’ll look through them to see what I want to try next. Then it’s a matter of putting the yarn in the pot and breaking out the colors! My “Princess Allura” yarn came from a random experiment where I had paused an episode of Voltron and there were these amazing purples and pinks and I was like “Time to break out the dye pot”. Sometimes I don’t get what I want and sometimes I get something a lot better, but it’s a lot of experimenting and waiting for things to dry to see what they’re going to look like. This is probably not everyone’s process and I’m sure some more established dyers are like “GURL NO” but I’m over here like “gurl yes”. Dyeing yarn is one of the few creative endeavors that REALLY made sense to me.
What gave you the idea to do fandom yarn?
It’s so weird but I think knitters are just naturally already nerdy? I don’t know how that happened, but I’ve NEVER talked to a knitter who didn’t like SOME fandom! Harry Potter seems to be the biggest one (I get it, all those scarves!) but Doctor Who is a close second.
I, somehow, am not a huge part of those fandoms. But I wanted to pay homage to my favorite pieces of media the same way Harry Potter gets love, which was through making special yarn. I see yarn dyeing as a type of fan art, in a way. It’s a way for me to pay tribute to mediums that really touch my heart in the best way I know how.
What made you want to start selling your dyed masterpieces?
Looking at my enormous amount of stock I had created by playing with dye and going “I have…made a mistake here.” It seemed to go really well so I wanted to try the whole etsy store process and dyeing to order. It’s been a learning experience for sure.
What are some fandoms that you have plans to make yarn for?
Right now, I’m working on a sock club (kind of like a subscription service for sock yarn) for the super hilarious podcast “The Adventure Zone”. I also have some Boku No Hero Academia colorways in the works, some Sailor Moon colorways, more Voltron colorways, and a World of Warcraft collection!
What about a fandom/story makes you want to dye yarn for it?
I think it’s just a matter of really liking something. I’ll consume a piece of media and think “I’d really like to play with the colors from this”. And for things like books or podcasts, where there IS no visual representation, I get these ideas in my head about what things look like and when I mix the colors and put them all together and it looks like it did in my head, that’s really cool to me. If a piece of media touches me in that way, I know I want to make something with what it’s given me.
Has anyone created anything with your yarn yet and shared pictures?
So, I’m still a pretty new business and my first string of actual orders just went out in the mail, so I haven’t seen anything yet, but I know I’m gonna freak out when I do. I also told myself I’d take some time to create samples from my work so when I start exhibiting at shows, people know what their projects will look like, to an extent.
What would you like to see people make with your yarn?
ANYTHING. I’ve had people tell me “Oh I don’t knit, but this is cool”. But my dudes, you don’t have to JUST knit. I’ve seen so many cool yarn crafts out there, there’s tons you can do! Anything you want to make with my yarn, do it.
Do you take requests for yarn dyes?
Because my shop is still new, I would definitely be open to suggestions. I live in a tiny apartment so it’s not like I can keep a ton of stock around, but I’m always down for more ideas. If there’s a book or movie or anime you think I’d enjoy, tell me! I’ll probably make yarn for it!