I'm Raya, and I am the working hands behind Blissful Knits & Dyeworks, based here in Portland. My childhood dream was to become a fashion designer; I still have my old notebooks filled with fancy dresses and carefully chosen color schemes. My family encouraged me to study engineering, and I graduated from Portland State University with a computer science degree. Now, as a stay-at-home mom of two boys, m grateful for the opportunity to reinvent myself by integrating my love of color, texture and style with my longtime passion for knitting.
I love the opportunity to interact in person with other knitters, dyers, designers and everyone else who loves the fiber arts. Although I think I have a knack for getting good product images, photographs will never be able to replace the ability to touch the yarn and appreciate the bold and vivid colors in person, or see the intricacy of the color kaleidoscope I achieve with my dyeing. Even when m working with a single color palette, each skein has an amazing full spectrum color distribution.
I employ different hand painting and dyeing techniques, and I favor bright, bold saturated colors, although as I evolve as a fiber artist, my aesthetic keeps changing. Right now my yarn collection features golds, vibrant greens and calming browns, the collection was inspired by the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. Another source of inspiration is my never-ending curiosity; this is where my engineering background shines through as I see dyeing as big science experiment. One of my favorite moments is to watch the yarn soak up the dye at various strengths, the other favorite moment is to take the freshly dried yarn to a big window and explore the color variation.
I dye my yarn in colors that I hope will make people happy. Bubblegum pink meets its match with rich teal and Earthy sepia in my variegated colorway Phoebe. Esmeralda is a rich blend of greens, with a smattering of cobalt and a tease of sunshine. And Discotheque is a medley of green, blues, reds and golds--all the joy of the rainbow, but with a rock-and-roll, grown-up edge. I sometimes sell my work as sets of several complementary skeins to allow knitters and crocheters extra creative freedom.
When it comes to yarn selection I first and foremost select yarns for their softness and durability. Many of my yarns are spun in the US and come from US raised flocks. My main focus is on 100% wools yarns, but I do offer a 50% silk blend as well as a cashmere blend.
I also design knitwear patterns with an emphasis on babies and children. Petite Purls featured my Cascade cardigan pattern in its winter 2010 issue. I also self-published romper, overalls, hat and vest patterns through Ravelry. I have my first multi pattern e-book in the works as well as a new dress design.