Meet the Dyer: Rachel Bratcher | Ritual Dyes

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The weekend of November 11th we will be hosting a special Pop-Up Shop with the beautiful yarns from Ritual Dyes, a hand-dyed yarn company from Portland, Oregon.

In an industry where new indie dyers seem to be popping up every week, Rachel Bratcher’s work truly stands out with a fresh, strong point of view. Whenever I see a photo of her yarn on Instagram, I instantly know it’s from Ritual Dyes.

I am most definitely a creature of habit and love all my little rituals. To me, knitting and creating are part of my personal rituals. I love the idea of alchemy and what comes out of my cauldron and into your hands. To me that exchange is a ritual in itself.

~Rachel Bratcher, Ritual Dyes

We asked  Rachel to visit us on the blog before the big event so we could get to know a little more about her and her magical yarns.  Enjoy!

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When you were little, what did you want to be? Are there any activities or aspects of this you still enjoy as an adult?

I always wanted to work in fashion. There are aspects of that industry that don’t appeal to me now, but I still have the desire to tailor things to my own personal taste. Dyeing allows me to create fabric. Or help create it? So, when I am dyeing, I am constantly thinking forward to what it will actually look like knit up- is it interesting, wearable, unique, etc. Finished garments and how colors work together are a big part of my process.

Tell us about the very first time you dyed yarn.

I was searching for the perfect grey and I could not find it! They all looked blue and I wanted a warm one. So I gave it a try and was pretty pleased with the result.

How did you go from that to creating your company?

I started to feel like it was something I could really do. I was able to envision how I wanted it and I began with just 8 colors. These were the colors that I used over and over again and always came back to, so I knew they were keepers.

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Queen of Cups

What does the name of your business, Ritual Dyes, mean to you?  

I am most definitely a creature of habit and love all my little rituals. To me, knitting and creating are part of my personal rituals. I love the idea of alchemy and what comes out of my cauldron and into your hands. To me that exchange is a ritual in itself.

Why do you play with color and yarn?  What does it do for your soul?

It is a personal expression and one that I love. It is absolutely a creative outlet and the ever changing nature of it is inspiring and motivating to me.

Tell us a little bit about the yarns you plan to bring to Stash for our event. Any current favorite bases or colorways?

I’ll be bringing my favorite bases that I began with along with a new base, FAE, which is a  kidsilk mohair. It is scrumptious and decadent, and takes color beautifully. I have some new colorways that I am really excited about and one that I put together especially for our event!

Ritual_Dyes_FAE_Stash

Any patterns you’d recommend for people to use with this yarn?

I think the colorways I create are really compatible with one another and it lends itself well to most all the Fade patterns out there right now. With this season, I’d love to see some DK Sweaters like Andrea Mowry’s Comfort Fade Cardi or Whitehorse sweaters from Boyland Knitworks.

What is the best part of this knitting & yarn community?

The warmth! I’m not sure there is another industry out there that is so supportive and kind. I feel like there is a lot of room and appreciation for artistry and individuality.

Where do you see your business heading in the next couple of years?

I have so many plans!! Really, there are many new and exciting projects in the making that I can’t quite share yet! But lots of new products and collaborations. I can’t stop, won’t stop!

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What’s a typical work day look like for you?

It all starts with coffee, obviously. I like to have a few solid dye days where that is basically all that I do on those days and other days where I skein and label and do no dyeing at all. Or just selfish dyeing!

How do you try to balance work and personal knitting goals?

Oh man dyeing has cut into my knitting time!! At this point, the dyeing just really comes first. Knitting has been limited to car trips, times I have to wait around, evenings and coffee dates. I need to find more balance there!

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Rope the Moon Shawl + kit

What’s the best part about owning your own business?

I think the best part is really just taking it exactly where I want it. I have such a strong point of view, and altering that to fit someone else’s vision has always been a challenge for me.

The most challenging?

Just knowing that there is never enough time to do all the things I want to do!

What are some of your other creative outlets in life?

I love drawing and doing special projects with my littles. I have a pretty nice collection of Japanese sewing books going, and I love to sew from those.

What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?

Knitting!

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What are your non-negotiables?

I refuse to give up car knitting. My husband knows the drill, he is driving. Always!!

Who do you most trust to tell you the truth?

My kids will always tell me the truth. Their truth! But so much in this world is subjective, I think you’ve got to go with your gut.

Any tattoos? If so, what inspired you to get your favorite tattoo?

Sonia!! I’ve got planzzzzz.

What’s your current mantra?

Make the time.

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What is your favorite thing about Autumn?

The leaves in the PNW are kind of amazing. I grew up in Southern California with little distinction between seasons, so I am easily impressed.

What would be your fantasy animal mash-up?

I am going to have to go with an angora rabbit – dog. Then all the crazy shedding my dog does would not be for nothing.

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If all of your weekend plans suddenly got cancelled, how would you spend your days?

We’d pack up and go for a hike. Wait, that often IS our weekend plan!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Thanks for the opportunity to hang out in your sweet shop! I am looking forward to meeting people and squishing yarn together.


Thank you for sharing, Rachel!

You can come to the shop and meet Rachel on Saturday, November 11th. She’ll be at the shop with her yarns – including one she dyed up special for this event – from 10am to 1pm.  Can’t make that window?  Don’t worry about it! Rachel will be entrusting us with her Ritual Dyes stash for the whole following week!

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