We sat down with Dawn from Ozifarmer’s Market to get to know her a bit better. It’s great to learn about a dyer and who’s behind some of our favorite FOs! And make sure you read our review of Ozifarmer’s Yarn as well.
Tell us a bit more about yourself
I was born in Scotland and emigrated to Australia, with my family, as a young child. I married a farmer and we have two daughters and five grandchildren. In December 2018, due to health issues for both of us, we sold the farm and made the change to a lovely place called Lakes Entrance, by the sea in eastern Victoria. We like to keep to ourselves most of the time but I love to get together with other craft minded people, both in-person and on-line. After spending half my life on the farm and my husband being there from the day he was born we are still struggling to adjust to life without our cows and having neighbours so close is definitely a challenge. Luckily they are all good neighbours who keep pretty much to themselves but looking out my window at other houses rather than paddocks with cows is something we still have to get used to.
I can crochet edgings on blankets but that’s where my crochet skills start and end. My mother taught me to knit as a young child and I haven’t stopped since.
Do you do any other crafts as well?
Ooh yeah. Knitting and sewing are my two biggest passions (apart from dyeing yarn) and I made almost all my daughters clothes when they were young. I also love spinning, hardanger, cross-stitch, embroidery, patchwork and quilting although my skill levels are quite varied. And if anyone suggests a new craft I’m always keen to give it a try.
I’m a member of a local group of ladies who initially met on Ravelry and we get together one Sunday a month for a knit, eat and chatter. Not so much knitting but lots of eating and chatting. One time we decided to have some food and played with yarn and food dyes and I was hooked.
When did you start Ozifarmer?
Ozifarmer is my online name on Ravelry and when I decided to dip my toe in the water and start an Etsy store I asked my fellow Ravellers for suggestions for the name of my store. One lady suggested ‘Ozifarmer’s Market’ and I loved it. Farmer’s markets, when people sell their own wares, are very popular in Australia so the name was perfect. As I also sell sewn items – dolls clothes, bags, Santa sacks etc I didn’t want to name to only reflect my yarns sales, although that is the biggest part of the business.
Colors I love a few colours – red, pink, orange and green in particular but am not a fan of blues or purples with royal blue being the exception. I love both bright and pastels so I have a colourful wardrobe.
Yarn weights Despite gradient dyed yarn being the biggest portion of my Etsy store I rarely knit small items myself much preferring to knit garments. For this reason I mainly have fingering and DK weight yarns in my stash. When it comes to dyeing though I really love laceweight simply because it looks so pretty caked up.
Types of objects (e.g., shawls, hats, etc.) Tops, jumpers (which you call Sweaters in the US), cardigans and socks. I used to make a lot of toys but don’t have a lot of time for those these days.
I’d have to rank fingering weight t-shirt style tops and DK jumpers/cardigans as equal favourites. I really love the look of cables and love doing them so learning how to do cables without a cable needle was one of the best techniques I’ve ever learnt.
Why do you like to dye yarn?
I love the creativity of doing it and I get a big thrill when someone comes back and shows me what they’ve made using one of my yarns. It’s so exciting to see the colours all grown up.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mother nature is my biggest inspiration. I can look at a flower or a scene like an ocean view and wonder how to turn it into a colourway. I still can’t beat what Mother Nature does but I do enjoy truing.
Who are your favorite designers? (both craft and non-craft)
As I love garment knitting I tend to lean that way with Anne B Hanssen from Norway being my favourite. I love the Norwegian style of colourwork and will soon cast on a jumper/sweater using a very old Norwegian knitting book. I tend to pull features from different patterns into one so that I can create the look I like for myself so many of my garments are made using a number of patterns. Needless to say, sometimes they end up a disaster but most of the time they work. Even though I almost never make shawls I do love the patterns by Mary E. Rose Designs, Nim Teasdale and Ambah O’Brien.
Is there a color that’s your nemesis? The thing that makes you want to run and hide when you think about it.
Blue and purple!!! My friends laugh about my aversion to blue. It is a popular colour though and I’m happy to dye it for others and for my Etsy store but just don’t ask me to wear it. Royal blue is the exception, I love that colour for some reason but really dislike pale/sky blue.
Do you do anything in addition to being a dyer? Do you enjoy it or is it just a job?
Definitely I enjoy it and the day I stop enjoying it I’ll stop doing it. Our new home by the beach comes with a second kitchen which means I no longer have to clutter up my kitchen with dyeing stuff. I also love to get in my garden. I don’t know a thing about plants but I’m pretty good at pulling weeds. Luckily the previous owners of this home knew how to design a garden so I have a very beautiful one acre block with gorgeous ocean views behind it.
What does a typical Dawn-day entail?
I’m a very early riser – I learnt to be after all my years of being a dairy farmer – and I’m typically up at 5am, hours before my husband. By the time he arises I’ve usually done my dyeing for the day and rinsing is done just after lunch. Since retiring we’ve started going for a daily 5-6km walk after lunch which is pretty nice along the foreshore. On the right day we even get to watch the seals or dolphins putting on a performance for us.
Of course I have a stash. What self respecting crafter doesn’t? I am trying to work my way through it rather than buy new stash but that’s easier said than done.
And has your stash grown given that you’re a dyer?
I have two yarn stashes – my stash and my Etsy stash and they are kept quite separately from each other. I do use my own yarns occasionally to make things myself but even then it’s rarely from my Etsy stash. If I use my yarns I often will custom dye what I want rather than dive into stash I have for sale. We won’t mention my spinning fibre, fabric stash or cross-stitch stash except to say that I own virtually every colour DMC embroidery thread that has been created.
Do you have stash that’s to-be-made and stash that’s to-be-dyed?
Absolutely. Because I have so many different yarn bases I offer I have to have lots of each on hand so the wardrobe in one of my spare rooms is packed totally with undyed stock. I like to keep my Etsy shop well stocked for people to come in and buy direct from there but also a lot of my sales are custom dyed yarns. Sometimes people see one of my colours they’d like but on a different base to what it’s currently offered on and other times customers come up with their own colour suggestions.
Check out our review too!
Now that you’ve read all about Dawn and her yarn, check out our review too.