We had a chance to sit down with Mugdha Manasa. She’s the designer of this month’s Jaali Scarf. And she’s also the owner of Sunrays Creations and dyed a gorgeous bright pink yarn for the scarf as well. As you can imagine, she’s both busy and prolific!
Read on to learn a bit more about the woman behind these gorgeous yarns and designs…
Tell us a bit more about yourself
I’m a stay-at-home mom to a rambunctious 2yo. I love reading, and try and combine reading with whatever craft I’m working at the moment. I also have a home garden, which thankfully grows and flourishes inspite of my meager and sometimes forgetful care. But that makes me feel all the more blessed.
All these activities, and my family, keep my waking hours full. 🙂
You’re a knitter, crocheter and dyer! How did you get into all three?
I started out knitting when I did get back to the fiber arts, as that is what I learnt as a kid. This has its own story: I was staying at a hotel in Gurugram (Haryana, India) at the time, when my sister-in-law asked me to check out some nice buttons and bag handles at the market. The shop didn’t have buttons, so they directed me to another branch of their own store. While walking through the market, I passed by a store selling brightly coloured acrylic, and I fell in love with the colours. I literally spent every bit of money on the yarn and needles, keeping only enough to return to my room, and got knitting! 🙂
My sister-in-law crocheted, as did my neighbor. But I somehow didn’t take to it very well initially. As time passed, a lot of the crafters around me were, well, multi-stitchual I guess… they would knit, crochet, embroider and more. So I felt the need to expand my own repertoire, and started off. I did get my neighbor to show me how to crochet a DC, and took it from there..
Around the time I started off on ravelry, the local ravelry group had gotten together to dye up some mohair. I was totally fascinated! Over a period of time, I purchased undyed yarn, and experimented time and again with food colours. I could not be confident about it though, since my results at the time were very hit-or-miss. Then came the opportunity to dye up a specific set of colours for a certain project. The LYS in question told me they were too busy, and sent me undyed yarn. I did look for option of getting it commercially dyed, but that was working out to be quite expensive. So I took a leap of faith and bought the supplies at the chemicals store. I still did not actually start dyeing though. A chat with friends to find cheap yarn, and a search though various supplier sites got me connected with my current supplier, and the rest, as they say, is history.
And which one do you prefer?
I still love the look and drape of a knit item over everything else! Dyeing is an entirely different trip! Actually playing with colours makes me feel like a child let loose with a box of crayons!
What are your favorite things:
- Colors : I like almost all except a few like neons, orange (makes me look unwell), lavender (washed out is not a good look) and black (just depressing)
- Yarn weights: lace and fingering
- Types of objects (e.g., shawls, hats, etc.): All! I love sweaters, but I can’t realistically make too many. And there is so much to learn in everything, so I can’t really keep just one preference.
Why do you like to design?
Design is a creative outlet for me, just as dyeing is. I love seeing the stitch I have in mind bloom into something tangible.
Why do you like to dye yarn?
I love the potential of yarn. Being able to add to that potential, and then seeing it come to life when knit/crocheted is a pleasure beyond words.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Sometimes, it is images from the internet, some from my school classmate’s pics on Instagram (@nikhil_mantrawadi), and some plain moodiness when I wake up early to dye 😉
Can you tell us about your process when you design?
I am not a very process person! Sometimes I just make the garment in question, and then figure out the rest. Sometimes, I do swatch in advance instead of later! Between, work, family and various commitments, design isn’t really at the forefront of what I do, but rather something I do for the pleasure of it.
And what about when you dye yarn?
Most times I am moody. I dye in the wee hours of the morning when DD isn’t awake and is far away from the kitchen. So it usually depends on the number of coffees I’ve had, images I may have seen, or simply my mood at the time. Many times, I’ve just sat staring at my colours wondering what I should dye, and then randomly picking something out! It works out most times though 🙂
Who are your favorite designers? (both craft and non-craft)
I love Joji Locatelli’s aesthetics, and some designs of Jared Flood and Stephen West. Among Indian designers: Nidhi Kansal is my favourite with her elegant, minimalist style. I also love the garments designed by Varsha of ViVaCrochet, though those are something I’d rather my daughter grew into rather than for myself 😉
What is your nemesis? The thing that makes you want to run and hide when you think about it.
WIPs! I have a severe case of startitis. And finishing something doesn’t really work out. So I usually run out of room when the bags of WIPs start to overflow! 😉
What do you do in addition to being both a designer and dyer? Do you enjoy it or is it just a job?
I’m a full-time mom, and that’s what keeps me grounded!
Other than design and dyeing, do you have any other creative endeavors?
I have recently started spinning. And true to my own style, own more than I know what to do with! I currently have 2 drop spindles, tahklis and a charkha. I still have to explore using the charkha. I also make small accessories such as stitch markers and rosewood shawl pins, but not much recently.
Do you have a stash? Or if you buy it you make it up pretty quickly?
YES! I do have a stash, and that is independently huge (by my standards) and separate from the store stock. Some purchases do get done up immediately, but most stay in stash until I figure something out. I do maintain them separately for tracking purpose. And since my personal stash waaay exceeds the shop stock, that’s only prudent. 🙂
And has your stash grown given that you both design and dye?
Ummm. I think I design and dye because I have so much in stash to play with, so to say. It has grown, but not because I design and dye.
I love yarn, just for itself. So I try and get my hands on new yarns, just so I can touch and feel them. Some are luxurious like the pure cashmere, cotton-cashmere and kid mohair that my husband gifted me from a China trip, or the angora that a FibreShare friend gifted me, and don’t get worked up at all! 🙂
Do you have stash that’s to-be-made and stash that’s to-be-dyed?
I have very little stash to be dyed. Most experiments are run only on the store stock. Sometimes I get requests from designers to make their patterns in my yarns. Those times, I use the store stock, but otherwise it’s only the personal stash that I use.