For Knitters: RaspberryDyeWorks

These colorful yarns are hand-dyed in Arlington.

Washington-Lee ninth-grader Cassie Smith taught herself to knit just a few years ago and quickly discovered a world of fiber arts beyond pot holders. Today her skills run the gamut from socks to mittens, purses to stuffed animals, cowl-neck scarves to sweaters.

When Smith realized that her output was outpacing her supply budget, she got even more creative. “Hand-dyed yarn is usually kind of pricey,” she says. “I figured if I could dye my own, it would be much less expensive.”So she turned her kitchen into a design lab and began dyeing yarn in large pots, giving her technicolor creations cheeky names such as “A Peacock Ate a Glowstick” and “A Unicorn and a Rainbow Had a Baby.” Each batch is inspired by a place she’s visited, she says, or perhaps the cover art from a favorite book.

“Once I found out that I really enjoyed the dyeing process, I was dyeing yarn faster than I could knit it,” Smith says, “so I decided to sell it.” And that she now does, through her Etsy shop, RaspberryDyeWorks, for $25 a skein. As for her knitted pieces? Those are mostly for friends and family only—although a lucky teacher just might score a handmade thank-you gift at the end of the school year.

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