Jake of Kenyarn Dazzles the Fiber World

Jake of Kenyarn Dazzles the Fiber World

Posted by Cindy on Nov 14th 2023

Jake Kenyon of Kenyarn is a superstar in the knitting community: a designer, teacher, entrepreneur, and maker of fabulousness for knitters and crocheters. Kenyarn, known for vibrant hand-dyed yarn, has recently pivoted to spectacular resin notions, including stitch markers, buttons, and shawl cuffs.

Jake is based in Rhode Island but will be here at The Endless Skein in early December 2023 for a weekend of dyeing (the limited edition yarn will be for sale exclusively at our store) and to teach a knitting class. We can't wait!

In the meantime, Jake was kind enough to answer our burning questions about how Kenyarn got started, why it metamorphosed, and what Jake has learned along the way. Read on!

How did you first get involved in the fiber/maker world? Have you been a knitter or crocheter since childhood?

I got into crocheting during graduate school! It was a really stressful time, and learning to crochet helped me feel centered and grounded. Crocheting led me to dyeing, which led me to knitting, which led me to resin work! It's been quite the journey. Since childhood I've had an affinity for color, crafts, and anything that had a complicated process for me to learn!

How did you start designing knitting patterns?

I think my interest in shawl knitting sparked my interest in knitting. I simply love knitting shawls and wearing them, and love getting to blur the binary wearing a beautifully draped shawl over my jeans and plaid button ups. I think contrast is beautiful and designing more feminine patterns has always been my area of interest!

What’s the best thing about being a knitwear designer?

Designing allows me to discover new skills and push the boundaries of my own knowledge. I find it really rewarding to finally crack the code after calculating a particularly hard stitch count or measurement!

Earlier this year you closed the hand-dyed yarn portion of Kenyarn, which was the business’ original mainstay (and wildly popular). What led you to this decision?

I think this answer is a complicated one! After running a business for over five years, I had seen so many changes in the industry and in how my creative "cup" was filled. For various personal and professional reasons, stepping away from the pace of running a dye studio felt like the best fit for myself and for my family. It will always be a part of my creative journey and I'm so honored to be able to continue dyeing small batches with shops like the Endless Skein!

Much like your hand-dyed yarn colorways, your resin notions are pure joy. When did you first start working with resin, and what do you like most about it?

It's true! I love bringing whimsy and levity to everything I create! When I began first using resin at the beginning of 2021, it was very much experimental. Through lots of trial and error, I am now able to create my own silicone molds and have really narrowed down the selection of items in my shop. At the end of the day, the brighter the colors and heavier the pour of glitter - the better! I love using resin for a variety of reasons but really appreciate how unforgiving it is and in a way, it helps me slow down and come to a place of planning whenever beginning a big pouring day!

From where do you tend to draw inspiration, whether you are designing a pattern or something out of resin? What’s inspiring you these days?

I find myself usually most inspired by color itself. I am someone who sees a color in my daily routine and becomes obsessed with recreating it! With resin, there are quite a few limitations and parameters and I love pushing those boundaries! When it comes to pattern design, I am a big lover of utilizing texture and color and making patterns that LOOK harder to knit than they really are! I love easy knitting.

What has surprised you about your journey as a maker/entrepreneur? What have you learned?

How much time do we have? Ha! All kidding aside, I have learned so much over the past six+ years. I've grown not only in size of following and customer base, but have also grown emotionally in how I approach creative work. Any artist will tell you how jarring and vulnerable it can feel to put your work out into the world for feedback and I've learned (the hard way) to separate myself from those opinions. My favorite part of running a business is advocacy work for organizations I care about and making followers chuckle through my chaotic Instagram presence and unique use of texture and color in my knitting patterns.

What’s something you’d like people to know about you?

I think when folks meet me in the setting of my business or in an online space, they immediately assume I'm an extrovert. I'd argue that I am just the opposite. I find that when I need to turn on my energy working with people, it drains me quite a bit. I say this with love and not in a negative light, but I usually need a few days of quiet knitting to recuperate after a big festival or sale! In a less serious aspect, I guess a fun fact about me is that I do a pretty good Jennifer Coolidge impression and I love watching the women of the WNBA with my partner!

What’s on your needles right now?

I'm currently knitting the Slumber Shawl from Westknits among a few other designs I am working on for publishing later this fall/winter! I'm usually knitting in neons, but 2023 has brought a new interest in softer earthy tones!

Can you tell us what’s next for Kenyarn?

Kenyarn is always cooking up something! I'm hoping to continue to release new stitch marker shapes, finally release our signature resin shawl cuffs, and am currently in the works to create a magnetic resin notions dish!

Anything else you’d like to share?

I just want to say THANK YOU to Sue and the other members of the Endless Skein crew for hosting me for this incredible weekend of teaching, resin fun, and dyeing! I dont think you all really know how special it is to return to dyeing in this fun, limited little weekend! I really hope if you're reading this and are local, you'll come out to see me and some of the yarn Ill be dyeing! :)

Be sure to follow Jake on Instagram @isthatkenyarn!

Register for Jake's Chrysalis Wrap class at The Endless Skein!

Chrysalis Wrap knit class with Jake of Kenyarn, Saturday, December 2, 3-5pm