Queen of rainbow-hued knits Gina Röckenwagner wears many hats at Knomad. This talented yarn dyer oversees marketing and content creation, writing articles for our blog as well as coordinating marketing campaigns. Every day, Gina connects with our creative community of dyers as she manages Knomad’s social media channels. “I love seeing what people make with our yarn… what they dye, what they knit, crochet, and weave,” Gina said. “Seeing people discover the brand and fall in love with the yarn is the most exciting thing.”
As our Instagram manager, Gina shares inspiration from our customers, to showcase the amazing range of possibilities for our undyed yarns. Recently she’s been inspired by the natural dyers using Knomad’s bare yarns. “One of the first that I noticed was Marce Smith from Hey BrownBerry, who did some avocado dyeing that was really beautiful. Recently we reposted Lauren Elizabeth Sifferman’s onion skin dye project, which was incredible. I’m amazed at what people can do with natural dyes.”
Gina studied fibres at School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since graduating, this creative powerhouse has successfully launched many textile projects, including her knitwear company Soft Haus. She’s been knitting since grade school — Gina’s childhood was grounded in hands-on learning. “I actually got started with embroidery; my class did a project when I was ten,” she said. “My teacher saw that I was really interested, and she offered to teach me how to knit during recess.”
Her earliest dye projects were playfully DIY, including dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid. In college, Gina studied dyes for plant fibres, especially cotton and linen. She’s spent the last decade refining her dye process, learning new techniques, and taking on new collaborations. “If I wanted a color I couldn’t find, I’d just quickly dye some yarn to make the project,” she said. “When I worked at Eugenia Kim in New York, I would help them create custom colors for their knits by coordinating with their dye house team in Peru.”
Gina has a special ability to understand what dyers need in an undyed yarn. She often acts as a conduit between our customers and Knomad’s product development team, aiming to create the perfect base for customer projects. “I love working with Knomad as they grow and debut new products,” she said. “The DK weight superwash 100% merino yarn has been the most requested product since we launched, and the quality is SO nice. We were able to customize the new yarn to exactly what we wanted — the exact number of plies and the perfect thickness,” she said.
Visiting Gina’s home studio is like a trip to the coziest yarn shop. “My stash is out of control. It’s like having a yarn store in my house. My friend Elisabeth calls it my ‘soft room,’ and it’s totally true. I have shelves full of yarn, and that’s where my cat Paloma has her hammock,” she said.
Her studio shelves are filled with her hand-dyed yarns, some of which she sells to other fibre folks for their own projects. One of Gina’s recent dye projects on Stratus was a standout. “I’ve been obsessed with marshmallow Peeps since I was a kid. I made a speckled yarn that looks just like you sprinkled sugar from the Peeps on the yarn.” Nicole from Disco Stitch transformed that Peeps yarn into a Cozy Classic Light Sweater from Jessie Maed Designs
Working at Knomad fuels Gina’s creativity, in part because of the quality of the yarns. “I really love Bristle — it’s so unique and effortless to dye,” she said. “Our quality control is unparalleled.” Gina also appreciates Knomad’s consistent environmental standards. Her dedication to her work goes beyond her craft, extending to her love of the natural ecosystem.
“I was eager to work with our manufacturing partners in Peru because they care so much about the environment,” she said, “They have a heritage of sustainability, and a sophisticated approach to farming and agricultural processes. What plants contribute to the soil, what to do with the flock or herd synchronized with the seasons, using bacteria and enzymes to break down wastewater so it can be reused as a greywater… I got to visit and see the whole process, and it’s really cool to see in action.”