In Business: Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics Creates Material Used By Crafters All Around The World
In Baxter, there is a company of only seven women that creates unique hand-dyed fabric. Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics was established 32 years ago in the owner’s house and has since grown into selling fabric to crafters all over the world.
“We hand dye fabric here. We start out with white and we dye it all sorts of solid colors,” said Karla Overland, Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics owner.
Cherrywood was founded over 30 years ago by a woman, who for the first 20 years worked from her house.
“She soon outgrew that and her kids were getting sick of having spots of their clothing, so she purchased another house to work out of and hired help. I came on board in 2000 and now I’m the sole owner,” Overland added.
It has since grown to supplying trade shows every month out of the year and has taken owner Karla Overland to Australia, France, and even Dubai.
“We’ve had the exhibit from almost every state just about, and it’s fun to work with other people and set up book signing tours,” said Donna Anderson, Cherrywood administrative assistant and show coordinator.
What makes Cherrywood fabric unique is its texture.
“The suading is what really makes it unique. It’s interesting that it looks sometimes like wool, sometimes like felt, sometimes even like worn leather depending on the design that you do,” said Linda McQuaid, Cherrywood customer service and shipping coordinator.
Cherrywood uses unbleached muslin fabric and the dying process takes about five hours. When it arrives in rolls, it is first cut into smaller pieces. It is then washed before going through the dying process and then washed several times again before it is prepared for sale and shipment.
“Each color is mixed up and put in the washing machines, and I have a dye room here where I’m doing all my magical mixing and adding special ingredients,” Overland explained. “That’s a very tightly held secret.”
For the owner and employees at Cherrywood, quilting and fabric is not just a job, but a passion.
“Your taking fabric and cutting it up into small pieces and then sewing it back together. But in that process you are designing and you are putting creativity into it,” Overland added.
Overland says the quilting community and working in the industry has been very rewarding.
“It’s a unique industry. It’s a very large industry. There’s quilters everywhere. It also is a sense of community. Quilters often quilt together. They go to retreats together and they may not get much done because they’re all talking and getting to know each other,” said Overland. “But by the time you’re done, you have new friends that last forever.”
Every year, Cherrywood hosts a contest called the Cherrywood Challenge for quilters using one select color and a theme to create a piece. For more information, visit their website at www.cherrywoodfabrics.com. Submissions are due July 1st.