the face behind the brand
I'm Rachel, and I'm the "me" behind Zeezee!
I learned to knit when I was 10 years old, and while knitting came and went through my life as I navigated school, college, and finally, adulthood, it remained a steady part of my identity that always sparked that "next step" for me behind the scenes. I studied fashion design in school, focusing on knitwear and falling in love with the entire process from start to finish, be it by hand or machine. I now work as a sweater designer by day, and love every minute of it - and since I can never get enough, I spend my free time knitting, spinning, and of course now, dyeing!
My first dye project was in college, for an experimental design class for which I knit large pieces out of merino roving. The garments were designed to cover the entire body, and the box that came housing the wool could have held an entire refrigerator it was so large! I wanted to control the exact color of the wool myself, and do it naturally - and coffee yielded the perfect color for my designs. I spent the weekend in my parents' kitchen, slowly cooking my pounds and pounds of wool, one batch at a time.. until we ran out of coffee (and the "good stuff" was off limits). Wanting to get creative, and realizing I'd still only yet dyed a portion of my wool mountain, we ran down to our local cafe and asked the owner if they'd be willing to give us any brewed coffee remaining at the end of the day that would otherwise be tossed. We drove home with gallons of coffee in the back of the car that afternoon, avoiding bumps and smiling at our process. In a funny way, it took a village, and every room (and pot) in our house, from the kitchen to multiple bathrooms set up with drying racks and fans, to get the job done.
Fast forward many years later and.. not much has changed! I dye out of my home, and while I've upgraded from coffee to professional dyes, and from mismatched pots to restaurant grade pans, it's still a full house process, from soaking and dyeing, washing and drying, to skeining and labeling and finally sending off to your home. I love it that way, and the intimacy of being a one-woman band (with a little help from my sweet fiance, Nick, who frequently names colorways and carries heavy containers for me) means I get to be involved in every step and I love every minute of it. It feels full circle, and that feels just right.