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[Fibres Exotica News] Sad news – Closing Down Sale

closing down sale

I’m sad to say that I’m shutting up the shop. After giving it a good 5 years, It’s time to call it a day, because whilst I love doing shows, talking to people and selling beautiful yarns, the business is very much not paying for itself, let alone paying me. It also takes a massive amount of time and energy to take the yarns to shows (Ally Pally for instance costs me around £1500 to do, most of that being the cost of the stand), and they usually don’t cover their own costs.

Right now though, it’s “everything must go!” time – not just the yarn but the fixtures and fittings also.

To that end, here’s a 30% off coupon in the shop: CLOSEDOWN

I’ll be putting various Yarn and Fabric craft equipment, as well as the “shop” fittings I take to shows on eBay: http://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/fibresexotica – Subscribe to a list for eBay notifications

I’m not leaving yarn and colour behind though, I’m going to be concentrating my efforts more into coaching and teaching, separating out FluffenStuff.co.uk again and filling it with dyeing information and the ability to have me teach you dyeing either in your home, at my home or in a convenient location –  And because I don’t want to bug you if you don’t want to know about it, subscribe to a list for FluffenStuff Updates

Image used, DSC06222 by Andrew_Writer
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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[Fibres Exotica News] Ever wanted to learn to dye? Watch this…

Dyeing animal fibres with food colouring

Last weekend was rather productive.

As you all know, I love to inspire people and I’ve been wanting to share knowledge about dyeing (and a whole raft of other subjects beyond the fibre arts realm!) in a more tangible way for a while now.

One of the things that was holding me back from doing this was that “fact” that I “don’t own a video camera…”

About 3 weeks ago however, I had a rather spectacular brain-fart, and suddenly realised that, yes, I do own a video camera, and rather a good one at that – The 12MP camera in my mobile phone also records 1080p and 4K video footage!

So, purchase of a clamp to fit my phone onto my camera tripod, some downloading of CODEC packs and Windows Movie Maker to my PC and I was all ready to rock!

I’ve given a “Food Colouring dyeing in the microwave” tutorial in person a few times now, so I updated the presentation slides, wrote a script, set my kitchen up to record myself dyeing yarn with food colouring and about 30 hours later, uploaded my first video tutorial to YouTube!

Producing the video also inspired me to create a new DK yarn range –  O.n.D – It’s my colourful and  random contribution to a world that is rather too staid and stuffy, but I’ll let the product page tell you all about that!

I do hope that you enjoy the video, if you do, please “like” it, subscribe to the channel and leave me feedback!

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[Fibres Exotica News] Season’s Greetings! / Looking forward to WAWS 2015

Season’s Greetings!

Hope that your festive season is going well. Me, I’m a touch “Bah Humbug” about it all; I love this time of year, as these two weeks are generally filled with Time. Time to relax, to see friends and take stock of the past year. The “Spirit of Yule” – the opening of the heart to joy and the return of light, the giving of self to loved ones and sharing good times with people close to you.

However, too many enforced and structured “celebrations” of the day itself (that were really anything but pleasant time) in my twenties and thirties have left me very “Bah Humbug!” about how over commercialised and pressured the concept of “Christmas day” has now become.

So, now that the day itself is done and dusted, I’m enjoying a week off from the day-job and firmly looking forward to 2015; planning dye jobs, doing labelling, yarn prep, website admin, & getting ready for the first show of the year – Waltham Abbey Wool Show

Date: Sunday 18th January 2015
Time: 10am to 4pm
Venue: Waltham Abbey Marriott, Old Shire Lane, Waltham Abbey, EN9 3LX

Tickets: £3 in advance on-line or £4 on the day

In their second year, this show has definitely found their niche, with  luscious hand dyed yarns, beautiful handmade wool and felt items, unique knit and crochet kits, a wide selection of accessories from buttons to project bags for sale, demonstrations of spinning, weaving, rag rugging and crochet plus a gallery of projects on display as well as Workshops, a Best Funky bag competition and Knit & Natter area.

For more information please call 01992 651066 or see their website: www.walthamabbeywoolshow.co.uk

So, I see you there I hope!

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[Fibres Exotica News] Summer Survey – Get me creating what you want

Are you enjoying the sun? Even though it looks like the utter heat of the last few weeks has broken for now (and boy, am I thankful for that! Love the sun, hate the heat!) it’s still glorious weather!

Summer is always a time of year I find invigorating and inspirational. I tend to do my “Spring cleaning” in Summer for this reason. I work on getting rid of clutter around the house, tidy up loose ends and make fresh starts on both stalled and new projects.
One of my projects for this summer is working on changing the shop over to focus on my crafted products as well as making sure that what I am generally offering is actually what my customers want to buy!

After all,  there is no point in my creating yarns, fibres and stitchmarkers that no-one then wants to love and create with in turn.

So, I’ve created the Summer Survey 2014 – all feedback on what I want to offer, style, colours & potential costings appreciated.

I’ve also popped a section at the end, if there is anything you would like me to sell/offer/do that I haven’t thought to cover in the survey.

Summer Survey 2014

Part of this project is creating investment capital. Because if I’m going to grow the business, I’m going to need some help.
As my current undyed stocks are rather random in nature, and some of the wonderful yarns I have I can no longer obtain, I want to create a standardised base-yarn range from known, mostly UK, suppliers and in a good range of animal fibres that will give consistency and longevity to my dyeing work. I also need to buy a few “industrial grade” tools that will make working with the yarns easier.

I’ve found 3 yarn suppliers that I want to work with that produce consistent and beautiful undyed yarns and based solely on my whim of “I like dyeing and working with fatter yarn”, here is what my currently predicted yarns and expected pricing are:
DK Silk – 100g – £15
DK 70% Long Staple Cashmere 30% Mulberry Silk – 50g – £25
Aran Wenselydale Longwool – 100g – £9
Aran Bluefaced Leicester – 100g – £8
Chunky Baby Alpaca – 100gm – £12
Chunky Worsted Spun Pure Angora – 100gm – £25
Chunky Loop Kid Mohair – 100g – £18

I also know however that not everyone else likes the fatter end of the yarn ranges, so, based on what the survey says, this may well morph to include Lace and 4-ply.

To use up my current stocks, and gauge interest for new ranges, I’m creating a few “club” items, based around the dye-jobs I love doing. You will find these over here:  Bundles, Clubs and Kits – and I’ll update you on new clubs in the next few weeks as I work on putting more in there.
I’ve also created the Investor Club item in the shop – and what you put in you will get back in beautiful yarn, silver stitchmarkers or maybe even something else new project wise…

I’m hoping you will help me; even just a quid from everyone would take me a long way towards achieving my goals.

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[Fibres Exotica News] Off to Warner Textile Archive for the Textile Fair & News about Ally Pally!

I’m heading over to Braintree on Sunday for the Textile Fair at the Warner Textile Archive.

This is this show’s fourth year, as you might know, I sadly couldn’t make the timing work last year to attend, so I’m looking forward to going this year.

Date: 11th May 2014
Time: 10:00 – 17:00
Venue: Warner Textile Archive, Silks Way, Braintree, CM7 3GB

Tickets: £5.50 in advance (plus 55p booking fee) / £7 on the day (Under 16s free when accompanied by a paying adult)

Parking available at various locations in Braintree including disabled bays, please see this map for more details http://www.parkingpartnership.org/braintreemap.pdf
For more information please call 01371 557741, email infoATwarnertextilearchive.co.uk, or visit www.warnertextilearchive.co.uk

I hope you can make it if you are in the area, it looks like it will be a good day out.


Also, some interesting news from Twisted Thread about Knitting and Stitching 2014 – This year’s Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace will open a day early to the public – with five open days running from Wednesday 8th October to Sunday 12th October 2014.

After the event attracted record visitor numbers in 2013 (nearly 33,000), they felt that the show needed to grow, and combined with the late opening evening on Thursday that they added in 2013, they are aiming to create space for new customers and offer a slightly more comfortable experience for everyone.

Opening Hours
The Knitting & Stitching Show / Alexandra Palace

Wednesday 8th October – 10am-5.30pm NEW!
Thursday 9th October  – 10am-7.00pm
Friday 10th October  – 10am-5.30pm
Saturday 11th October –  10am-5.30pm
Sunday 12th October  – 10am-5.00pm

So, start planning for that one now. I suspect that it will work well, and hey, we all know how hot and cramped at can get at its busiest… and apart from anything else, adding an extra day is the only way that this show can expand really!

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[Fibres Exotica News] Hand-dyed yarns online / Upcoming Show (ICHF Creative Stitches – ExCel)

As you all know, I’m a passionate dyer amongst other things, and although I’ve made a great deal of hand dyed yarn, with the day-job, I’ve been time-poor and aching to make the time to take the yarn photographs of all my pretties.

This weekend just gone, I finally found the time to get the work done.
Check them out: http://www.fibresexotica.co.uk/product-category/fluffenstuff-3/

All feedback on yarn choice, style and colours appreciated.

After all, no point me dyeing up colours on on yarns that no-one then wants!

Also, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m off to ICHF Creative Stitches in a 3 weeks time and I’ll be on Stand F74.
This is this show’s second year and there seems to be a nice balance of craft stalls attending.

Date: 3rd – 5th April 2014
Time: 10:00 – 16:30 (Sat 17:00),
Venue: ExCel, London, E16 1XL

Tickets: £8 in advance on-line or £10 on the day

For more information please call or see website: http://www.creativestitchesshow.co.uk/london/

It’s the first show since I took Fluffenstuff to Stitch’n’Bitch day back in 2006 that I’ll have my hand-dyed yarns front and centre, and so I’m very excited about that!

I’m also hopefully going to be popping into Spring Knitting and Stitching on Sunday as a visitor, to check out the revised lay-out and talk to other vendors about how it went. I’m hoping that Twisted Thread have sorted the issues out, so that I can plan to be there next year!

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[Fibres Exotica News] Round-up on 2013 – Planning for 2014

2013 was a good year, all told.

Unlike 2012, 2013 had a great deal of  momentum in all sorts of parts of my life, not just in Fibres Exotica! It’s still stuck in a couple of ways, but I’ve got plans in place to move these on also.

Technically, the change to the back end of this website (after the initial work to get it transferred)  has made life way easier. No longer does the shop break when any form of update is applied and administration is so much faster. I’m also hoping that it’s made your shopping experience easier and more intuitive. If you can think of more improvements, please do let me know

In the real world, the first two shows of the year were wonderful in terms of meeting people but financially? Not so good.
The focus at Five Lakes was PaperCraft and Beading,  not the type of show where my “higher end” yarns sell, so regretfully, I won’t be exhibiting at that company’s exhibitions again. The people that did come fondle, chat and buy from me were lovely though.

The Spring Knitting and Stitching show (previously “Stitch and Craft”) at the recently re-fitted Olympia didn’t quite work either. The new layout at Olympia confused people with people entering the front entrance not realising that there was another hall behind the one they were in and visa versa. Also, some of the aisles were very narrow, causing congestion that could have been avoided. We also found that the attendance was very weighted to people attending on the Saturday, which made some of the layout problems worse and caused problems for visitors and exhibitors alike! As of now,  I’ve not signed up for a stand at the 2014 show, but if they offer me a good last minute deal on space, you never know!

Knitting and Stitching at Ally Pally worked very well all round however; the layout I used made the silks really sing out, the new labeling system worked well and so people could find what they wanted more easily. I actually made a little bit of profit, the first time in 4 shows, and the coffee trolley next to my stand this year was either a blessing or a curse, depending on whether you like coffee or not! 😉

So, looking forward…

I’ve got big plans for 2014. As previously mentioned, I really want to get back into the dyeing and also (finally!) broaden the fibre range I offer. I’ve about 12Kg of hand-dyed that I have to get photographed to upload.

I’ve also signed up for some smaller shows as well as the usual big ones.

Waltham Abbey Wool show – 19/01/2014  10:00 –  16:00, Marriott Hotel, Waltham Abbey, EN9 3LX
This is a brand new show,  Diana at The Crochet Chain approached me at Ally Pally to come exhibit, she’s looking to create a small yet exclusive content show.
Possibly maybe: Spring Knitting and Stitching – 13-16/03/2014, Olympia Central, Hammersmith Road, London, W14 8UX
Notes as above
ICHF Creative Stitches  – Stand C03 – 3-5/04/2014 10:00 – 16:30 (Sat 17:00),  ExCel, London, E16 1XL
This is this show’s second year. I’m really hoping that we fit here, with a new show, you really can’t tell, but there seems to be a nice balance of stalls attending
Awaiting confirmation: Warner Textile Archive – Textile fair – 11/05/2014 times to be advised, Warner Textile Archive,  Silks Way, Braintree, CM7 3GB
Kate from the Archive asked me to attend last year when she saw the stall at Five Lakes, but the show schedule clashed horribly with some unavoidable life. So, I’ve applied to attend this year and I’m just waiting to hear back.
Knitting and Stitching- London – Stand TGA13 – 10-13/10/2013, 10:00 – 17:30 (Thurs until 19:00, Sun until 17:00), Alexandra Palace Way, Wood Green, London,  N22 7AY
Need I say more? 😉

You’ll notice that there is a big gap in the middle of the year,  so I’d love to attend some smaller shows; anything offering a “table” within 1.5hrs drive from SE London considered. If you are having a local craft fair, get in touch!

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[Fibres Exotica News] Knitting and Stitching 2013 is upon us!

It’s the time of year again… Knitting and Stitching 2013 is upon us!

10th – 13th October The Knitting and Stitching Show – Alexandra Palace – Stand TGA13
http://www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/london/

So, as I’m away into the 14th with the show, if you can’t come and see me (or even if you can!) just enter the phrase SHOWTIME at the checkout to get a 5% discount across all products until the 14th of October.

As to what I’m bringing to the show? Well, all the usual silks, needles, dye kits and patterns, and I’m also bringing a much larger selection of my own hand-dyed art yarns. (This is also why there is new stuff with no pictures coming up on the site, I’ve figured out a way to do automated stock-take! So, the stock is going up now, and I’ll sort pictures out when I get back. 🙂 )

If you’ve been following my ‘blog, you will know that I merged Fluffenstuff into Fibres Exotica (hence also the swap over of URL and e-mail from SariSilk.co.uk to FibresExotica.co.uk).

Now my house renovation is over, I want to move back into dyeing more again. It’s very personally fulfilling to dye all manner of non-skinny, luxury and/or rare breed fibre yarn and it also allows me to expand into offering an even more excellent selection of yarns and pretty things based on both companies mission statements.

Talking about the FibresExotica Mission statement- “sumptuous fibres from exotica places” – I’m also working with a Peruvian Spinning collective to get their yarns into my shop. The yarns they spin are to die for, so, as you can imagine, I’m very keen to get them in! I couldn’t quite get them over here for K&S, there has been a huge storm in Peru which has damaged the Alpaca herds drastically, hence little fibre for the collective to spin! So, news on that coming soon.

Well, that’s it from me, looking forward to seeing lots of you at the show!

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[Fibres Exotica News] Upcoming exhibitions 2013

Thought I’d drop a quick newsletter to let people know about the shows we are attending this year. It’s always exciting to get out and about, meet people, talk craft, fondle yarn and generally have a good time doing so.

Given how quiet most of 2012 was for all the reasons you will have read about if you’ve been following the ‘blog, I’m having a big push this year to get to as many shows as I’m able and really looking forward to it!

14th – 16th February – Creative Crafts – Five Lakes Crowne Plaza Resort, Nr Tiptree, Essex – Stand F12

14th – 17th March – The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show – Olympia II, London – Stand G80

10th – 13th October The Knitting and Stitching Show – Alexandra Palace – Stand TGA13

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[Fibres Exotica News] Knitting & Stitching 2012 – 11th-14th October @ Alexandra Palace

It’s that time of year that preparations to get all the yarn, fibres, needles, hooks, bits, bobs & ourselves to Alexandra Palace kick into high gear. It’s been a quiet year for Fibres Exotica, mostly because I didn’t manage to go to Stitch & Craft because I suffered 2 slipped discs at Xmas. However much I want to talk to people enthusiastically about craft & yarn, standing around for 4 days in rather large amounts of pain with numb toes was not going to do me any good!

So, as you can imagine, I’m very much looking forward to getting back out there, meeting people, talking about silk & having an exhausting but rewarding 4 days doing one of the thing I really to do love most – being surrounded by vibrant silk yarn!

As last year, I’ll have a great deal of the finest Silk yarns & fibres with me, as well as Dye Kits, Surina Wood Knitting needles and printed copies of all our  patterns with me on Stand TGA13 in the top back corner of the Textile Gallery.

I’m going to be bringing “inspiration packs” to the show as well as 2 new yarns & all the existing lines, so if you are coming to the show, that means you get to see it as well as the other yummy yarns that haven’t yet made it onto the website before the rest of the world does!

See you there!