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Customer love: Chunky Bucket Bag in Red Tiger

I said last month that I could wait to see what Gem did with with the skein of Red Tiger she also bought, and yesterday she reached out to me again on my FaceBook page to show me that it had twined itself up with with some chunky grey yarn and insisted on being a Bucket bag!

As I observed before, looking at Gem’s web page, she hooks beautiful bags,  blankets/ throws, hair accessories, as well as working the occasional fascinator and dinosaur.

hearts and flowers - chunky bucket bag

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Customer Love: Satchel Bag in Purple Daze

As you know, I always love Customer love, and Gem reached out to me on my FaceBook page to tell me that she’d turned one of the Purple Daze skeins that she purchased at Ally Pally into a small satchel.

Looking at Gem’s web page, she hooks beautiful bags,  blankets/ throws, hair accessories, as well as working the occasional fascinator and dinosaur!

She’s really done the yarn justice with the stitch she’s picked for construction. I can’t wait to see what she does with the skein of Red Tiger she also bought!

(As always, click to see the bigger picture)

hearts and flowers bag 2

hearts and flowers bag 3

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A drop of drive by news…

I’m going to be going to exhibiting at both I Knit Fandango and Fibre East  – both shows are targeted at small suppliers and exquisite yarns, fibres and tools, so I should fit right in! More specific news on these closer to the time.

I’ve also taken the choice to not be at Spring Knitting and Stitching – Baldly put, it’s just too expensive for me to attend for what it will give back to me.

I’m also just getting ready to dye up for the next round of club yarns, want in? Come join here: Fibres Exotica – Club

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Life is good when it has colour in it

If you’ve been looking at my Twitter feed, you will know that I’ve spent the week before Ally Pally throwing colour at Fibres and Yarn.

One of my personal philosophies is that a day where nothing is learned is a day wasted, and I’ve learned large amounts about my own personal dye style, fibre handling, just how saturating my dyes are (very, as they reminded me!), doing much research about how dyeing in general and how fibres are used, developing a sideways want to do nuno and fibre fusion felting projects (not a craft I was previously interested in doing at all!) and how “everything” generally goes together.

I’ve discovered a couple of new techniques that give wonderful results, as well as other techniques that save time and create less mess. As I don’t get to dye nearly as often as I would like, I recalled with joy my particular style & colour palate. I’m a vibrant dyer, and generally find that when I’m making a new colourway that I reach for the red-purple end of the spectrum dyes.

As I was dyeing, I found that I have a real thing at present for Violet with Lime Green, Emerald with Lime Green and Pink with Chocolate Brown. For instance, as I was dyeing the various batches of Mawata, I used these colourways twice over, not realising that I’d already used them with a different dye technique the previous day until I checked my dyeing notebook later!

I also love the dye technique I stumbled on towards the end of the week whilst playing (because, let’s face it, dyeing really is wonderfully enjoyable play) that gives a beautifully “heathered” effect – I’ll be using this much more in my design on both fibres and yarns going forward, both in the pastel tones as I used this time, as well as with my more usual levels of vibrancy.

So, my aim is now to develop a consistent “me” set of colourways (with “guest stars” naturally – after all, the same thing all the time would be dull!) for my base yarns and fibres – and I made some very useful contacts at Ally Pally to give me some wonderful, and more importantly repeatable, rare-breed and luxury fibres and yarns to work on going forward into the latter quarter of the year and onto 2015.

So, big plans ahead! First jobs first however, scanning all the Ally Pally sales through the shop and then buying myself a few new tools to make life even easier and a whole heap of new base yarns! It’s exciting times ahead.

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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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Customer Love: Tea cozy in Kohinoor

A Customer love post from Elaine, who bought 3 skeins of Kohinoor at Warner Textile Archive -Textile fair.

She said “The small hanks I bought were brilliant. You may recall that I mentioned trying to make a tea cosy from them. Well, the two together were just enough, and I think it looks great!” 

Tea cozy in Kohinoor

I very much agree with her! I’m also sure the Silk will keep the tea nice & warm. 🙂

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Customer Love: Some Rainbow Rajgan used for “Speedline” by Alexandra Tinsley

Another  ICHF completed project, this time from Helen, who bought 3 skeins of Rainbow dyed Rajgan from me and turned nearly 2 of them (170g)  into a  ‘Speedline’ by Alexandra Tinsley.

This one is a simple knit, and made in silk, is going to be light yet warm. I love the way the rainbow had knitted; lovely little dots of colour, and very little pooling. She used a larger needle that advised; 6mm Symfonie knit pro interchangeables – 120cm circular needle –  and looking at the knitting close-up, I think she made the right call.

I love seeing what the yarns inspire people to do, whether they make something up, or use a ready-made pattern to give a new outlook. And this little wrap is definitely going to keep Helen warm thrown over shoulders during the long summer evenings, and snug over the winter under her coat!

She’s going to use the rest to made a beanie style hat to go with – I’m looking forward to the pics!


Speedline by Alexandra Tinsley closeup-speedline

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Customer Love: Belly Dancing headdress

I love the more unusual Customer love e-mails I get.

This one is from Deadre, who came to see me at ICHF. She’d previously bought from me on-line, but needed just a little more silk for her latest project…

Deadre makes Belly Dancer costume, and used the Emerald Samraj she bought from me at the show to make the tassels on this beautiful headdress:

Deadre's Headdress

As with anything, yarn is just the start. I love when the yarns I sell are incorporated into projects that have nothing to do with knitting or crochet. Makes me want to learn about new skills. Inspiration is all.

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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:

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:

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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Customer Love: Elenka in Avani

When I saw Jennie at the recent Waltham Abbey Wool Show, she mentioned to me that she had finished the Elenka that she had purchased the yarn for back at Spring Knitting and Stitching 2013 (Avani – Pink, Purple, Yellow, Grey), her granddaughter adored it and she promised to send me a picture.

I’m looking forward to the pictures of what she made with the yarn she bought at WAWS, because this is a lovely knit!

Elenka in Avani by Jennie