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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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[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
For more information please call 01371 557741, email, or visit

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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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

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Customer Love: Silk Chiffon Ribbon Bag

Andrea found my stall at the recent Waltham Abbey Wool Show, and purchased a skein of Silk Chiffon ribbon.

It obviously inspired her to create with it immediately, and she kindly sent me a picture of her work:

Silk Chiffon & Patchwork Handbag

It’s a knitted body with a patchwork lining. I think it looks fabulous!

She said to me about the piece:

“It was just the one skein, green at one end and pink at the other. The bag is 8 inches across by 7 inches deep, and I used every last scrap of the skein!

It’s nice to knit with, it frays a little as you go, so you need to pull off the frayed bits as they build up under your hand, but no different from knitting with a mohair type yarn in that respect.”

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A very sucessful first Waltham Abbey Wool Show indeed

Oh my , Sunday was a good day.

Lovely people, good friendly vibes, took sales on a par with a Friday at a “big” show, & I was home by 1715! 🙂

From a seed of an idea, Kate & Diana took it, ran with it and made a very successful show, both from my point of view as an Exhibitor and from a customer point of view, as I didn’t meet anyone that didn’t love everything in the room! There were also 4 times the amount of people that attended than Diana and Kate thought they would get, which means that it will definitely be back next year!

The hall was full of very enthusiastic crafters, as always I had some very inspirational conversations. One of the reasons I like shows is that no-one can live in a bubble, and even the most casual of remarks as you are talking to people who are browseing and buying can spark a seed that builds to a new direction to go in, or a different way to make something better. It was nice to catch up with previous customers that also live in that area, who were more than happy to see me and my yarns.

I’ll see you all there again next year!


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Customer Love: Silk Artwork

Lorraine is a textile artist working on the Isle of Man and wrote to me recently. She’s incorporated some of the silk fibres I sell with other silk products and produced a wonderful piece of artwork representing Coral Under the Sea:

Coral Under the Sea - Lorraine Cleasby

I think that this is just lovely and a totally innovative use of Silk fibres, cocoons & carrier rods.
It’s currently hanging in a IoM Gallery.