Loop loves to source yarns from all over the globe, but we also make sure to support independent dyers here in the UK – so how could we refuse a yarn named after the neighbourhood where Loop resides!? Our newest addition, ‘Islington’ is from London based Kettle Yarn Co.
Islington is a blend of British Bluefaced Leicester and silk, creating a smooth yarn that has both a beautiful drape and crisp definition, perfect for lace and luxurious knits.
Make sure to read to the end of the post to find out how to enter our competition to win a skein in the colour of your choice! (This contest has now closed, but keep an eye out for more giveaways in the future!)
We caught up with Linda of Kettle Yarn Co. when she had a break between dyeing up the next batch for Loop and found out more about her and her business.
Hi Linda! First of all, why did you start dyeing and when did you start Kettle Yarn Co.?
Hello! I set up my business in August of last year. I started dyeing as I figured that colour mixing dyes would be similar to that in painting and I really wanted to be able to create my own colours.
I discovered quite quickly that I found yarn dyeing much more satisfying than painting canvases (I have an MA in painting from Chelsea College of Art & Design) There is something hugely rewarding about creating a product that is not only beautiful but useful… and also sensual to the touch.
How wonderful to turn something you love into your own business. What is your favourite part of the job? And of course, there must be some difficult aspects that challenge you?
My favourite part is the colour – mixing, glazing, painting, playing with variegation, juxtaposing hues…well you get the gist! I love the sense of discovery that comes from developing new colourways and seeing how they dye differently on various blends.
The most challenging part at the moment is in finding enough hours in the day to get everything I want done. As a result I have been putting in some pretty long hours over the last year, but am really enjoying myself at the same time. I have a tendency to forget to eat if I am in the middle of colour development (VERY unlike me) but am trying to be more disciplined about not treating myself like a sweatshop worker. I am hoping to start keeping ‘proper’ business hours in the next few weeks with…gasp…weekends off! What a treat!
Indeed! What is a typical day for you when you are in your studio?
I start fairly early and a typical day starts with checking my emails, orders and social media. I have recently joined Twitter and find the community on that platform very supportive and fun!
I usually get to the kettles and start dyeing before 10am. I use non-toxic acid dyes so I am able to safely dye in my home kitchen. The dye is set colourfast using household vinegar and the process is relatively quick.
If I am not dyeing the day is spent developing marketing materials – blog, newsletter, etc. – taking photos, getting listings ready for the shop and working on graphic design for the business. In the evenings, not surprisingly, I knit!
Speaking of knitting, when did you first learn to knit? And who taught you?
My mother taught me to knit at the tender age of 9. I knit a horrible white cotton dk scarf in a basket weave stitch, but then promptly put the needles away for decades when I finished, as I didn’t have the patience for it. To this day I can’t bear to knit in cotton.
Now knitting is part of your routine again (obviously minus cotton yarns!) we would like to know what’s on your needles at the moment?
I am currently designing a super secret something for the autumn in my favourite blend Waltham, a 100% British BFL yarn which is gently rustic – slightly crisp and wooly, but soft enough for super sensitive skin like mine.
I also have Meghan Fernandes’ beautiful Waterlily on the needles, from Pompom Quarterly’s Issue 8. I am doing my version in Vestige, a light blue/silver, using Islington. It is SO pretty…I can’t wait to wear it.
Do you have a source that influences the inspiration for your colour ways? And how do you name your colours once they are dyed? I personally love the name ‘Light Squirrelly’
I have always been very sensitive to colour and remember having to find just the EXACT hue of peach paint for my room when I was 12. My parents learned early on that I had a very distinct sense of style and colour. Poor things!
Having grown up surrounded by the stunning Canadian Boreal forest, I am particularly mindful of the natural world and spend a lot of my time in London’s concrete jungle dreaming of the sea and expanses of green! These hues tend to creep into my colours naturally.
Naming comes less naturally to me. I generally try to take inspiration from my surroundings and things that fill my days, like the recent BBC drama Peaky Blinders. Set in 1900s industrial Birmingham, the show was filled with a palette of smutty, smoky greys.
We’re giving away a skein of Islington to one lucky blog reader! Maybe you could inspire us with what you would knit with one skein?
I recently knit a Charm shawl – by Juju Vail – in a skein of Islington for my friend’s 50th birthday and would very much like to knit another for myself soon. I would choose the shade Smokey Peach.
To celebrate the arrival of this new yarn, we are giving you the chance to win a skein in the colour of your choice!
To enter, leave a comment telling us what you would knit with one skein of Islington. This competition will close at midnight on Wednesday 2nd April and we will announce the winner next Friday – Good Luck! This contest has now closed, but keep an eye out for more giveaways in the future!