Have you heard of Skein? We had it at Loop last year, but if you blinked, you missed it because it veritably flew off the shelves! We now have a new base yarn in – a seriously luxurious 50% merino/50% silk blend – and we are so excited to have these amazing colours back in the shop!
Skein yarns are hand-dyed by Kristen all the way over on the northern coast of New South Wales in Australia. Kristen kettle dyes beautiful fibres in semi-solid and variegated colourways. We love them all, but are particularly fond of the colourways with random splashes of colour – gorgeous!
We were really lucky to catch a quick interview with Kristen about her life as a yarn dyer; we’re happy to be able to share it with you:
How long have you been dyeing and how did you start out? I have always been interested in dyeing, primarily because I grew up watching my mum dye silks with natural and acid-based dyes. When I started knitting, I was ‘introduced’ to Kool Aid dying via blogs and magazines. It really piqued my interest so I gave it a go and really enjoyed it, so much so that I started buying professional acid-based dyes. I played around with different dying techniques and, after a year of experimentation, I decided to open up an Etsy shop. That was in January 2010 and I haven’t looked back since.
What inspires your colours? Magazines, blogs, nature, movies…everything! I am always looking for unique colour combinations: I have a million notebooks that I carry around with me, and when I see something or think up an interesting colour combination, it gets jotted down. In fact, the best part about Skein is experimenting with colour – the more crazy the colour combination, the better!
What is a typical day at Skein like? I usually answer emails while eating breakfast. Luckily Skein HQ is located in a separate building in the backyard, so I walk out my back door and into the studio – no driving, no traffic, yay! From morning to lunch I dye up orders and from lunch to around 5pm I do bits and pieces like admin stuff, photography, marketing, stocktaking, organising wholesale orders, and so on. There are now two of us who work full time at Skein. Paul is the shipping guru: he skeins, labels, packs and ships all the orders which is a HUGE relief and means I can work normal hours and no weekends.
What’s your area of Australia like? Beautiful! We live in a small town about 15 minutes north of the city of Coffs Harbour, which is on the northern coast of New South Wales. It’s a subtropical climate, so there’s plenty of sun and a lot of humidity! In summer we walk to the beach at lunch time and have a swim; it’s a welcome relief after standing over boiling dye pots! From our house we have the choice of three beaches, all within walking distance. The area is surrounded by a national park; there’s plenty of birds, wallabies and kangaroos. The beaches are part of a large marine sanctuary – no resorts or developments allowed. It’s paradise!
The new yarn at Loop is a sportweight – meaning it’s thickness is right in between a 4ply and a DK – making it just perfect for shawls. We’re obviously a bit nuts for shawls at Loop – especially ones of the stripey variety – and Skein yarns couldn’t be more ideal. We matched up two of Kristen’s semi-solid colours for yet another Andrea’s Shawl – a pattern that is a firm Loop favourite.
You can view all the shades of Kristen beautiful yarn at Loop’s online shop here! We have recieved about one third of our order and are expecting the rest of the colours to come in over the next couple of weeks.