Kettle Yarn Co.
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!
I love this yarn and would knit the Song of the Sea cowl in the color Fog Soup. Gorgeous!!
Gorgeous yarn. I would knit the Plover Shawl
by Amy Christoffers.
I can’t go past the gorgeous Stones and Stripes wrap in Light squirrelly, which means I would just have to buy and extra skein…Oh well!
I would knit the Charm by Juju Vail in the colour of Old Smoke.
Such beautiful colours! Never knitted a cowl so, would be great for the beginning of spring. So thats my choice.
I would do a pair of varmers for the handleds. A spring colour and with a nice pattern.
I would knit a lovely pair of bed socks. I think the combination of silk and BFL would be soft on my toes but strong enough to survive as socks.
Because the yarn is so soft, it would be ideal for a little bonnet/hat and gloves for my gorgeous little granddaughter. Which colour to choose though!
I love these colours, but I as I have to choose only one, this would be the smokin’ peach to knit a shawl!
I would knit my own pattern, Refraction Shawlette, because would be so soft to wear around my neck.
I am currently lusting after both Plover Shawl by Amy Christoffers and Bradbury by Melissa Schaschwary – Chambray is my choice – delicious.
I would knit some Blossom socks in Lotus.
Stones and stripes in nori would be my choice. It would go beautifully with my daughter’s prom dress and given my slow knitting speed I may just get it finished in time for July!!
I’ve been waiting to knit Bacchus socks by Alice Bell, and seeing Islington means I’ve finally found a suitably luxurious and decadent yarn to do them justice!
Old Smoke will be just perfect.
I would design a simple lace shawl in Old Smoke ..probably with some silvery grey beads incorporated in the edging
I would design a completely new shawl in Old Smoke.
I would knit estuary byEmily Wessel in fog soup
I would knit Falling Water in Lotus, love the look of this yarn, can’t wait to see it in real life! http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/falling-water
Beautiful delicate colours. I would knit my little one a
Wee liesl by Ysolda
I would use the “Old Smoke” colourway to knit a Vintage Freemont by Jamie Brynildson. I have the pattern– if I had the yarn I would cast on right now.
What a beautiful colour palette! I adore the Nori Green shade, and would probably knit the Glam Shells shawl with it :)
Congratulations Heather! You are the winner of the skein of Islington! We’ll be in touch so you can claim your prize :)
Looks gorgeous! I’d make a Boo Knits shawl in Chambray for my wedding.
I would use the Old Smoke colourway to knit a Vintage Fremont shawl (pattern by Jami Brynildson). I already have the pattern– if I had the yarn, I would cast on right now…
I would knit a very simple pattern to show off the colour and sheen of the yarn, a garment that would be worn close to the skin, to feel the luxurious quality of the yarn. Quince and Co’s newly launched pattern for the “Sans Kerchief” by Hannah Fettig, is very, very simple, but perfect for showing off the yarn: http://quinceandco.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_87_103&products_id=400 “Blighty” is a colourway I can imagine complementing or contrasting any other colour worn beautifully.
I would like to knit a Prarie Shawl from Juju’s Loops.i love that book and have made nearly everything in it I have made Cinnamon Girl and I have made Swoon three times and and Oak knot Hat three times and Cedar Shake Fingerless Gloves four times and ten Berties.
This will be my third Prairie Shawl.The first one I made was for my future daughter-in-law as a cover up when she went on holiday to Costa Rica with my son at Christmas and she was wearing it on Christmas Eve when he proposed.
I would like to knit in chambray . The wool sounds and looks amazing!
I have sent my comment already but it went before I could say I ticked the boxes below
I have had Ishbel by Ysolda in my favourites since I first saw one. So I would chose to knit one in the lovely Old Smoke colourway. It would be so versatile in the wardrobe.
Gorgeous yarn; I’d knit Beth Kling’s Jackson Square, in the Old Smoke colour…
I would love to knit a pair of luxurious birthday socks for my daughter. The colours are lovely!
It would have to be the Ferrous Shawl by Leah B. Thibault for Quince: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ferrous-shawl
I’d knit it in Old Smoke.
Ooh, beautiful! I think for me this is crying out for something airy and intricate in the fingerless gloves line for spring – maybe Astri mi Astri by Randi K Design, in colourway Blighty?
I’d make Martina Behm’s “knit your love” – it would look amazing in lotus :-)
I think I would knit Carradal by Lucy Hague in old smoke and Lotus.
my daughter is running the Boston marathon this year for her favorite charity and because of the bombing last year. I would knit her a beautiful scarf for after the race to wrap herself in in that beautiful peach color.
Love the look of the Vestige. I’m thinking a leafy or wavy shawl (will have to look through patterns when I get back from The Canaries). :-)
I would knit the Waterlily too as it’s an amazing design. I just bought the mag from Loop the other day and was drooling over it straight away.
Great interview by the way. Always good to see fellow Chelsea students being successful ;)
The elegance of the Josephine shawl by Paulina Popiolek combined with the shade Nori I think would look wonderful. Reminds me of a sunny day in spring reflecting the colours of the sky.
I would choose ‘maille’ and knit myself the Stephen West pattern ‘Herbivore’ – mildly obsesses with his patterns just now and would LOVE to give that pattern/yarn combination a go :0) Typing with fingers crossed! Sue x
I would definitely knit a Raindrops sweater for my little girl, Delilah.
I would knit Occitan by Beth Kling
Gorgeous colours, I couldn’t pick between them! I would like to knit a pair of socks…..or maybe a cowl…..or maybe a shawl….. Oh I just love wool and knitting!
This yarn looks perfect for a small spring shawl like Damson by Ysolda.
I would make some lovely wrist warmers for me and my daughter in the lovely smokey peach, just right for Spring, x
I would knit a Citron in a soft grey.
Poison Ivy by Lily Go, would look gorgeous in this yarn.
Beautiful yarns awesome colours . Would be hard to pick just one. Well done.
Sand and sea is one of my favorite shawl in Nori or Waterlily. Perfect combination.
Oh my chambray looks totally lovely on a cool rainy morning in the States. I think the drape of Islington would simply be irresistible in Juju’s beautiful Charm pattern. Yum!
I would knit a Charm shawl with it. Still not sure about which colour yet, I would have to see which colour is missing from my shawls-already-made and my shawls-still-to-be-knitted!
This looks like wonderful yarn. I would knit Helen Stewart’s “Glitz at the Ritz” shawl in Old Smoke.
I love the soft greys, and would knit a shawlettes.
The yarns are so beautiful that I wouldn’t stop at only one skein. I would get more so that I could knit a cardigan, with an open-weave stitch.
I would knit ‘Swoon’ in Fog Soup.
That yarn is so beautiful! I’d knit Annis, using either the smokin’ peach or the chambray.
I would use Islington in Nori to knit a scarf in feather and fan because a pretty lacy stitch would look lovely in this yarn.
Looks lovely – too many possibilities – I have so many shawls queued on Ravelry so spoilt for choice but would probably go for Cloud Illusions by Boo Knits in Maille and gift to my daughter as it would suit her colouring.
I would love to knit a shawlette to wrap my new baby daughter in.
p.s. I meant to say Grandaughter in, not daughter. I got carried away! in the soft grey colour ways
Ysolda Teague’s Damson in Old Smoke
I would like to knit the Prairie shawl in Juju’s Loops
The colours are just divine for the summer season. I would knit a lace summer scarf
I would like a skein of maille as you know I love yellow! What beautiful yarn! I would make a ribbon lace scarf with the one skein, it would be the perfect spring into summer accessory. I would add pale lemon crystal beads, and a fringe.
I would choose Old Smoke and do the cowl “Song of the Sea”. These shades are so subtle and appeal to my artistic side!
Oooh, I would LOVE to win a skein of this beautiful yarn. I would choose one of the pale colours (perhaps Blighty) and knit a Garden View Shawlette by Tracey Withanee. Thanks for the opportunity!
Hmm. I think I would knit a fish hat or a unicorn scarf with the Felix color.
I would really love to make ‘Wings of the Dove’ by Julia Zakhlebina. All the colours are lovely, and I’m sure I would be happy with any, but I think maybe I most like the idea of wrapping myself in Blighty! Fabulous x
Margrathea in Chambray would make an ideal garment!
I would buy a second skein and knit a long sleeved lacy sweater with a shawl type back. The color I would choose is the very pretty pink.
If I were the luckiest, I would definitely knit a leaf lace cowl with a skein of Islington and stroll proudly in Islington (my borrow too) fashioning it.
What a lovely price to get. Thanks for introducing Kettle Yarn Co. and organising the competition. Good luck everyone!
What lovely yarn. Decisions, decisions….can’t resist Old Smoke to knit “Streusel” by Bonnie Sennott. Thanks for the great giveaway.
Bordergirl on Ravelry
This yarn looks divine! I would choose light squirrelly (what a cracking name!) and knit the beautiful ‘charm’ as I got the pattern on my last trip to loop in Islington
Something light and lacy yet warm round the neck for spring breezes, such as Ishbel, in Lotus!
I love the vestige and would knit a cowl some lovely patterns in pom pom quarterly
I would knit a christening shawl in Fog Soup for my best friend, who’s told me today that she’s expecting her first baby in September!
I would knit some fingerless gloves and a hat to match. I love all the colours and would love to go into the draw. thanks so much
I would like to knit “Prairie Shawl”from Juju loops in colour Maille.Looks complicated but but so beautiful so will give it a try.
Hello the yarn is gorgeous.
I would love a skein of squirrelly so I could squirrel away on my needles knitting the Beginners lace shawl.
I would knit the honeycomb mesh scarf (free pattern) by Churchmouse Yarns as I keep bees and I would use the Lotus colour as I teach yoga. Thank you for your great blog and the opportunity to win a free skein of yarn.
I would knit my daughter @charm’ in fog soup as pale grey is her favourite colour
I am new to lace knitting and have been meaning to try the free simple lace shawl, I love the Nori colour.
This yarn looks so lovely and soft. I will definitely use it to knit “Celes Wrap” in Nori Green.
May I say: that charm is charming! That would be great!
I would knit a teeny tiny cardigan for a friend’s much longed-for baby girl, due at the end of April.
I would knit a teeny tiny cardigan & matching hat for a friend’s much longed-for baby girl, due at the end of April, probably in the gorgeous colourway ‘lotus’.
I’m definitely thinking a shawl, but I’m not sure which one. Maybe Iron Maiden?
I would knit the Etched Rio Wrap in Nori. Such beautiful yarn in gorgeous colours.
I’m spending a lot of time at the moment marching about with a two-year-old in a pushchair and a three-month-old in a sling. Mornings are still nippy, but the sling means i can’t fasten my jacket, and i’m too scared to wear a scarf in case i smother the little one. So i’d make a nice close-fitting cowl like Sachiko Itoh’s Lava ( http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lava-cowl) in the lovely springlike nori.
Having just completed 3 lace knitting courses on Crafty I now feel confident to try a shawl. I had 4 patterns in mind so I did pin the tail on the shawl and came up with Dew Drops Shawl by Bex Hopkins in Lotus which should look lovely as a wrap to wear to my sons wedding – fingers crossed.
I would design a scarf to feature as part of the collection I will be launching alongside my new website in the summer
I would knit a wee Liesl in Nori Green
your article and interview reminds me of “Dye for Yarn”, a “two-women-company” in Germany, their yarn is also in your stock.I like the design of the PomPom-cover in Islington.
Have a nice day in London
Greetings from the North of Germany…
I’d knit a scarf for my mum to replace the (baby camel / silk, sigh) one she left on the train…
Seriously I have a pattern waiting for a right yarn :) this one – Kitty Paw cowl – in ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/kitty-paw-cowl
The Smokin Peach is immediately my first pick for colour- feminine but not over sweet- I may be brave enough to try an Ishbel shawl, pushing my skill but the pattern deserves such a yarn. And this yarn deserves such a pattern!
Thanks for the chance to win!
I would love to knit a lovely summer shawl for our summer which is on its way. A shawl is always needed and can be shared with all the family too.
I would knit a mountain moss shawl from pompom magazine. Such a lovely yarn
I’m knitting Juju Vail’s socks with an afterthought heel. I’ve officially caught the sock knitting bug. So I would use ‘Islington’ to create a beautiful pair of socks. A luxurious pair to wear at home, on flights and anywhere else!
Inspiring and love the Nori Green. I would probably
use it to cast on the new design from Curious Handmade –
Marvelous colors ! I would knit JuJu Vails hand warmers perfect for spring in Vancouver. something sea colored .
Beautiful yarn! I would make Ysolda Teague’s Ishbel in Light Squirelly.
Beautiful yarn! I would make Ysolda Teague’s Ishbel in Light Squirrelly.