What to stash this week, online or at your LYS

A collage of yarn trios from Dragonfly Fibers

In honor of LYS Day tomorrow, April 27, the Dragonfly team has created kits for Casapinka’s new pullover shawl (not a poncho!) called Magical Thinking. The yarn is the squishy Superwash Merino Dragon Sock and you can see the sample that North Carolina LYS Friends & Fiberworks worked up here in that last color combo — Silver Fox, Kelpie, Sixteen Candles— which is exclusive to their shop. You can get a list of the dozen shops that are carrying the kit here. Dragonfly will have the first three combos, along with their festival exclusive Carroll Creek Park colorway at Maryland Sheep & Wool.

A woman models a fuzzy gray sweater with a branch motif at the hem.

Speaking of mohair, Mary Annarella’s latest sweater design, Branches In Bloom, calls for holding a strand of mohair-silk lace weight with a strand of single-ply fingering.

Pink mohair silk yarn paired with a beige yarn

Heather of Sew Happy Jane has a mohair/silk laceweight that she has dyed up in some spring-ready colors. 

A mini white sheep wrapped in teal yarn.

Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations has debuted the newest must-have notion, the Suavest Sheep! 3D printed by Michelle using biodegradable polylactic acid, these cuties can be used to tidy your cast-on end, hold yarn joined in the middle of your project, act as a handy color swatch to carry with you, or make for an adorable display of your favorite yarns.

A woman wearing striped knee socks lounges on a fence with sheep.

Sweater Sisters’ newest team member, Dana Gervais, has released a new knee high sock pattern called Mojo. They feature 16 Bimini sparkle minis and Selena is offering the kits in two color sets. They are on sale through next Friday, May 3, only.

A woman models a pink and gray striped shawl

Kelly’s latest shawl design, Round the Mountain, has a combination of fun stitch patterns, color changes and shapes.

A trio of teal and gray yarn

Time for a DK spring sale! All DK in the Big Foot Fibers shop is 20% off through April 30 using the code DkSale.

My favorite finds at EYF 2019: Beyond Merino

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A collection of yarn, pompoms and buttons surrounds a poster for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

If the last two years at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival (and fiber events in general) were all about the speckle, then 2019 was the year of embracing sheep-y goodness in all its many varieties. The vendors at EYF have long promoted British wool, but this year it seemed like there was so much fiber content beyond Superwash Merino, even among the indie dyers who tend to gravitate towards that tried and true base.

My finds at EYF 2019 bore out that trend — in fact, I’m proud to say that there is no Superwash Merino in my haul!

Here are some of my favorite finds from this year’s EYF.

A table displayed with colorful yarn from La Bien Aimee.

One of the first things I had to check out was La Bien Aimée’s new base, Mondim. This yarn is collaboration between Aimee and Rosa Pomar, the owner of Retrosaria Rosa Pomar in Lisbon, Portugal. Rosa has created yarn bases comprised of wool from Portuguese sheep and they take more than two dozen of Aimee’s colors beautifully.

Jars of pink-hued buttons.

There were already a few sweater samples knit up, including Andrea Mowry’s LYS (which stands for Little Yellow Sweater) and Isabell Kraemer’s Eula, with her sample using buttons from ultra-tempting EYF vendor Textile Garden.

A skein of light aqua yarn.

I was also excited to see London-based dyer Ocean of Ocean By the Sea, whose botanically-dyed yarn was available in a special pop-up in Ysolda’s space at the festival. There were so many tempting soothing colorways and bases, including this skein of Falkland wool in the appropriately-named Beachcomber colorway.

A pile of brown-gray yarn.

No EYF would be complete without yarn from one of Scotland’s many islands. Uist Wool is a mill that has been based in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland since 2013. I was particularly attracted to their Canach cottongrass blend, spun from Scottish Merino, a cross breed of Shetland and Saxon Merino sheep. The flecks of white in the dark gray yarn I ended up buying makes for a beautiful natural speckle.

A wall of colorful yarn.

A cream colored sweater with gray and gold colorwork.

Kettle Yarn Co.‘s colorful display of Northiam DK British Bluefaced Leicester, which is spun and dyed at a British mill, also caught my eye, as did her sample of Caitlin Hunter’s Tecumseh.

A display of yarn and patterns.

Martin’s Lab (who I’m excited to have as part of this year’s Indie Untangled yarn club) debuted a new base called Aubrey Sport, a blend of BFL and silk. It was used in the Homecoming Collection of mitts to sweaters by 10 designers.

A flared pink sweater with a cream colored yoke.

Speaking of patterns, a couple of my favorites from the show did actually use Merino: I loved Fiona Alice’s grown-up version of her Mabel baby cardigan. This sweater, called Mabel’s Sister, uses Viola DK and was available in kits at the stand for Loop London.

A pink shawl with a green stripe.

I also loved glimpsing Casapinka’s latest designs in the wild, including this new multicolored shawl, Botanique, in collaboration with Walk Collection.

2018 Year In Review: IU dyers and yarns

I get so much inspiration from the knitters who find wonderful things to make with hand-dyed yarn — especially when they get creative and combine yarns from different indie dyers in colorwork projects, or find the perfect pattern for that semisolid or speckled colorway. Here’s a compilation of my favorite projects using yarn from Indie Untangled artisans.

Above is perhaps my favorite project of the year, Vicki’s All Points South with Dark Harbour Yarn Starboard, Duck Duck Wool Silky Singleton and The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers Foxy Lady. I love how the four colorways from three different dyers look meant for each other (and I definitely looked to Vicki’s pullover shawl, as the designer Casapinka calls it, as inspiration when knitting my version with Duck Duck Wool.

Mary’s Heart of Glass with Duck Duck Wool 80/20 Merino Silk Fingering

Carol’s Tulle Shawl with Spun Right Round Superwash Sock 80/20

Lavanya’s Rue St. Antoine with Astral Bath Yarns Astral Sport

Amanda’s Beeline with Marianated Yarns Scrumptious HT

Karen’s Yin & Yang Loop with Middle Brook Fiberworks Vintage No. 3

Jenn’s Stripey Cowl with Canon Hand Dyes Charles Sock

Elizabeth’s Sunset Highway with Hue Loco Single Sock, Skeinny Dipping Merino Single and Voolenvine Yarns Nouveau

Kate’s Guthrie with Spincycle Yarns Dyed in the Wool and The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers Juicy DK — which won the 2018 Indie Untangled KAL

2018 Year In Review: IU exclusives

One of the best things about running Indie Untangled is getting to work with talented dyers to come up with exclusive colorways, whether it’s for the Rhinebeck Trunk Show, the Knitting Our National Parks project or the Where We Knit yarn club. And while I love collecting hand-dyed yarn as much as the next knitter, I truly enjoy seeing those colorways put to use in beautiful sweaters, shawls, cowls and more.

For the 2018 Indie Untangled Year In Review, I’ve compiled some of my favorite projects that use Indie Untangled exclusives.

Pictured above is Cecilia’s Sunset Highway with La Bien Aimée Merino Singles in Automne à Rhinebeck, Asylum Fibers Solitary in Rhinebeck’s All The Craze, Dark Harbour Yarn Port in Davy Jones Locker and La Bien Aimée Merino Singles in Yellow Brick Road

Aimee’s Rainshadow in La Bien Aimée Merino Singles Kingston and Hudson

Janet’s Local Yarn Shawl with The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers Foxy Lady in Kiowa

Kelly’s Glaciers and Wildflowers Pullover with Duck Duck Wool DK Limited in Glaciers and Wildflowers

Tawana’s The Doodler with La Bien Aimée Merino Singles in Automne à Rhinebeck and Asylum Fibers Solitary in Rhinebeck’s All The Craze and Sleepless

Deborah’s Do It Up with Gauge Dye Works SHAWL: MCN Fingering in Hudson Valley

Jerrill’s Birds and Ships with Little Fox Yarn Vixen in Birds and Ships

Amy’s Close To You with Asylum Fibers Solitary in Acadia Lights

Abigail’s Concentra Cowl with Backyard Fiberworks Terrain in North Cascades Night and Merino 2/6

Maggie’s Lemon Pie with La Bien Aimée Merino DK in Automne à Rhinebeck

See many more FO’s using yarn from Indie Untangled dyers here.

What to knit with fingering yarn and stranded mohair

I have to admit, I’m warming up to mohair. Because it makes me itchy, I never sought it out. But after Jennifer of Spirit Trail Fiberworks showed me the photos of her yarn for this month’s installment of Knitting Our National Parks — the speckled Winter Wizardry and complementary mohair called Wizard Sky — I knew I had to have it in my stash.

Now, after researching all the new patterns popping up that incorporate mohair, and seeing Jennifer’s beautiful swatch using the two yarns stranded together, I realized I just have to knit with it!

Here are some pattern suggestions for using the two yarns together, in everything from hats to sweaters.

Hats

Sparkling Cider by Voolenvine

Azurine Hat by Ambah O’Brien

Hyde Park by Dragon Hoard Designs

úlfur hat by ash alberg

Cowls/ponchos

Ballerina by Julie Knits In Paris

Azurine Cowl by Ambah O’Brien

Speckled Snow by Lucinda Iglesias

Shawls

Birds of a Feather by Andrea Mowry

Fallen Leaves by Justyna Lorkowska

Growing Lilies by Webster Street Knittery

Merino & Mohair Shawl by Sarah Punderson

Slice of Light by Susanne Sommer (with another color of fingering)

Sweaters – Pullovers

Chelsea Sweater by Nancy Ricci

No Frills Sweater by PetiteKnit

Ambient by eri

Sweaters – Cardigans

Scapa by Alma Bali

Elton by Joji Locatelli

See all the suggestions on Ravelry.

What to stash this week, while it’s still fall

You still have time to snag Mudpunch’s Tavern Fall, an autumnal palette featuring broad stripes of orange, gold, turquoise and burgundy. It’s available (until sold out) on 385 yards of 80/20 Superwash Merino/nylon 4-ply sock yarn. Also in Chantel’s shop is Black Razzleberry, featuring city blues and purple which gives a preview of the winter to come.

Debbie of Murky Depths Dyeworks is preparing for winter on the horizon with bold, saturated hues. Colorways like Turmeric, Sirocco and Lucia are inspired by her prized collection of silk saris and family photos.

Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations will be hosting her first ever Facebook Live sale tonight at 9 p.m. EST! This fun event will include shawl pin styling tips, stories from Michelle’s fall events and the chance to snag Rare Breed shawl pins that have only been available at her shows.

Brooke of Fully Spun has new seasonal colorways of her millspun that looks like handspun, along with new bulky and aran weight bases. Kits for Francoise Danoy’s Icescape and Phlegethon shawls are also back in the shop.

Laura is back from Stitches SoCal and has plenty of goodies for sale. The shop will be stocked with new, never-before-sold items today at 9 a.m. PST.

Attention dyers: Carrie is gearing up for another production run of SkeinMinders and SkeinTwisters and both are discounted through Sunday, November 11 with the coupon code SMDISC.

Robin of October House Fibers has opened preorders for her Christmas Sweets Sock Sets, and there are several color combinations available. Orders close on November 25 and will ship out the first week of December, giving you plenty of time for holiday knitting.

Shauna of Farm Girl Fibers just updated her shop with a variety of fall- and winter-inspired colors, including red, green, blue, brown and plum tonals. There are plenty of sweater quantities available on fingering Merino/nylon and worsted Merino.

In celebration of her two new pattern releases, A Foxy Frolic and Snowflake Man, Mona of bunnymuff is having an exclusive Indie Untangled promotion! Use the code SnowyFrolic in her Ravelry shop and receive an automatic $2 off each pattern through November 19.

Getting ready for Rhinebeck with Mason-Dixon Knitting

This is the 12th in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of the 2018 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner of Mason Dixon Knitting have been corresponding about knitting since 2003, so they know a thing or two about Rhinebeck. This year, they will be the hostesses with the mostest in what is being dubbed the MDK Lounge at the fifth annual Indie Untangled Trunk Show.

I recently asked Ann and Kaye about their plans for the big weekend:

Who are you both most looking forward to seeing at the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show?

An event like Indie Untangled gives us the opportunity to see our invisible internet friends in actual 3D human form — it’s incredibly good fun. We’ll be in the Indie Untangled Lounge all day — beginning at 1 p.m. rope drop! — so we hope to say Hi to as many folks as we can. Really looking forward to talking yarns and designs with everybody. Pub nights are kind of a branded thing with us. We love a good sit ’n’ knit.

Tell me about some of the most recent dyers that you’ve stocked your shop with.

The MDK Shop, our online yarn emporium, features a bunch of dyers that we admire and respect so much — a number of them are Indie Untangled vendors, and we’re proud to be working with them. Recently, that group includes Julie Asselin of Julie Asselin Yarns, Amy Lee Serradell of Canon Hand Dyes and Alice O’Reilly of Backyard Fiberworks. We met them all at Indie Untangled, so it’s a bit of a reunion to get to see them again. And we have an MDK exclusive, beautiful yarn coming soon from Karin Maag-Tanchak and Jill Draper.

Are there any indie dyers and designers that you think should be on knitters’ radars?

We often say we’re living in a golden age of yarn — it’s hard for us to keep up with the dyers who are emerging on the scene, but what a wonderful problem to have. Naturally-dyed yarns are really making us happy these days. Brooke Sinnes of Sincere Sheep is brilliant at pairing beautiful fibers with her color sense. Marcia McDonald of Lana Plantae gets these incredibly vibrant colors from plant dyes. And Meg Anderson of Nutmeg Yarns is working in the gentlest, softest palette imaginable.

Ann’s Birkin by Caitlin Hunter.

What are you each planning to wear to both Indie Untangled and the New York Sheep & Wool Festival?

We hope for a daily high of 57 degrees, because that is the perfect temperature for SWEATA WEATHA. Ann has about a half dozen potential sweaters, ranging from Carbeth by Kate Davies (in case there is a blizzard—that thing is HOT) to Birkin by Caitlin Hunter (fingering weight). Kay is madly knitting away on a vintage Kaffe Fassett kit from 1986 that is going to ROCK THE FESTIVAL one of these days (three years since cast-on! This could be the year!). If the Kaffe is not quite ready for showtime, and even if it is, Kay’s brand-new Savage Heart Cardigan by Amy Christoffers is going to make its maiden voyage this year.

What do you think is going to be the most-seen sweater at Rhinebeck this year?

Our prediction: many, many, many yoke sweaters. When have we ever had such a bumper crop of yoke designs? My guess: Humulus (Isabell Kraemer). More Birkins (Caitlin Hunter) Fades being found all over the place. And Carbeth, our Bang Out a Sweater sweater of 2018, will surely be everywhere if the temps are cool enough. (You could cast one on right now and get it done in time. We aren’t kidding when we say BANG OUT.)

Tell me the projects that are currently on your needles.

Ann: Making a giant Parallelogram Scarf by Cecelia Campochiaro from MDK Field Guide No. 5: Sequences. And Thea Colman’s Appleseed Mitts from MDK Field Guide No. 8: Merry Making. And every other pattern from that Field Guide because we’re in the midst of a giant Bunchalong on MDK, where knitters are making holiday gifts in multiples. I’ve got ten weeks and a mighty momentum getting warmed up.

Kay: Currently blocking: three (three!) Stranded Diamonds Hats from MDK Field Guide No. 8. Next up: untold numbers of Slip-Stitch Caps and Appleseed Mitts and Chalice Cowls from Field Guide No. 8. I’m going to win the Bunchalong. (Wait — I’m not eligible to win the Bunchalong. But: bragging rights!)

Stranded Diamonds Hats from MDK Field Guide No. 8.

What are each of your favorite FOs from the last year?

Ann: I love my Birkin yoke sweater by Caitlin Hunter so, so much. I used Backyard Fiberworks Sock in the shades of Jamberry and Patio, aka the loudest colorway I’ve ever made. It makes me feel pretty and witty and bright.

Kay: My most recent FO is always my fave. I love love lurve my Savage Heart Cardigan, and may cast on a second one in Spud & Chloe Sweater, because it’s such a perfect match for the pattern. I also have to give a big thumbs-up to the Parallelogram Scarf from Field Guide No. 5. I’ve made 2, which are really 3, since the second one was a double-wide version. Once you start some soothing sequence knitting with Freia Fibers’ slow-changing Shawl Balls, you can’t really find a good stopping point. Just… keep… knitting…

What to stash this week: catch this

You are guaranteed to geek out over all the cool and inclusive knitting goodies from Portland, Oregon-based Nerd Bird Makery, including enamel pins, apparel, totes and paper goods, including art prints, greeting cards and gift tags.

Alisa of KnitSpinQuilt and Debbie of Murky Depths Dyeworks have created a limited-edition, aquatic-themed kit with a lovely Koi Pond color scheme. The kits include a skein of Murky Depths Deep Sock, dyed in multiple tonal layers of teal with little pops of goldfish orange, and medium-sized drawstring project bag sewn by Alicia. Kits will be available for preorder from October 5-25 and you can customize it to include a large project bag or add an additional skein of the yarn.

Best of all: 10% of the purchase price of each kit will be donated to RAICES to help in the ongoing effort to reunite migrant children with their parents. If all the kits sell out, they will donate an additional 5%.

Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations is celebrating the one-year anniversary of her rebrand and new website with a discount and a free gift! Use code CELEBRATE for 10% off and a little extra treat through tomorrow.

Slipped Stitch Studios Halloween Spooked Bags are limited and ready to ship! They go on sale today at 9 a.m. Pacific time.

Heather’s Yarn Barn is hosting a fun online “Spooktacular,” including scavenger hunts with a special Halloween discount on your purchase and trick or treating with free gifts. Also check out Heather’s Michael Myers-themed yarn, The Shape.

Bunnymuff has a new colorwork cardigan named for one of the many Scottish terms for snow.

What to stash this week: Fall pairings

Kate and her crew at Dragonfly Fibers are gearing up for a busy fall, with New York Sheep and Wool, SAFF, STITCHES SoCal (they’ll be featured there on the Yarnover Truck there) and local trunk shows. They’ve also prepared some amazing kits for Andrea Mowry’s The Throwback and Catherine Clark’s Ixchel Pullover. And, they’re giving back: above is a new colorway, called Carolina, and 25% of their sales through December will go to the organization Global Giving, which is helping with Hurricane Florence relief, among many other projects.

Marian of Marianated Yarns has collaborated with Carolyn Bloom of of Bloom Handmade Studio on Marilyn’s Cowl and Hat, which are both knit holding multiple strands of different yarns: two strands of Marianated Yarns Ava Lace together with one strand of Aerie (mohair/silk lace) and one strand from an MCN gradient set. Marian has made kits available in several different colors and a KAL will be held in Carolyn’s Ravelry group starting October 8.

Marian has also collaborated with Katy Carroll of Katinka Designs in celebration of Knitmas. There are two Knitmas kits, one for a shawl and one for a poncho, available for preorder.

Designer Barbara Benson collaborated with The Fiber Seed on Every Witch Way, an innovative lace shawl that uses a single skein of yarn. A two-panel, top-down triangle version uses yarn with one of The Fiber Seed’s dye techniques, while the three-panel, 3/4 square version uses another.

Kate of McMullin Fiber Co. has opened signups for the Jane Eyre installment of the McMullin Fiber Co. Literature Society. Single dose packages will contain one skein of yarn and some extra goodies inspired by the novel, while double dose packages come with two skeins.

Woodsy and Wild’s new Sapling bag and Maple tote are perfect for winter accessory knitting and sweater knitting/fiber festival season! Both will be in Shannon’s shop this Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Michelle of Crafty Flutterby Creations has updated her shop with a collection of shawl pins perfect for keeping your latest hand knit in place on crisp fall evenings.

Winter is coming… so get your Sheep Squeezers. Nicole of One Sock Wonder Bags has limited quantities of Sheep Squeezers, which hold your yarn cakes in place, with a Game of Thrones-inspired design by Bulgarian artist Karamfila Siderova.

Heather Anderson’s Knitting in the City KAL kicks off October 1 and includes seven city-themed patterns: four shawls, two cowls and a pair of mittens. The latest pattern, Amsterdam Canals Cowl, is 25% off through Sunday.

My Mama Knits has a new set of Halloween colorways, including the newest addition to her Scottish Myths and Legends series, The Gorbals Vampire. Her Advent calendars have also started shipping out.

Canon Hand Dyes is now taking preorders for Outlander minis sets.

Samantha Guerin has released Eastern Glow, a crescent shawl that uses two skeins of fingering weight yarn.

Introducing Indie Untangled newcomer Humble Pie Design.

Viola’s ‘Knits About Winter’

This is the 10th in a series of blog posts featuring the fabulous sponsors of the 2018 Rhinebeck Trunk Show.

Ever since I discovered indie-dyed yarn, Viola has been one of the dyers whose yarns I have lusted after. Emily’s colors are lightly speckled, but not the eye-poppingly bright speckles that have become popular in recent years. They’re more like gelato, with subtle swirls that look good enough to eat.

While following Emily’s business over the years, through her work experience with UK-based mill John Arbon Textiles — which created a line of colors inspired by her — to her move to a studio in Mooresburg, Ontario, and development of bases, like her Mooresburg DK, it was my dream to have her vend at the Indie Untangled Rhinebeck Trunk Show. So I was thrilled when, earlier this year, Amy of Pom Pom Quarterly asked if Emily could have a booth to sell her yarns, which would be featured in Knits About Winter, a book of Emily’s designs that Pom Pom Press was publishing in the fall.

In advance of the premier of Knits About Winter at the New York Sheep & Wool Festival (you can preorder your copy from the Merritt Bookstore to pick up in their booth at the festival), I spoke to Emily about the book and her work as a dyer.

What inspires the designs in Knits About Winter?

Knits About Winter is entirely inspired by the winter landscape surrounding my home in Mooresburg, Ontario. I moved here at the beginning of a very cold and snowy winter a few years ago and was almost instantly captivated by the quiet magic of winters here. Winter can be cold and harsh but also mysterious and magical. My goal with each of the designs in Knits About Winter was to create patterns that would be warm and comfortable in the cold of winter, all the while remembering the colours, shapes and light of winter.

Did you come up with new colorways for the collection?

Yes! There are four new Viola colourways that are launching at the same time as the book. Each colourway is also inspired by Mooresburg winters past and present. I knew roughly what I wanted each colour to be, but did a lot of visual research and experimenting before I landed on the finished colourways. Visual research is one of the most fun jobs that I have, especially in winter, because it involved frequent snowshoeing adventures with my camera! Each colourway is inspired by a variety of different sights in my winter landscape. I decided to combine elements of texture, light, shape and, of course, colour that stood out to me and suited the palette I wanted to achieve.

Do you have a favorite pattern from the collection and, if so, why is it your favorite?

My answer to this question changes every day, so I suppose they’re all my favourites. My focus was to create designs that would be versatile and serviceable, yet beautiful. I also wanted to create pieces that would be easy to layer and wear together, so I think of these patterns as a knitted outfit rather than individual pieces. I can honestly say that I can’t wait to wear all of them, and am so pleased with their minimalistic beauty and wearability.

Tell me about how you got started dyeing yarn.

After working in a small knitting store in Toronto, I discovered the wonders of hand-dyed yarns. It didn’t take long before I was experimenting with dyes for myself, and just a little while longer before customers at the shop claimed skeins for themselves. The business grew quickly from there, along with my dyeing and business skills. I learned everything as I went along, through lots of trial and error and lots of making mistakes.

How did you decide on the name Viola?

That was an easy decision actually. Viola is the name of both of my grandmothers! Both women were seriously talented knitters and made my sister and I countless amazing outfits. One grandma is even known to have been able to knit whilst reading a book and snacking (I think apple slices were her favourite).

Do you have a favorite color or colors, and have they changed since you became a dyer?

That’s even trickier than choosing a favourite design from the book! I find that my colour preferences change reliably with the seasons, even more than they change through the years. Since I started dyeing yarn I have developed a more focused way of observing colours around me. Right now (and I think always) I know that I am drawn to complex, layered and hazy colours. I’ll always pause to inspect a colour under frost or water or behind mist. Reflections in puddles or the sky hidden by clouds. A bright colour might catch my eye, but it is usually the murky tones, textures and light around that colour that interest me. I also like to explore the balance between warm and cool in colours, and often prefer shades that land right in the middle.

That said, I do have some favourite starting points, they become more faded and subdued in the winter and a little more colourful towards the summer. All types of pink, copper, peach, beige, gold and olive are my go to shades, and I use these colours more often than you might think in all Viola colourways.

Is there a color that you would love to dye, but that is challenging to create?

This happens to me quite often, actually. The more layers of dye in a colourway, the easier it is to tip too far in one direction or another and become too hazy or simply transform into another colour altogether. Often I discover great new ideas when overdyeing colours that I’m not happy with, and that’s just what happened with a colour called Peat that I’ve been struggling with for months. I’ll get there, because it is a beautiful and moody colour (and I want to knit a sweater with it!) but often the first run of a colour is almost impossible to recreate for me.

Tell me about the decision to work for John Arbon. What were some of the best things you learned while there and how did it inform your dyeing?

About three years after I “accidentally” started Viola I was feeling overwhelmed by how quickly the business had grown. It was a fluke that John and Juliet had a job opening up exactly when I contacted them, and even more of a fluke that they took a chance on a Canadian girl they’d never spoken to before! I think it only took about a month or two from contacting them, to boarding the plane to England.

I loved working for John and Juliet as well as living in beautiful North Devon. I learned more that I could have ever hoped to about fibre, yarn construction and operating loud and dangerous fibre processing machinery. I think the most useful thing that I took away from my time at John Arbon Textiles was John and Juliet’s attitude, creativity and work ethic. I never slacked off at Viola, but would often struggle when a problem arose. Running a small business, this happens at least once a day. Watching John and Juliet navigate similar issues rationally and calmly taught me that there is no ready made solution and I have to figure it all out for myself. I still struggle with complicated problems and decisions, of course, but take comfort in the fact that I am in control of the journey as well as the outcome.

How has having a new studio space changed your business?

I have been working in the new studio space for just over two years. When we renovated the space I was optimistic that it would make my dyeing process more efficient and as of about three months ago, it finally did. My answer to this question two years ago would have been that the new space will allow me to dye more yarn and be more productive. While that would have been fantastic, I think my business gained something even more valuable – resiliency. Countless things have broken, gone wrong, fallen apart, frozen, blown up and been eaten by ants. Just at the moment that one problem was fixed, the next one materialized. Amidst it all, I simply had to keep going and deal with the issues as they arose. The new studio space as taught me that good things take time, and lots of patience. It’s working really well at the moment, but I am still braced for the next potential catastrophe.