Karie Bookish Dot Net

For the Love of Indie Dyers


A big thank you to Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarns for sending me this sneak peek of her new yarn, Milburn 4ply. It arrived last week and it brightened up the day. I am yet to wind any of the skeins and swatch, but I have played with colourwork patterns in my head. That oatmeal/grey colour is particularly speaking to me – I am going through a bit of a neutral phase – and I love how the other colours sing to each other. Designing a palette is always hard (every colour needs to be distinct but still play well with the others) but Vicki has pulled it off.

The UK has some of the most amazing indie dyers and I feel so fortunate that I have ready access to names like Vicki, Skein Queen (new website!), Juno Fibre Arts, Lioness Yarns, Kettle Yarn Co., Triskelion Yarns, and The Knitting Goddess. Yarn is shipped quickly and I get to see them ‘live’ at the various shows. Scotland is particularly strong on indie dyers: I’m a huge fan of  Old Maiden Aunt; RipplesCrafts‘ amazing colours are pulled from her Highland surroundings, and The Yarn Yard is well-established as a go-to dyer for sock lovers.

One of the many things I really appreciate about many UK dyers is their commitment to offering a variety of bases – many of which are UK-specific breeds. Sourcing the right bases is one of the hardest thing for an indie dyer (followed closely by being able to source enough for a sustainable business) but so many of them are now selling yarns that are so much more than just a merino or a wool/nylon mix. They are showing a real commitment to showcasing the best of British fibre – and I think this is something we should celebrate. They are small, local businesses, they are supporting other small, local businesses and knitters get to discover what makes Polwarth wool different from Corridale wool, say. Win-win for all concerned.

Louise Scollay of KnitBritish recently wrote about the Dos and Donts of Knitting Locally. It is a wonderful post which pokes holes in a lot of myths surrounding knitting locally. It does not have to be more expensive, nor is it more difficult to care for. Being thoughtful about your yarn choices is maybe something to requires a bit more mindfulness (especially next time you are in a yarn shop and are overcome with omg, all the yarn!) but it is doable and rewarding.

I’d love to see a big collaboration between indie dyers and local designers. I try to work with as many indie dyers as I can, but I am just one person. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a plethora of the best UK indie designers collaborating with the best UK indie dyers? How do you as a knitter feel about this? What would you love to see happening within the UK indie community? And who are your favourite dyers? I know there are some dyers I am yet to discover!

10 Thoughts on “For the Love of Indie Dyers

  1. Lorraine on February 14, 2014 at 2:38 pm said:

    Many of my favourite dyers you have mentioned above, but two others (both based in Scotland) are Yarn Pony and Abstract Cat

  2. Oooooh, I have a hankering after some YarnPony. Definitely need some of that in my life! Mica’s blues are amazing.

  3. Have you tried Countess Ablaze? For cheaper yarns I’m impressed by West Yorkshire Spinners, it’s British wool, spun in Yorkshire and some of the ranges are machine washable and suitable for babies or children.

  4. My favourite is Laughing Yaffle – amazingly colourful sock yarn.

    • Lorraine on February 14, 2014 at 3:31 pm said:

      I love her self-striping yarn, I’ve just finished a pair of socks in striped pinks and greens and the colour is cracking :-)

  5. The UK is such an amazing place for yarn! I have an online list of brands for just this kind of thing. It’s more of a personal wishlist I’ve chosen to share…

  6. I have yet to try many of the ones you have mentioned, but I do love the Knitting Goddess. I also like Jillybeans – I’ve picked up some lovely skeins at Woolfest and Yarndale. And yes, with so many sheep around and so much on offer in UK wool/dyers, we’re completely spoiled for choice and it’s very easy to knit and support our local businesses. My favourite all-round British wool to knit with is Titus and I love all the colours and softness of John Arbon’s alpaca skeins.

  7. Thank you for the mention! It is a job that I absolutely love and treasure.

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