First things first, tell us a bit about your business and how you got started.
I started working with wool when my youngest child was about 2 (he’s 16 now!), first needle and wet felting, and then knitting, and later dyeing. The business is ever evolving, but I can’t see me stopping dyeing any time soon and I have little energy to try new things! I am hoping to build a studio in the next few years – we’re desperately trying to save to build onto the house, so then I can lock the door and leave work in the evening. At the moment the house is overrun, with most of our living room and bedroom taken up with yarn, as well as equipment taking over the kitchen (and there may be just a little yarn in my eldest son’s bedroom when he’s at uni, but don’t tell him that 😉 ).
What’s your favourite product of yours and why?
Um, yarn!?! I don’t really have a favourite. I do love single ply – pretty much any single ply. I love the drape it gives, the way it takes dye, the irregularity of it I guess. I don’t care that it might pill/bobble a little – it’s nothing to give it a quick shave.
What yarn crafts are you into personally?
Dyeing and knitting. I tried crochet and got nowhere. I do love felting, but don’t really find time for it now – the fibre will be going in my personal destash soon because I need the space!!!
Debbie names everything, do you have names for any of your equipment or tools?
Only Desdemona, my mannequin. Everything else just gets sworn at occasionally!
What’s your favourite project you’ve ever made?
Tricky one. I think probably a rainbow romper, or perhaps a shawl, maybe the Villainess or Good Vibes. I don’t really have a favourite colourway for dyeing, just whatever my latest fav is depending on my mood.
If you came to TWM back in 2019 what did you like/dislike most about it?
I’ve never been. I can’t wait to be there! I’m so looking forward to TWM 2022!
What inspires your products?
Everything! Anything! Customers send me inspiration, which is one of my favourite ways to work. I run a Dyer’s Challenge on my FB group, for themed inspiration, suggested and picked by group members. I’ve run clubs with inspiration sent by each individual – heavy going on the dyeing, but some lovely colourways have come from music videos, screenshots from films, etc.
If you could collaborate with another TWM vendor, who would you choose and why?
I’m really terrible at names and am very introverted, so don’t really know many people. I love chatting to Almas (WitchCraftyLady) and she gives good hugs.
Who got you into yarn?
My younger two sons! And lots of friends from across the pond. My children all wore cloth nappies, and wool covers are fantastic over them, so I spent a small fortune having longies knitted, then started buying yarn to have them custom made, learnt to knit, learnt to dye… At the time there weren’t nearly as many small businesses in the UK and social media was more forums than FB, etc. so I bought nappies and yarn from US and Canadian artists.
What’s your favourite customer project?
Far too many to choose one. Of those that spring to mind immediately, a stunning very large wrap/blanket that was made with a silk blend, or perhaps a jumper made from an Advent calendar. I love seeing projects made with yarn I dyed – it amazes me how creative everyone is and what the yarn can become.
What’s the hardest part of what you do?
Marketing. Accounts. I just want to dye yarn. I’m terrible at social media, I don’t really put myself out there, won’t have photos taken of me, let alone videos! And accounts are just boring. Understanding all of the post Brexit mumbo jumbo is horrible too. Give me some yarn and some dyes!
You’re travelling to a yarn show, what are you listening to on the way?
My phone is generally on shuffle and then I skip what I don’t feel like listening too. It’s mostly New Model Army, with a little bit of Nirvana, Metallica, Apocalyptica, Pearl Jam, The Levellers… I’m not very adventurous.
What’s your favourite colour?
To wear, black. To dye – ALL the colours.
If you weren’t running a yarn business what would you be doing?
I’m not sure. Possibly Herbal Medicine. I’m not qualified to do much, so would have to go back to school, or find an entry level job. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I can’t really see much beyond dyeing.
What’s your favourite part of yarn shows?
Meeting everyone, although I am shattered and ‘peopled out’ by the end of a day and need a lot of downtime afterwards. I love putting faces to names and love seeing what people have made with the yarn they’ve bought online, or at past shows.
What yarn craft do you wish you were good at?
I fancy spinning and weaving.
Tell us 3 things we might not know about you.
I’m desperate to have another tattoo, but can’t draw a design (really bad at drawing and don’t fancy a stick man!) and I’m terrible at translating thoughts into words for someone else to design it.
I carry the Cystic Fibrosis gene mutation DF508. The most common mutation. Unfortunately my husband carries another and this means that one of our children has CF.
I love ice cream and I love mint chocolate. Mint choc chip ice cream is the best!
Do you tend to go for repeatable lines or one-off products? What’s your longest-running product, range or colourway?
Both. I have probably 500 potentially repeatable colourway recipes, but I do love just playing sometimes. A standard rainbow is probably one of my more popular and long running colourways.
Can you give us any hints of things you’ve got coming up soon?
I don’t really plan far ahead, I’m not that organised! I am hoping to build up my second business a little more – Fae Folk Fibres.
Do you have regular subscriptions or clubs? If so tell us about them.
I run a monthly sock yarn club – sock yarn and a few extra bits, usually sweets and whatever I see that looks good. This tends to be loosely themed, but a secret base and theme until it arrives.
I’ve just started a Periodic Table club. Each month I’ll be dyeing the next element! This could go on for quite some time, so may become a twice a month thing. This one is just yarn and you can choose the base.
And finally, just for fun, would you rather fight 100 chicken-sized zombies or 10 zombie-sized chickens?
Hmm. I don’t really know much about zombies or chickens, but don’t fancy running into zombies of any size. I guess if zombies can be small then the chickens could be too, so I’ll go for zombie sized chickens. Can I have some food for them?