First things first, tell us a bit about your business and how you got started.
I started Lottieknits in January 2017, after learning to dye about 18 months before that and falling in love with it. When I started, I dyed yarn in my friend’s garage and in September 2019 I moved to my own studio in an arts hub called Make Hamilton, in Birkenhead (which is where the famous ‘ferry cross the Mersey’ sails to Liverpool from). You can find my yarns on my website at lottieknits.com and follow me on Instagram @lottieknits.
What’s your favourite product of yours and why?
That’s a really hard question to answer! I love all my yarns, but right now I’m loving my Baby Suri base, it’s made from Baby Suri Alpaca and Mulberry Silk, and it’s super soft and fluffy, perfect if you like fluffy yarn but don’t get on with mohair. It’s a heavy laceweight, but its super versatile, you can use it on big or small needles, depending on the fabric you want, or hold it together with another yarn, and it’s beautiful in lace stitches.
What yarn crafts are you into personally?
Knitting is my main craft, but I sometimes crochet too. I can also do macrame, which I learnt as a child from my school art teacher, that’s the first craft that made me fall in love with textiles. I’ve recently taken up embroidery again after a long break. I just love making things!
Debbie names everything, do you have names for any of your equipment or tools?
Not really, I think if I did I would get too attached when a piece of equipment inevitably breaks or needs replacing! My car is called Milo, but it was named by the previous owner and I didn’t have the heart to change it.
What’s your favourite project you’ve ever made?
That is really tough, now that I’m a full-time dyer I don’t get much time to knit, I haven’t finished a project at all this year. I suppose it’s a shawl called Wild Poppies (available on Payhip), that I designed years ago before I started dyeing yarn. It’s lovely to wear and fun to knit and I know it’s brought joy to other knitters who have made it.
Who got you into yarn?
I got myself into yarn, I suppose. I became ill while studying at University (eventually I was diagnosed with M.E. which I still have) and wasn’t well enough to continue my course, so I taught myself to knit with some yarn from a hardware store and a book from the library, while I was stuck at home and not well enough to work. When I was well enough to work part-time, I got a job at a lovely local yarn shop and then worked at a yarn company.
What’s your favourite customer project?
It’s really hard to pick just one! I love seeing anything made with my yarns, and my customers have made some beautiful projects, including their own designs and I don’t think I could pick just one!
What’s the hardest part of what you do?
Knowing when to stop and rest. I have lots of ideas, but I also have a chronic illness, which often stops me from pursuing them all. Usually, I push myself too hard and then my body forces me to stop, which is pretty frustrating.
You’re travelling to a yarn show, what are you listening to on the way?
Other than my internal anxiety monologue about driving to new places, probably something upbeat on the radio. If I’m on a train then it’s probably a Podcast.
What’s your favourite colour?
Probably purple or teal, but I love coral pink and green as well. I adore bright colours so it’s really hard to just pick one!
If you weren’t running a yarn business what would you be doing?
I have no idea, I’ve worked in the yarn industry for over ten years and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
What’s your favourite part of yarn shows?
Meeting people who love yarn and talking to them about the projects they have planned. I’m enthusiastic about yarn and it’s nice to talk to other people who are too!
What yarn craft do you wish you were good at?
I wish I had more time to practice my crochet and get my tension more consistent, and I’d love to try punch needling.
Do you tend to go for repeatable lines or one-off products? What’s your longest-running product, range or colourway?
I have a mix of repeatable semi-solid colours and one-off variegated shades, although everything is a one-off unless it’s popular enough! I still have a colourway that I dyed in my very first update that I bring back regularly, it’s called ‘A Cat With Eyes Like Jewels’ and it’s a gorgeous rich green. I couldn’t just do repeatable shades because I like experimenting too much.
Can you give us any hints of things you’ve got coming up soon?
I have a new base coming for The Wool Monty At Home! It’s called Worker Bee Sock and it’s a 4ply weight Bluefaced Leicester and Nylon sock yarn. It’s got a tight 2ply twist, so it has amazing stitch definition and makes really hardwearing socks.
Do you have regular subscriptions or clubs? If so tell us about them
I have a Mini Fade Club, and subscriptions for that will open again next month! You get a set of 5 x 20g mini skeins dyed into a beautiful fade every month and you can add a co-ordinating 100g skein as well if you want.
And finally, just for fun, would you rather fight 100 chicken-sized zombies or 10 zombie-sized chickens?
Ok, so what size is a zombie really? Theoretically, any living creature could be a zombie, so a zombie sized chicken could be the size of a chicken. So I’ll pick the 10 zombie sized chickens because they can’t make me a zombie. I don’t really want to fight them, chickens aren’t usually interested in you unless you have food, I mean, why do I need to fight them? Are they angry with me because I’m in their space? If that’s the case then I guess I’ll just back up and leave them to do their thing.