Monty@Home Q&A’s – Marina Skua

What’s your favourite product of yours and why?

It’s so hard to choose as I only carry yarns and create designs that I really love! I think for yarn I’d usually say Mendip DK, my woollen-spun workhorse yarn, because it’s so versatile and the colour palette is so easy to work with. But at the moment I am so keen on the new, summery colours of Caia Baby Alpaca that I’ve just introduced. They’re light, fresh and airy, and on a truly soft, lightweight yarn they’re perfect for those warm-weather layering pieces.
As for designs, I’m so proud of Boskular, which is an organically symmetrical yoked jumper inspired by tree roots and branches.

What yarn crafts are you into personally?

So many! As a dyer and knit designer, those are obviously my main crafts, but I also enjoy spinning and weaving.

What’s your favourite project you’ve ever made?

I think it would have to be a jumper I knitted a couple of years ago from hand-spun yarn. I made it from wool and alpaca fleece that I sourced from local farms and processed myself. It was my first hand-spun garment, and a first project using completely traceable labour and materials, which are things that are really important to me in my crafting.

What inspires your products?

I’m all about sourcing my fibres locally and working in an environmentally respectful way as possible. Perhaps because of that, I take a lot of inspiration from nature and the landscape around me.

Who got you into yarn?

I grew up with various craft materials around the house and was taught to knit quite early on by both of my grandmas – on separate occasions. It took a few attempts at learning before it finally stuck!

What’s your favourite customer project?

A long-standing customer knitted one of my colourwork designs – the Andlang Hat – in leftovers of all different colours of Mendip DK yarn, creating a beautiful gradient effect that’s so unexpectedly beautiful. It was a really creative use of yarn that also has excellent zero-waste credentials!

What’s the hardest part of what you do?

Finding the time to balance all the things I want to do! I love producing yarn as well as designing, but the designs have such long lead times on them and I always have far more ideas that I have time to actually bring into the world.

What’s your favourite colour?

Burnt orange. Well, like a brick red. Or maybe like a dark sludgy green – or a really delicate light sage green. No, duck egg blue! Or teal? And that goes so well with burgundy… Nope. Far too hard a question!

What’s your favourite part of yarn shows?

For physicaal shows, it’s meeting people – especially people I’ve chatted to online and haven’t met in person. Those long conversations about my yarn and work and inspiration, and being able to put things in people’s hands, and seeing the things customers have made with my yarn or patterns. Online shows are great and make things a lot more accessible, and have definitely been a lifesaver over the last year and a bit, but that interactive part of shows is something I’m truly missing.

Do you tend to go for repeatable lines or one-off products? What’s your longest-running product, range or colourway?

These days I mostly dye ranges of repeatable colours, but every so often I like to mix it up with limited editions and clubs. It makes it a lot more fun! my longest-running yarn range is Mendip 4-Ply which I introduced in a small collection of colours in spring 2018.

Can you give us any hints of things you’ve got coming up soon?

On Wednesday 16th June I’m releasing an open colourwork cardigan pattern called Galdor, in collaboration with Woolly Mammoth Fibre Co. It’s an unusual design with wide, shorter sleeves, and colourwork round the front edge and sleeve cuffs.

Do you have regular subscriptions or clubs? If so tell us about them

I occasionally do a three-month yarn club, though don’t have one open at the moment. The best way to keep an eye out for when I open up a new club is to sign up to my mailing list on www.marinaskua.com.
I have a YouTube channel for my video podcast, and also have a Patreon page, which gives access to exclusive videos, discounts on yarn and patterns, and regular Zoom sessions.

And finally, just for fun, would you rather fight 100 chicken-sized zombies or 10 zombie-sized chickens?

Oooosh, I think I’d have to go for the many smaller zombies – you’d have to hope they’d be really slow, therefore easier to take down. But I’d love to meet the giant chickens if they were friendly!