As well as dyeing yarn and fibre and trying to weave as much as possible, I am also a teacher… and last week I worked three and a half days supply in a school that, although not massively far away from me, required a chunk of motorway commuting, which is the only reason I can account for the fact that it took me nearly an entire week to stumble across Countess Ablaze’s post about her response to some plagiarism.
It’s a funny thing, dyeing… in many ways there is only so much you can do that is innovative in terms of technique, so that brings the distinguishing feature for a number of us down to colour. What dyes we use, how we mix up our own combinations from the originals, how intense we make the dye solutions and so on. Those of you who know me well will know that I have made no secret of how much I love the work done by Jon of EasyKnits, and I think you could see that starting point in my own dyeing as I set up the busiess, in as much as I love to use bright intense colours at times. But for all I love Jon’s dyeing, I tend to avoid his social media presence these days, because I am utterly petrified that I would inadvertently copy one of his colourways. So to find out that someone has purchased a skein of If I Want Exposure, I’ll Get My Tits Out, an limited edition Countess Ablaze colourway sold specifically to raise money for a cause, and then produced their own version to sell for profit is infuriating.
But the thing about the Countess is, she may be ragey, but she’s classy ragey. She has released the name into the wild and encouraged other indy dyers to make their own version, inspired by the original colourway, with at least £3 per skein going to a charity of their choice. Its since been widened out to designers and notions makers too, with a percentage again going to charity. All products will launch on individual sellers’ platforms at 12 noon BST on Sunday 1st July and sellers can choose how much or how little they sell, and how long for.
So, baring in mind I decided to jump in at less than a week’s notice to launch, I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve come up with. First up is If I Want Exposure I’ll Get My Tits Out With The Sheep, dyed on one of my favourite fibre blends, 70% Grey Shetland and 30% Tussah Silk. I use magenta, violet and orange on coloured fibre quite often because I love the way the coloured fibre gives a depth and richness, but I’ve used a stronger concentration than I normally would. Each braid moves from dark to lighter tones and features magenta, orange lemon, purple and violet. I’ve dyed 6 100g braids which will sell at £13, with £3 per braid going to my chosen charity, The Joshua Tree.
In terms of the yarn, I’ve gone for handpaints. Every single skein of yarn is painted separately, so every single skein is different – in some, the colours have spread out more, or blended together more. This is the joy of hand paints! Again, I’ve used magenta, orange, lemon, purple and violet in stronger concentrations that I do usually. This colourway is If I Want Exposure I’ll Get My Tits Out Halfway Up A Mountain and I’ve dyed 6 skeins of Mobberley 4 ply, my custom blend of 70% Exmoor Blue Face 30% British Alpaca (100g, 333m).
I will also put some pre-orders up for other bases, which will of course, take the dye slightly differently, but I’ll save that for another blog post at the weekend. It’s looking like there will be at least one brand new base though! Again, £3 for each skein will go to The Joshua Tree. This is a charity providing support to families across the North West of England and into North Wales who are dealing with childhood cancer. As a teacher I’ve seen the upheaval childhood cancer can cause in family life, particularly in terms of education of the child with cancer and, often inadvertently forgotten, their siblings. The Joshua Tree provides emotional and practical support and their help is beyond value.
So… watch out over the next few days as the woolly social media is flooded with the #titsoutcollective hashtg. I never thought I’d be be getting my tits out, but it seems like I am…