Category Archives: enabling

Product names I never thought use…

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.

With the Sheep - Grey Shetland Tussah Silk

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).

Halfway Up A Mountain - Mobberley 4ply
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…

Artboard 1@2x

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Fancy A Voyage of Discovery?

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It seems amazing to me that we are already looking at the end of the first moth of 2018. It feels like but a short time ago I was halfway through college, and now look where we are!

If you want to know about my recent college journey and what I’ve done since it finished, I recommend you catch up on the last few episodes of the podcast (Episodes 96 onwards). Whilst I was reviewing the weaving journey I’ve been on, and also thinking about my visit to Skye last year, I dreamt up the Voyager Fibre Club.

The Voyager Fibre Club is a chance to widen your horizon with a fibre and exclusive colourway inspired by a geographical, historical or scientific journey. Every other month you will receive 100g of fibre, dyed in an exclusive colourway inspired by the journey theme. The fibre might be 100% breed specific, or it may be a blend, but will always contain at least 70% British or British Overseas Territory wool. Some months the fibre may be a familiar friend; other times it may be a custom blend specifically created for the club!

You can choose to order a parcel of 100g, 200g or 300g of the fibre; prices start from £15 for one instalment of 100g or £40 for three consecutive instalments of 100g.

Clubs will be sent out by the 28th of the month in March, May, July, September and November and the price includes postage within the UK. Additional postage will apply for locations outside of the UK.

The deadline to register for the March 2018 instalment is March 14th unless the club sells out beforehand. Registration opens to the public on the 1st February and spaces are limited. I can’t wait for you to join me on this Voyage!

Nic x

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Fluph

Well, last week saw me return to my favourite yarn shop in Dundee, fluph. As the website states, it is more than just a yarn shop. It is a sanctuary, a place of warmth and laughter and the heart of a wee knitting community that stretches further than the outer edges of Dundee.

 

2016-05-25 18.09.10

The owner LJ is one of the nicest people in the industry and a pleasure to spend time with. She’s worked hard to build a real sense of community around the shop and I love to do trunk shows here as it feels much more like an afternoon spent with friends than a hard-sell in a yarn shop.

As for an illustration of what I mean by a community that stretches beyond the bounds of Dundee, I give you this picture:

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This is a picture of LJ (on the right) and Lilith, the genius behind Old Maiden Aunt. Lilith had come for a day out from West Kilbride, on the other side of the country, along with Ange Sewell, of Weftb Blown, over whom I have to admit I got a bit fan-girly. I’ve been following Ange for a while on Instagram and I love her work. She is a weaver inspired by the Scottish weather, and she completed the same course at Bradford that I’m currently on a couple of years ago. I find her work really inspirational and when I grow up I’d like to be just like her!

So it was a successful trip and a delight to go back to Dundee, in addition of course to seeing Arthur and Oskar, LJ’s gorgeous Spaniel boys. I love doing pop-ups, so if you would like me to come to your LYS or Knit Group, please contact.

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More Vendors!

Remember I told you last week about how Agrarian Artisan and I are working together to host the Cheshire Fibre Festival on Saturday 1st October at The Hall at Marthall? Well I’m delighted to announce that Jenny Barnett, Feltmaker is joining us. She will have a stall and also run a workshop in the afternoon. We’re so excited to have Jenny with us; I hope you are too!

©Jenny Barnett Needlefelt
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Save The Date!

Recently my co-conspirator Valerie, aka Agrarian Artisan, pointed me in the direction of this Facebook page: The North West Fibre Arts Trail.

NWFAT

The aim of the Trail is “to help NW fibre artists and small producers to promote their work to the public via exhibitions, sales, demonstrations, workshops etc. 30th Sept – 14th Oct”. Well, what’s not to like? I hit the “Like” button and began to ponder how I could get involved. Suggestions on the page included having a pop-up shop (but where?) or an Open Studio (have you SEEN the state of my house?) and to begin with I was a bit stumped. The idea of an Open Studio sounds so wonderful and a couple of my friends have done it in the past but to be honest I live at the bottom of a very long cul-de-sac in a rabbit warren estate, so parking is not ideal and my house is just not suited to a stream of visitors. Oh, who am I trying to kid? There’s nothing wrong with my house, it’s just my lifestyle that doesn’t lend itself to it!

Anyway, while I was deliberating and had come to the conclusion that the only possible way was a Pop Up in a local yarn store (and to be honest the number of ones with space available in my immediate locale is dropping…), Valerie dropped me an email. She hosts a regular crochet workshop which falls within the fortnight, but a Monday might not be the best day and her venue has limited parking. While pondering the use of another venue, she had realised that there was a lovely village hall nearby, but the cost of the hall hire was prohibitive on her own – would I be interested in sharing the costs? Within a very short time, we’d bounced ideas around and I can now proudly announce that Saturday 1st October sees the very first Cheshire Fibre Festival, at the Hall at Marthall, just off the A537 Knutsford to Macclesfield Road. Valerie will be offering a range of crochet workshops and selling her patterns, I will have my yarns and fibres for sale and we have also approached a number of other Cheshire based Fibre Artisits to see if they would like to be involved. I’m delighted to announce that Crafts From The Dungeon is one of our vendors.

Right now I’m wobbling between excitement and terror (but hey ho, what else is new, lol!) Keep the date free and keep your eyes peeled as we release more details…

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Squeeeeeee!!!!

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News from the Cheshire Front

Some of you may have noticed that there is currently no yarn in the shop. That’s because I am in the middle of a big stocktake prior to having a big update towards the end of the week. I am currently taking a break from my tally sheet with a cup of coffee and The The blasting out. I am seriously having to resist the urge to roll around on all the skeins laid out on the floor…

Due to increases in raw materials towards the end of last year I am unfortunately having to increase some of the yarn prices. I’ve held off as long as I can, but from the next update, Nether Alderley will cost £15, Chelford will cost £14.50 and Mobberley and Stanley will cost £14. Other lines remain the same. Fibre prices currently remain the same and there is some fibre in the shop, along with the second quarter of the Fibre Explorers’ Club.

Fibre Explorers' Club
Fibre Explorers’ Club

I’ve had so much fun designing the colours for this! It’s a quarterly club, with Round 2 covering the second quarter of 2016. Each month for the three months’ duration you will receive 150g of fibre, hand dyed by me in a not-to-be repeated colourway. So far in Round 1, we have had two fibres that are brand new to Yarns From The Plain and I’ll be dyeing the third and final fibre of Round 1 next week. I haven’t yet made the decision about Round 2 yet, but what I can promise is that each month’s parcel will contain 150g of fibre of which at least 75% is British (or British Overseas Territory) wool. It will probably be combed tops… but might not be! The club will cost £50 per quarter, which includes postage, and each month’s parcel will be sent out by the 20th of the month. Sign ups for round two open on Friday 4th March and close on April 5th unless the club sells out beforehand. It is a three month subscription and places are limited – so what are you waiting for?

[This link will take you to the club section, but the club itself won’t show up until it goes live on Friday.]

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Exciting News!

Ok, so I can’t say much at the moment, but if you like crochet, then keep a look out over the next few months as there are exciting developments happening in this little part of Cheshire.

New bases…

New weights in old friends…

The “K” word…

So excited I could burst!!!

 

In addition to this, there are still a couple of spots available in the first Round of the Fibre Explorers’ Club.

Fibre Explorers' Club
Fibre Explorers’ Club

This is a quarterly club, with Round 1 covering the first quarter of 2016. Each month for the three months’ duration you will receive 150g of fibre, hand dyed by me in a not-to-be repeated colourway. Sometimes the fibre may be a familiar face, sometimes it may something a little less common. It may even be a special blend created specifically for the club. What I can promise is that each month’s parcel will contain 150g of fibre of which at least 75% is British (or British Overseas Territory) wool. It will probably be combed tops… but might not be! After all, we are exploring, right? The club will cost £50 per quarter, which includes postage, and each month’s parcel will be sent out by the 20th of the month. It is a three month subscription – so what are you waiting for?

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Autumn Beaches

Back in August, I shared my excitement about one of my yarns being featured in a pattern on the front of Inside Crochet issue 69. Now I’m delighted to say that the pattern is available to prchase individually from the designer, Valerie . In fact, if you purchase the pattern through this Ravelry link, you will also receive a code that will give you 10% off not just Mobberley DK, but any DK yarn in the shop.

Autumn Beaches | © V Bracegirdle
Autumn Beaches | © V Bracegirdle
Autumn Beaches motif in Strawberry Blush
Autumn Beaches motif in Strawberry Blush

I’m currently working my version up in Mobberley DK “Strawberry Blush”. I love how the colour change happens on the corner!

If you enjoy crochet I would urge you to pop over to Valerie’s website, Agrarian Artisan. It’s full of gorgeous pictures, top tips and fun CALs. It’s a must!

 

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Exciting Times!

Over the last few weeks I’ve had fun with our Spinning Guild’s Celebration of British Sheep Challenge. We have decided as a Guild to try to spin as many different British breed fibres as possible, with a view to using the spun yarn to create an 8 inch square, using knitting, crochet or weaving. These squares will then be joined to make a series of blankets, themed along fibre types, e.g. longwools, hill breeds, etc. It’s provided everyone with a chance to spin outside of their comfort zone and try something new. In one week alone I washed samples from Rough Fell, Lleyn, Derbyshire Gritstone and Lincoln Longwool (they’re now waiting to be spun!) and then a couple of weekends ago, spun Oxford Down from a carded batt (from the magnificent Griffiths Mill) and Hebridean (which involved making rolags and spinning long draw – neither of which are skills I am comfortable with!) I have a stacking crate now full of washed samples ready to dip into when I get the time (I should be weaving, but that’s another story….). Of course this all ties in nicely with the Knit British Breed Swatchalong (more details at the Knit British site) but it also got me thinking about exploring and trying new things…

Which has lead to this:

Fibre Explorers' Club
Fibre Explorers’ Club

Yes, the Yarns From The Plain Fibre Explorers’ Club. This will be a quarterly club, with Round 1 covering the first quarter of 2016. Each month for the three months’ duration you will receive 150g of fibre, hand dyed by me in a not-to-be repeated colourway. Sometimes the fibre may be a familiar face, sometimes it may something a little less common. It may even be a special blend created specifically for the club. What I can promise is that each month’s parcel will contain 150g of fibre of which at least 75% is British (or British Overseas Territory) wool. It will probably be combed tops… but might not be! After all, we are exploring, right? The club will cost £50 per quarter, which includes postage, and each month’s parcel will be sent out by the 20th of the month. Sign ups for round one open this Friday. 6th November and close on December 31st unless the club sells out beforehand. It is a three month subscription and places are limted – so what are you waiting for?

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