Saturday 5 December 2015

My favourite indie dyers of 2015

For the month of December, I've been joining in with fellow designer Louise Tilbrook over on Instagram in a month of random acts of kindness, the aim being to spread a little love during the festive season. Louise has provided a list of suggestions for each day, alongside encouragement to do your own thing if some of the items don't work for you.

On day one, I posted a review for the yarn shop Ringarosie. For day two I travelled all the way to London to join my brother for the launch of his new book (very exciting! Attending was very much a last minute decision, but definitely the right one.) On the third, I sent six people who had it in their queue a copy of my Twit Twoo mitts pattern. And on Friday I gave my office mate a bag of numbered sweets to unwrap before Christmas as she'd not managed to get an advent calendar before the shops sold out.

So far the decisions have been pretty easy. Either I've gone with Louise's suggestion, or subbed it for something that worked for that day. Today is day five, and the suggestion is to write a review for a podcast. For whatever reason I've never got into podcasts. So instead I am going to bring you a round up of my favourite indie dyers I've discovered in the past twelve months.

Before January, I hadn't used yarn from indie dyers. Most of my knitting was done in relatively inexpensive yarns, unless they came in the form of yarn support for magazine submissions. This year something changed; I started knitting socks, and a skein of sock yarn is really goof value - even when knitting fast, it takes me at least a week to knit a pair of socks. So my Facebook and Instagram feeds have become very yarn heavy, and hand-dyed yarn has become a big part of my knitting life. I've now amassed quite a collection; here are four of my favourites.

1. Devon Sun Yarns
Devon Sun Yarns was my first foray into buying yarn from an independent dyer. I think I first came across her as a result of a competition she was running on Facebook, and could not resist this beautiful skein of jewel splashed white yarn; it made an excellent hat.

Since that first skein I have bought several more skeins from Daisy, and a couple of sock blanks (not that they've yet been knitted, but part of the joy of pretty yarn is that it looks amazing without you actually having to do anything with it!), and I'm sure there will be many more purchases. Daisy has an excellent eye for colour, and always has a good selection of yarn weights and bases available. She's recently moved her shop to its own website, where you can also find kits for dyeing your own yarn.

2. Mothy and the Squid
Mothy and the Squid is an indie dyer based in Scotland. Her business is named after her two sons favourite things, and from her Instagram feed you can see that it's very much a family business. I had been eyeing Jillian's yarns for ages, and was delighted when I won one of her (frequent) competitions on Instagram. Her yarn is beautiful, often inspired by rainbows, whether little flashes or full stripes. It is also packaged beautifully, with hand stamped labels and a little extra inside every package - I've ordered from her twice now and have had moth and squid stitch markers and a 17g sample of some lovely fuchsia and pink yarn. She also let me have an extra large (120 g) ball of yarn so I would have enough to make socks for my husband, and didn't charge me for the extra!

3. Cuddlebums
Another dyer specialising in rainbows, Jodi makes stunning yarn. My sister bought me some for my birthday and Jodi made sure to include a little birthday note in the package, as well as some cake soaps as a little birthday extra. The socks I knitted in Twilight Rainbow Donegal Nep are my favourites, and when I went to Yarndale I specifically sought out her stall to get another skein of something wonderful, coming home with sparkly cornflower blue rainbow yarn.

4. Hand Dyed by Kate
Kate is based in Wales and dyes a lot of striped yarn (a hugely labour intensive process!). Her colour choices are amazing, and every month she has a self-striping yarn club, which I am very, very tempted by! I went to Kate when I wanted some watermelon striped yarn for a friend's birthday, and she was really helpful with my request. When Amy had finished her socks, she sent me the spare and my daughter got a pair of matching socks. I've ordered Kate's Snowflake self-striping yarn box for myself for Christmas and am very excited about it.

I love supporting small and local businesses, and shall continue to do so in the new year. Who are your favourite indie dyers? And if you fancy joining in with the random acts of kindness, it's not too late!


  1. I need to come and visit before your daughter grows out of her socks so we can pose for a photo together! How long does that give me?!

    1. Maybe a few months. She's not growing that fast, and I modelled the socks on a child with average sized feet, and apparently hers are on the small side! Come and see us!