SQ Blog

Skein Queen Open Studio June 23 2014, 0 Comments

Here at SQ HQ, we're gearing up for the Open Studio this Saturday. We're based in Thatcham, Berkshire.

Visitors can see where all the dyeing action takes place, eat cake, drink tea from vintage teacups, squish yarn, knit and generally have a lovely afternoon in the garden.

There will be SQ hand-dyed yarn available for purchase as well as Lotus Yarns yak, 50 shades of Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift, Dolly What Not lavender bags and purses for knitting notions, Addi needles, Fripperies and Bibelots stitch markers and NovaSteel shawl pins should you wish to do a bit of shopping during the day.

Click here to read more and leave a comment!

Much dyeing May 23 2014, 0 Comments

I'm afraid I haven't got much knitty news as still working on the WW1 ribbed cardigan! Onto the sleeves now - working them two at time to make them go faster!

But have been doing very much dyeing this week getting ready for the Purlescence Open Day on 7th June.

In the meantime, there are 2 skeins of Voluptuous and a skein of Opulent cashmere up for grabs amongst other UK dyers' yarn + some gorgeous Tin Can Knits patterns over at their Big Spring Destash - worth checking out if you've been waiting to knit Tin Can Knits Lush cardigan or Loch hat.


The art of naming a new yarn base April 04 2014, 0 Comments

I'm often asked "So, how do you get the names for your yarn bases?"

It's not as easy as you might think.

When I first started Skein Queen, I wanted to use names that encapsulated the luxurious nature of the yarn. So some of the originals were Opulent, Lavish, Delectable, Mellow, Wisp, Sumptuous, Blush, Elegance, Decadent, Plushness, Glister, Splendid, Desire and Divine. For various reasons, some have been discontinued but many have become SQ staples and I hope are thought of with some level of fondness by their owners.

As other yarns have been added to the range, I've had to get a bit more creative with names:

A camel/silk was called Oasis as it conjured up images in my mind of the old Silk Road trading route.

Yarns which contained silver and gold stellina were called Five-For-Silver and Six-For-Gold after the nursery rhyme about magpies.

100% silk was called Kimono.

A merino/seacell was called Shore.

A merino/bamboo was called Bali.

A squishy merino was called Squash and its nylon partner, called Crush.

Their high twist versions were called Entwist and Entwine.

An aran weight organic merino was called Grandiose, to convey its weightiness.

And Voluptuous was introduced to the range - the first of the weighty 200g skeins - I wanted it to sound heavy and enticing at the same time.

Tweedore was a challenge - 85% BFL with 15% Donegal nep. If I remember correctly, I looked up the names of mills in Ireland. No joy there. Nothing rang true. Then I searched on towns in Donegal and came up with Gweedore. I quite liked that. I liked the tenuous connection with my Orr surname. Then substituted the Gwee- for Tweed- and there we have a new yarn base name.

Other additions have been Luminosity (to convey the shine on a silk), Blimey (100% British yarn), Selkino (merino/silk singles), Lustrous, Noble, Luscious, Exquisite, Encore, Elixir, Enchant, Entice (a lot of "e's"), Cushy, Indulgence, Blissful, Bamboozle, Alpassion and Duchess.

And the most recent has been Oosie - which is a very special yarn which needed a special name. This one actually took me six months to think of. I knew John Arbon was spinning me a Scottish/English yarn and it was a considerable challenge to think what on earth I was going to call it. Some failed considerations were Unity, Hadrian, September and MacBeth. In the end, I opted for Oosie which comes from the Scottish word for wool "oo".

Once you've established the charactistics of the yarn you want to encapsulate (woolly or silky or soft or tweedy), the first port of call is always the thesaurus.

The perfect name might present itself, but there are a LOT of wool companies and yarn dyers out there, so the next stop is check on Ravelry in the Yarn section to see if the name has already been taken. And guess what? Nowadays, it most probably has.

Then you have to establish if the name has been used for a one-off handspun yarn that is unlikely to ever make an appearance again, or is a well-established known yarn base. If it's the latter, as a courtesy to other traders, I don't use it. That's my own personal choice.

As you can see, even from the names used within just the SQ range, we're reaching saturation point for finding new yarn names.

But there are other options: one dyer uses female names, another uses local place names, yet another uses animal names.

I plan to continue to get creative - so watch out for what will be coming next!

In the meantime, have a very happy, indulgent Easter and I'll be back in the workshop adding colour to white yarn in a week's time.


Summery socks March 26 2014, 6 Comments

Sometimes, a yarn comes out of the dye pots that I just can't part with.

I try not to make a habit of this, but I couldn't resist this skein of Entwist.

It's becoming a pair of Hermoine's Everyday Socks - with just a little texture to break up the variegation.

I'm loving the transitions between the candy pinks, apricot, citrine, teal, pale lemon, deep rose and spring green - just a few stitches of each colour.

It's very naughty and very indulgent, but it feels so refreshing to have a portable project after THE BLANKET.

I can always make more...

Although achieving these colours again could be a challenge.