SQ Blog

Open Studio - the review in pictures July 11 2015, 2 Comments

Had such a fun day - thank you SO much to everyone who came along from as far afield as Portsmouth and Somerset.

Together with The Mulberry Bush, we raised £294.48 for Breast Cancer Care.

Thanks to Eliza and Calvin for all their help, to Cate for tying in the event to their Strawberry Tea Party and to Tesco for donating several punnets of strawberries and tubs of cream.

Here's the day in a few pictures (apologies for the poor quality - realised afterwards that there was a dull filter accidentally set up on my camera phone!)

Maxine from Marmalade Yarns sporting her Southwold in the Snow shawl in a beautiful choice of colours she picked out at a previous Open Studio last June.

As there was two to three weeks' worth of dyed yarn on the shelves, there is plenty left for the update on Wednesday.

And the winner is.... ***20 second dramatic pause*** June 19 2015, 1 Comment

After much chin-rubbing, contemplation and cogitation; after collating over 120 entries from the blog, Instagram and Facebook together into a spreadsheet so that we could give them maximum consideration; after blacking out the names, then mulling over some impressive suggestions - we finally settled on a winner - CONGRATULATIONS, KATY!!

I'll be in touch on Monday so that I can send your Luminosity off to you, with your colourway names on the labels.

Just want to say a HUGE thanks to everyone to took time out of their days to enter. I'd certainly like to employ some of you as colourway namers!!

Onwards and upwards to the next eight years.

Skein Queen is 8 today!! June 11 2015, 49 Comments

Blimey! I can barely believe it was eight whole years ago since I set up an Etsy shop to sell some of the excess yarn I had dyed. Little did I know! Thank you all so much for your continued support and kind words - now it's time to give a little back. WIN yarn worth £40 - will send internationally.

Skein Queen Open Studio June 01 2015, 1 Comment

Looking forward to flinging open the doors of the studio to welcome one and all with tea, cake, knit and chat.

Please be aware that there are stairs up to the attic studio.

Siri cardigan finished May 12 2015, 3 Comments

Having spotted this design wandering around Unravel - a gorgeous yellow version by fa1ry_elephant on Instagram - I knew I had to knit one. The pattern is by Linnea Ohman and is called Siri. (Apologies for lack of accents on the designer's name).

I'd been craving something in emerald green but couldn't find anything in the shops, so dyed up three skeins of Oosie in Emerald City and ended up using two and a half with 96g left over.

I love the way the yoke pattern continues down the sleeves. It took an age - like mini cables and reminds me of a Scandinavian forest of pine trees - but then the stocking stitch went speedily. The ribbing is a twisted rib.

The green does look a little different in each photo! I chose some vintage jade coloured buttons given to me by an ex-colleague and the ribbon braid on the left of the picture from Namolio.

I knitted the XL size and it's a perfect fit for UK size 16.

A little survey April 28 2015, 0 Comments

Create your own user feedback survey


(Unfortunately doesn't work on all mobile devices. Works best on a PC.)

A fair amount of knitting has been going on here... March 19 2015, 1 Comment

It's been a wee while since I posted any actual knitting content in the old blogosphere - when I looked back at recent projects, I realised there were quite a few to show you, if you're interested (and I guess you must be at least vaguely interested if you clicked to land here in the first place).

So, in no particular order;

The Halyard Shawl

Pattern by Tetiana Otruta

Yarn: Skein Queen Flockly in Butterscotch - half a skein

Skein Queen Selkino in Winter Water - half a skein

Knitted by me

Lush cardigan

Pattern by tincanknits

Yarn: Skein Queen Voluptuous in Toffee - one and a half skeins. 

Buttons: by Textile Garden

Knitted by me.

POP cardigan #1


 Pattern by Rachel Atkinson

Yarn: Skein Queen Blissful Plump in Ava Pink - one skein

Buttons: by Textile Garden

Knitted by me, for Baby Ava born on New Year's Day

POP! cardigan #2

Pattern by Rachel Atkinson

Yarn: Skein Queen Blissful Plump in Red Plum - one skein

Buttons: by Textile Garden

Knitted by me as a shop sample

Jazz Hands


 Pattern by Kate Davies

Yarn: Skein Queen Voluptuous Petite - half a skein Shell Rose, half a skein English Damson for a pair.

Knitted by me.

Waffle socks


 Pattern - Hermoine's Everyday Socks by Erica Leuder

Yarn: Skein Queen Entwist - one spatter-dyed skein - 30g left after knitting the pair

Knitted by me

Koigu plain vanilla sock and Koigu cowl

Both improvised patterns knit in Koigu - single sock took one skein.

And the awesome sock model is from Jacksons following its sad demise (check out the reference to "Cruella").

Knitted by me.

Oh No Bear!

Pattern - Oh My Bear! by tinyowlknits but with no bear on the front and no ears.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed - 7 skeins - ran out just at the end, so added a bit of something special to finish off the hood.

Knitting time: 2 weeks - gotta love chunky

Knitted by me, for Lily

Mr Fox

Faux Taxidermy Kit by sincerely louise bought at Unravel

Another quick knit - just a few hours - chunky yarn again - he lives in the studio

Knitted by me.

Pebble Beach


The bottom one (top one is On the Pier in Selkino)

Pattern by Helen Stewart

Yarn: Skein Queen Selkino in St Emilion - one skein

Knitted by Rachel Moutrie as a sample for Unravel and for the shop

Saunton Tides

Pattern by Suzanne Stallard

Yarn: Skein Queen Gotland Rustic in Moss - half a skein

Knitted by Rachel Moutrie for a sample for Unravel and for the shop

Whew! I think it's taken longer to write this blogpost than to knit some of that lot! 

Next up: a Siri cardigan by Linnea Ohman in Emerald Oosie. I think a few of us were inspired to knit one of these beauties having seen a gorgeous yellow example floating round Unravel (one of the best aspects of attending shows - I always get so inspired seeing people's creations being worn). I'd love to get a KAL going on this, so if anyone's interested, do let me know.

I feel like I'm brimming with creativity and ideas at the moment - must be the time of year - and I'm heading off to Cologne, Germany next week in the hope of discovering more ideas, yarns and accoutrements to bring to you in the coming months.

Happy knitting

SQ x

Unravel 2015 - the best show yet February 24 2015, 0 Comments

A huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who stopped by to chat and maybe make a purchase. We came back with considerably less than this! So thank you for making packing up super easy!!

Unravel really does just keep getting better and better every year, and this year again, it was a fantastic show. Having it spread over the three days seemed to make it less hectic and much more comfortable for shoppers and browsers and gave us more of a chance to chat, help with projects and ooo and aah over purchases.

I may have made a few purchases myself - a faux taxidermy fox head kit for the studio from sincerely louise, a couple of Unravel bags, a vintage wooden airer from Eliza Conway, some gorgeous ribbon and vintage scissors from namolio and MORE buttons and ribbon from Textile Garden to add to the collection.

There was much, much yarn and fibre temptation, but I was a very good girl and am awaiting the next order of Voluptuous Skinny from John Arbon to arrive to dye up for a particular garment I have in mind - and the excellent news is that John said it's very nearly ready!!

Very nearly ready for Unravel February 19 2015, 2 Comments

The studio shelves are heaving with yarn.

We've got Oasis Lace, Entwist, Delectable, Exquisite, Oasis Grande, Blush, Noble, Lovesome, Voluptuous Petite, Luminosity, Selkino, Enchant, Lustrous, a little Flockly, mini squeens and a limited amount of Jazz Hands bundles.

There's lots of DK including Voluptuous, Oosie, Blissful Plump and Gotland Rustic.

Oasis Grande 


New Lovesome sock yarn


Voluptuous Petite

I'm also bringing a small amount of Koigu to show off the colours, Dolly What Not lavender sachets and purses, Fripperies and Bibelots stitch markers and small tubs of beads.

Unfortunately, I can't reserve any yarn in advance. Please also bear in mind that the colourways on offer are all one-off unrepeatables, so worth making sure you have enough for the project you have in mind. It seems this would be the most yarn we've had for Unravel, with several skeins of many the colourways, so hopefully you'll be able to find something lovely for most projects - especially early birds tomorrow.

Suzanne aka alabamawhirly will be helping me again this year. We're in the Barley Room upstairs and proceedings start at 12 noon tomorrow!

Just got a shawl to finish and block tonight.... better get knitting!

The story of the Jazz Hands yarn bundles January 22 2015, 8 Comments

Some time just before the turn of the year, I got a message from the lovely Kate Davies asking if she'd mind if she used some Voluptuous Skinny she had for a mittens pattern.

I silently squee'd. Then very professionally answered with a delighted "Yes please" or similar. Not to say it wasn't a daunting prospect for a one-woman dyer with a brand new studio assistant who works part-time (but who is a very fast learner).

A couple of weeks later, she sent through photos of her beautiful design; colourwork based on the geometric design she'd used for Epistropheid and Epistrophy.

Introducing Jazz Hands - the pattern is available to buy here.

So I had to get to work.

Voluptuous Skinny is a 4 ply yarn consisting of 80% Exmoor Blue 20% organic merino and is spun by John Arbon in Devon.

The Exmoor Horn is a rare, hardy hill sheep native to Exmoor in Devon and the ewes are often bred with the Blueface Leiceister ram to produce a hard-wearing but soft yarn with a lovely bloom. The organic merino hails from the Falkland Islands.

I usually buy in 30 kilos at a time and the lead time at the mill is around 3-4 months.


The undyed yarn comes in 100g and 200g skeins, tied in two places. These then have to be tied by hand in a further two places. And all the yarn is soaked overnight in large tubs with food grade citric acid (an alternative would be vinegar, but it's a bit fragrant for me). This preparation time can take an hour or two.

The skeins are then fully immersed in dye in hot water - 3 or 4 at a time - and left for 20 minutes. I then, very carefully, lift the skeins, one-by-one, out of the pots to avoid tangles. Mix up more dye in hot water, add it to the water, and extremely carefully, lower the skeins back into the pot to ensure maximum coverage. They are then left in the water for a further 20 minutes. This is called double dyeing and can lead to a certain intensity in colour.

Production was very nearly brought to a halt on Monday by an almost-electrical-fire in the workshop - moisture and electricity - the eternal battle of the dyer. Hence regular electrical inspections are essential. Pleased to report that the workshop is all dried out now and safe for the next batch of club dyeing next week.

The yarn is then spun, dried and brought to the studio.

For these yarn bundles, we had to break the yarn down from 100g and 200g skeins into 50g skeins.

Here's Eliza loading up the new swift which arrived from the States just after Christmas.

She sets the metre on the electric skein winder to 170m. It automatically stops when the desired length has been reached. However, this is far from an exact science. All kinds of factors play a role including the exact positioning of the flexi-skeiner arms. 

Hence we have ended up with skeins varying between 46g and 59g (depending on the generosity of the original skein too). But we will team up the lighter skeins with the heavier so that you will receive 100g or more in total and as the largest size called for 115m, there will be more than enough yarn for the mittens.

And to make matters more complicated, our original set of winders refused to count in metres. So we used rotations to gauge the weight. 

Both of us worked all day on Tuesday on the skeining up. Then I worked on it myself yesterday and Eliza is furiously winding up more as we speak. The skeins she's currently winding will be available in the online shop from 8pm GMT tonight (22nd January).

And tangles are time-consuming. It's a bit of an art to know when to persevere and when to abandon!

This morning, we were ready to go as Kate launched the pattern with 100 yarn bundles, with more to be added tonight at 8pm GMT.

The tags, yarn labels, tissue and ribbon are at the ready. One customer has already come in to purchase her set and there are many orders waiting to be wrapped and posted out around the world.

Next week, I'm committed to club dyeing, but am aiming to get more bundles into the February 5th shop update. Due to demand, I'm being very strict with myself and sticking to the original colourway and original yarn weight. 

I would hope to produce enough so that everyone who wants one gets one, and to have some in the shop permanently available. But it may take us a few weeks to get to that point - thanks for bearing with us. And so looking forward to knitting a pair of Jazz Hands for myself at some point!

Huge thanks to Kate - it's been fab working with you.

Lush little giveaway to kick off the New Year January 07 2015, 299 Comments

The giveaway is now closed and the lucky winner is...*20 seconds wait to increase the tension*... it's Sheila Barth who commented "I love Lush, made one for my granddaughter. Would like to make one for myself in the gorgeous color!" Congratulations, Sheila! If you could contact me through the Contact form in the Skein Queen shop, I will make sure this little parcel of knitterly goodness makes its way to your door. If I don't hear from you by 24th Jan., I'll pick another name at random.

I am truly overwhelmed by all the entries - almost 600 in the end. Too many to draw from a hat. So my daughter and I spent a couple of evenings carefully entering every person into a spreadsheet, entered a randomising formula into a cell and this morning we pressed the button and it drew a name at random.

Would you like win two 200g skeins of Voluptuous DK in Sweet Persimmon and the Handmade in the UK book of 10 unique designs by Emily Wessel of Tin Can Knits?

Voluptuous DK is a heady blend of Exmoor Blue and organic merino, spun in Devon, dyed in Berkshire and comes in weighty 200g skeins.

One of the most popular designs in the book is the Lush cardigan which Emily originally knitted in Voluptuous.

All you need to do to win is to leave a comment here on the blog or Skein Queen Facebook group here (make sure you comment under the same picture featured above) and your entry will go into a hat to be picked out at random on Wednesday 21st January. The winner will be announced here on the blog and in the Facebook group.

Please note: to leave a comment on the blog, click on the blog title post.

I couldn't resist casting on a Lush of my own during Yarndale last year, choosing an autumnal toffee-flavoured colourway.

It was a joy to knit and I had a substantial amount of yarn left after completing the XL size. The buttons are from Textile Garden - my go-to button provider!

I'm dreaming about my next Tin Can Knits project... perhaps a Vivid blanket in Jamieson's?

Happy Christmas to one and all December 23 2014, 0 Comments

Skein Queen is recruiting November 12 2014, 1 Comment

Skein Queen is seeking a self-motivated part-time Studio Assistant to help with the day-to-day
running of the business based in an old barn between Newbury and Thatcham. Skein Queen is an
indie yarn dyeing business established in 2007 with a discerning international customer base that
appreciates the deeply saturated one-off colourways on luxury yarns, excellent customer service and
attention to detail.

- starting beginning of January
- 3 days a week (Tues, Thurs, Fri)
- 5 and a half hours per day
- 9am-3pm or 10am-4pm
- £6.50 an hour plus 40% discount on yarn

Position: Studio Assistant

Location: The Barns, Lower Henwick Farm, Turnpike Road, Newbury, RG18 3AP

Key responsibilities:
Winding yarn speedily whilst maintaining high quality standards expected
Labelling yarn - yarn identification training will be given
Photographing yarn - training will be given
Loading yarn into online shop - training will be given
Printing out orders and postal addresses
Wrapping and posting out yarn using OBA system - training will be given
Working to tight deadlines
Serving customers

Not required: any dyeing duties

Would suit:
Someone with a lot of patience (sorting out tangled yarn requires endless patience).
Someone with knitting knowledge to be able to advise customers on suitable yarn types and to work
out quantities required. Previous retail experience an advantage. The retail aspect is secondary –
visitors are mostly by appointment.
Someone who is computer-literate.
Someone who can work alone for much of the time.

If you have a passion for yarn, love colour, want to work for an exciting, slightly unusual business in a
semi-rural location, enjoy listening to the radio all day and are happy working in a tiny team, then
this could be the just the job for you.

Please apply to skeinqueen@gmail.com with your CV and a paragraph or two on why you think you
would make a good SQ Studio Assistant.

Closing date for applications: 30th November 2014


Your invitation to come and visit the new Skein Queen Attic Studio October 24 2014, 3 Comments

If it's been a little quiet here on the blog, it's because Skein Queen has expanded into a new studio. The studio is invaluable space for winding up the yarn, labelling, posting out, with a little bit of retail. It's pretty much taken the whole year to find a suitable place, go through all the legal bumpff, get the signage sorted, fast Internet installed, painting the walls and moving in. And now we're ready to welcome you.


The studio is handily located in a barn building above Mulberry Crafts which specialises in papercraft, stationery and home decor. 

 Please bear in mind, if you do visit on the Grand Open Day, that there is wheelchair access to Mulberry Crafts, but Skein Queen is located up some outside stairs.


Although I haven't got a decent photo, the knitted bunting made by wonderful customers looks amazing strung from the wooden beams.


I've loved working in this little woolly haven over the last couple of months, looking out over the ever-changing countryside and even love my commute - all of about a mile and a half!

If you aren't able to come along on 1st November but would still like to visit, it's worth making an appointment so that I can arrange to be there and let you know when there'll be hand-dyed yarn in stock.

Thank you for all your support and good wishes over the years and for making this possible. I hope I can now continue to produce more hand-dyed loveliness for your knitting pleasure.

Jamieson's of Shetland and Twittens August 06 2014, 2 Comments

As you might know, I'm deep in the process of acquiring some studio premises and way back in April, when the prospect first presented itself, it was the perfect opportunity to invest in a new range of 100% British wool that I've loved using myself for a long time - and now, it's finally made its way into the online shop too - you can find all 50 shades of Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift here.

I've had the luxury of a few days off this week, and have spent the time getting back to my colourwork roots. My mum taught me how to do stranded knitting back in the day when I kept nagging her with "but how do you change colour?" and following charts comes naturally having done so much stranded knitting, rug-making and cross-stitch over the years.

The Jamieson's was perfect for these Titbird mittens by Natalia Moreva - although that name always makes me giggle somewhat immaturely, so I've rechristened them the Twittens.

The colours I used were Rye for the background (almost got away with one ball, but needed to break into a second ball just for the thumb), then working up through the mitten, Stonehenge, Bluebell, Surf, Grouse, Old Gold, Gold, Buttermilk, Caspian, Crimson and Maroon. 11 colours - 12 balls in total, although could have made them with fewer colours, I just wanted to experiment.

I went down a needle size to 2.25mm - my hands are small.

These are unblocked - in fact, I'm not entirely sure how to block them?

But the pattern was fun - the second glove took two days and I loved every stitch. Even loved working with the Jamieson's in the heat and sunshine we've been having.

It's worth browsing Natalia Moreva's other patterns - so many beautiful designs.

Feel free to leave a comment here


Skein Queen Open Studio - the review June 29 2014, 0 Comments

"Just a quick note to thank you all for such a wonderful day yesterday. Beautiful yarn, warm reception, freely flowing woolly chatter and super cakes and cuppas from real china cups made the day lovely, despite the awful rain in the morning."

From a marvellous customer

Despite the deluge of rain and thunder starting at 10.45am and ending at 4pm on the dot, many brave souls ventured out to come and find us all ready with a warm welcome of tea, cake and yarn.

Another row of hand-dyed was added to this prior to opening and I think, suffice to say, it went down very well.

It was lovely to welcome so many enthusiastic and friendly knitters into our home and a huge thanks goes to Suzanne for helping setting up and providing the vintage china and serving tea via Jelly arts charity, Wendy for bringing so many cakes, beautiful flower posies and serving tea all day, to Suzanne and Wendy for washing up, to Michelle and Sandra for being SQ chaffeurs and to Sandra for bringing cakes, to Calvin for being the cash desk, to Kira for bringing cake, to Calvin, John, Sam, Suzanne and Michelle for helping set up the marquee... and I hope I haven't forgotten anyone. You all helped make the day the success it was.

And an extra special mention goes to Heather who had travelled down from Glasgow - it was so lovely to get a chance to catch up properly and I hope your evening family gathering was a success.

And did you spot the knitted bunting decking out the marquee? I had the biggest surprise this week when a box of four strings of bunting arrived for my new SQ studio (more on that at a later date). Vero (thatCanadiangirl) had organised a band of merry knitters to knit up lots of bunting triangles which she'd designed (which you can find here) and stringed them all up, many labelled with which yarn had been used.

26 knitters contributed from 9 countries and I'm not ashamed to admit, I did shed a tear or two. The timing of its arrival was spot on for a number of reasons. So more big thanks go to: thatcanadiangirl, charliesumx, jhocy, littletreehouse, rallan, billybrown, ladymarian, lisknit, mikan, fxhunter, fifili67, smc1948, wildcedar, melarno, patriciakeith, erindcoffman, pomonaknits, mrszoedodd, dollydimple, meganyork, snowdroplady, applegateknits, wickedwoollywitch, bombella, alabamawhirly and kiknits.

What a wonderful week it has been. Click here to leave a comment or let me know what you thought of the day

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!

More Southwold in the Snow yarn bundles coming in the shop update tonight June 17 2014, 0 Comments

Southwold in the Snow yarn bundles coming tonight June 03 2014, 1 Comment

Having had a few requests for Southwold in the Snow shawl bundles (click the photo below to find the pattern), we've decided to put together 18 bundles of Voluptuous Skinny 4 ply - each bundle is a unique colourway - no two the same - and none in the original colourways.

The pattern requires 200g of the main colour and 2 x 100g skeins of a contrast colour and the bundles will be £37 each.

These will be uploaded to the Yarn Bundles section of the shop tonight - Tuesday 3rd June at 8pm BST - so is an extra POP-UP shop update ahead of the scheduled one on 11th June.



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.

Knitting for a WW1 movie May 09 2014, 2 Comments

A tweet. It all started with a tweet about six months ago.

Pauline Loven, producer and costumier at WAG Screen, tweeted that she was looking for some volunteers to knit garments for a forthcoming film production of Tell Them of Us - a film about a Lincolnshire family during World War I.

A few months later, and I find myself knitting this RIBBED cardigan for a 17-18 year-old boy.

You know when you cast on a new garment and you can't wait to get past the rib? Yeah well, there is no getting past it on this bad boy!! Actually, it hasn't been so bad - my hands have settled into the rhythm of rib.

WAG Screen are a community-based film group and as such, the wool for all the garments has mostly been donated.

I dyed up some Oosie - Scottish Down Cross spun by John Arbon in Devon - in dark blue and grey tones, colours approved by Pauline to be fitting for the era.


It has been interesting, if a little challenging, to work from a pattern of the time.

I'm not sure I got the pockets quite right - they're knitted as part of the whole garment. You start at the top of the pocket, knit a large flap, then fold it back on itself. I ended up picking up stitches to allow me to carry on knitting the garment - not sure that was what was intended. And they seemed particularly narrow at just 24 stitches, but I think look okay and will be extra cosy with a double layer of knitted fabric behind.

The shawl collar has been the biggest challenge and Liz Lovick has been a great help offering advice whenever needed.

I was giggling and thinking THIS CAN'T BE RIGHT as I followed the instructions carrying on knitting the collar from the back of the garment - it extended to a whopping 15" beyond the top of the neck. I just couldn't work out how it would make a collar at all!

Liz explained that it might work by the time you sew the borders in place and then Pauline posted a photo of the construction of a collar that another knitter had made, and it all clicked into place. The "long bit" is folded over twice, then the shaping at the top of the border and corresponding buttonband on the other side meets at the top, thus forming the shawl collar.

It's taken me longer than I wanted to knit this - I still have the buttonband and the sleeves to complete - I've been sidetracked by exciting things happening at SQ HQ and by a very poorly husband - but it's been a great learning lesson. The cardigan may or may not make an appearance in the film, and if it does, it might only be for three seconds, but it doesn't really matter. It's been a fascinating project to be part of.

If nothing else, it gives you an appreciation of the detail and depth that modern day pattern designers go into and of the importance of stating gauge! Although part of me quite likes the freedom to make it up as you go along...

I leave you with an early preview of some of the 200g skeins of Voluptuous which will be available in Wednesday's shop update - would make a beautiful ribbed cardigan!!!!


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.

Royal Mail price changes April 02 2014, 0 Comments

31st March - the joy of the annual changing of Royal Mail prices.

But there's a bit of good news this time - some prices have gone down.

So although I've had to put my price for a small UK parcel up to 750g up a bit, the good news is that I've been able to REDUCE the price of a medium parcel up to 2kg.


European prices for sizes up to 250g (most parcels) STAY THE SAME. Larger parcels have gone up a little.

Rest of World prices for sizes up to 250g (most parcels) STAY THE SAME. There's a small increase for parcels in the 250-750g range, but I've been able to REDUCE the largest size by whole £1.

I've adjusted the dollar rates to be in line with today's rates, which unfortunately wipes out any decreases for customers buying in $US, so the price for you, will in effect, mostly stay the same.

Having created spreadsheets for these changes and manually amended all the prices in the shop from Gibraltar to Greenland, I hope the prices remain the same until at least this time next year!

I feel a bit like the Chancellor giving the Budget speech - but here is a summary of current prices which you can always find in the Delivery section of the shop.

UK - Royal Mail 1st class

  • 0-49g          -   £1.10
  • 50-750g       -   £3.20
  • 751g-2kg     -   £5.30

Europe - Airmail

  • 0-99g          -   £2.95
  • 100-250g     -   £3.45
  • 251-500g     -   £4.95
  • 501-750g     -   £6.25
  • 751-1kg       -   £7.95
  • 1.01kg-2kg   -   £13.50

Rest of the World - Airmail

  • 0-99g           -    £3.50 (approx $5.80)
  • 100-250g      -    £4.50 (approx $7.50)
  • 251-500g      -    £7.95 (approx $13.25)
  • 501-750g      -    £10.50 (approx $17.50)
  • 750-1kg        -    £13.50 (approx $22.50)
  • 1.01kg-2kg    -    £24.00 (approx $40)

Now there just needs to be hand-dyed in the shop to buy! Keep an eye out tomorrow - I have a few skeins which I plan to add to the shop throughout the day - not a huge amount. And then I'm taking a week's Easter break until April 14th.

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.