Well, its nearly the hour that I’ve been working towards for about six months. On Thursday 8th September at 7pm UK time, I’ll be loading up my first update to my Etsy shop! As I chat about in the Crafternoon Treats Podcast Episode 16, its a scary prospect!
But I thought it would be useful to just post a quick blog about what I’ve been up to and what will be in the shop, not just in the first update but going on from there.
The first Crafternoon Treats Etsy shop update
If you want to go and favourite my Etsy shop, please do. You’ll then get a notification when I have an update and load up some new items. There is nothing in there at the minute – but there will be very soon.
The first items that I’m adding will be only my hand dyed British rare breed wool. As the weeks go on, I have some new bases to dye, I will be offering more minis and some other accessories for crochet and knitting. I’ve been designing some lovely gemstone stitch markers and progress keepers so these will be in the shop from the beginning of October.
More about the British rare breed wool
As I’ve talked about in quite a few of my recent podcasts, I’ve been dyeing yarn for a while now and I’m completely hooked. With a background in chemistry and research, the technical side has been a nice return to a former life and I got quite comfortable with that side of things early on. The experimentation with colour is something that will probably last a lifetime, but that creative process is utterly fascinating and I love it!
I’m very keen on promoting British wool and while merino is lovely, it has to come all the way from the other side of the world, so its not that environmentally tasty in a lot of ways. British sheep are often reared on small farms, grazing on hillsides and pastures and are generally producing wool in the age-old tradition that goes back centuries.
Sadly, many of these farms are under pressure to survive so if you can use even a bit of British wool in your projects (no matter where in the world you are), we are helping to keep this tradition alive.
The wool I’m using is spun in a small, independent mill within a mile of my house (yes, can you believe it!) Its a blend of Romney lambswool from a single farm in the Cheddar Gorge in Somerset and fawn Shetland wool from a farm near Inverness in Scotland. The mill accepts 30 fleece at a time, processes them traditionally and then woollen spins the yarn. This means that the fibres are not combed but carded, so there is less waste, and the yarn itself contains a lot more air so is bouncy and lofty.
I’m being completely honest here and saying it does have a bit of a bite as a result. This is not a silky smooth merino… it is a traditional British wool, but it is gorgeous and lovely to work with. I’ve done some crochet and some knitting with it and its really exciting to use.
As well as using mainly professional acid dyes (manufactured in Yorkshire too) I’ve also got a limited number of mini skeins dyed with natural plant dyes – from my garden (the goldenrod, birch leaves and dahlia flowers), from the hedgerow (the elderberries) and tea bags from my cupboard. How crazy is that? But don’t they look totally gorgeous…
Minis, midis, fat quarters
Bearing in mind that many people don’t like wool with a bit around their neck, I’ve spent a lot of time making smaller skeins and packaging them up so that you can try the wool without buying a whole entire skein.
Minis contain 40 metres of yarn, midis have 60 metres, fat quarters have 100 metres, so there is plenty of yarn to use in each option. I have done some entire skeins for people who I know will want to have some rare breed British wool in their stash!
The minis and midis and fat quarters can be put to loads of uses. Combine them with softer wools, or with acrylic yarns for a contrast colour, try this yarn in crocheted or knitted socks, use them in homewares or decorative items such as garlands, bunting, cushion covers, bag charms…
I’m trying some of the yarn in two shawls and I’m finding I don’t mind it around my neck, so if you are fairly OK about wool, you might find the same. You do certainly get used to it and in some ways I find it comforting as it reminds me of the jumpers and cardigans my mum used to knit for me when I was little. Merino hadn’t made it to Yorkshire back then!
Why the Crafternoon Treats Etsy shop?
I did say in an earlier podcast that I was just doing yarn dyeing for fun – which I am! But I love it so much and I’ve created so much, I will have a hard time using it up. I also want to create some revenue from my crafting to support the Crafternoon Treats podcast and my blogging and crochet activities. This takes up increasing amounts of time when I don’t spend time doing medical writing to earn money so it has to sort of start paying back a bit if I am going to carry on doing more (which is what I would love to do!)
I am so grateful for the supportive messages I’ve received so far – I love podcasting and blogging and interacting in Facebook groups and on Instagram and want to do it more! And run more CALS and do more patterns… the list is endless. I have to admit too that I’m finding the prospect of having a little shop very very exciting. Even if it is an online Crafternoon Treats Etsy store and not a ‘real’ shop. Maybe one day eh? 🙂 Kathryn xxxx
10 thoughts on “Crafternoon Treats Etsy shop grand opening”
I am so pleased that I was able to buy the very colour that I wanted. I will be casting on the Close to You the minute it arrives. I hope that this will be the first of a long list of projects.
That’s great Pamela – I really hope you enjoy using the yarn as much as I’ve enjoyed dyeing it up xxxxxxx
I think what you are doing is fabulous! I am British by birth but live on the other side of the world in Australia but I will most definitely be buying some of your wool In time and to be able to help the British wool industry thrive is very important I believe. As you have said before everything is mass produced these days and to create such beauty with wool and needles or hook is very satisfying. Crocheting and knitting is my sanity break in a frenetically busy world. Your wools are just divine! Best wishes to you for a successful Etsy shop! 😀💐
HI Lynn thank you so much for your lovely comment and encouragement. I am getting quite passionate about British wool now that I know more about it and just how rare the old traditional production methods have become. The possibilities for blending wool from different sheep, adding in British alpaca for a bit of extra softness and the loftiness of woollen spun yarn (as opposed to worsted spun which is about all you can get now) are so exciting. xxxxx Kathryn xxxxx
You were being so humble in your podcast but I think you will be sold out in five minutes. If I wasn’t vegan, I’d be snapping up those colourful skeins!
Hi Nicola – I saw your comment on one of the social medias but its been a bit of a whirlwind week or two so I haven’t had chance to reply to it… you were indeed right!!! I was gobsmacked, I really was but in a very good way xxxxx
I think this is fabulous!!! and I am thrilled you are promoting your own countries product so that small independent farms continue into the future. the mass produced products we have all become accustomed to buying and then throwing away is a world wide problem. Very exciting!! I have an Etsy shop and a brick and mortar store and both are an investment of time and energy and neither outshines the other in my opinion, it is wonderful for people to be able to come to a store, but there is a definite cost increase to be able to provide that.
Thanks so much Melody for taking the time to comment – yes the British wool situation has been very dire and isn’t exactly recovered… but things are improving and it just may be possible that the yarns and some of the mills survive 🙂 I just love the wool and it dyes up so nicely – totally different to the mainstream but I’m having such a lot of fun! xxxx
I’m so excited to see your shop open. Your colours are fab.
Thanks Louise – not long now! xxx I’m busy tomorrow in the day, probably just as well, then will be busy in the Etsy shop for 7pm xxx
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