Hi there, how are you? Happy new year to you. I hope you had a wonderful holiday and a great beginning to your new year.
I spent Christmas and New Years here in France and then I left for a few days to see my family and friends in Iceland. It was great to be back in Iceland and see everyone and take in the air and just enjoy my time “back home”. I’ll be telling you more about my visit there and all the yarn I bought there…yes I did buy yarn! But that will be for my next post, probably next week, because for today I want to introduce you to someone I admire.
As you most likely know if you have been following my blog for some time, I’m an indie dyer. As such, I do have a significant stash of yarns I dye for myself, undyed yarns for my shop and last but certainly not least, of other hand dyed yarns!
Regularly I say to myself “this is it! I’m not buying more yarn for X months”. I say this because I realise that I already have enough yarn to last me a lifetime or because I’m sort of running out of space to keep my stash… But so far I have not been able to keep my word. I just can’t help myself. I love browsing Etsy, I love looking up yarns I see on podcasts or on Ravelry. I want to try new dyers I’ve only just heard about. I just want more fun and colorful yarn to knit my next pair of socks!
Last year, that is 2016, I randomly discovered this shop on Etsy run by a couple. And they have the most beautiful yarns. Their shop is called Knit Cosmic Strings and I found myself going back to their shop all the time and finally I just gave in and placed my first order. Since then there have been many more! Every time they do an update, I’m there browsing, dreaming and more often than not, buying! And so I thought, I’d love to introduce these incredible dyers to you and at the same time learn more about them and so I approached them about doing an interview and lucky for me (us) they accepted! And not only did they accept an interview but they accepted to do a little giveaway! They donated a skein of their gorgeous yarn along with a contrasting mini! I’d love to keep the yarn, I’m not lying, but I already have 2 skeins of this particular colorway so no need for me to be jealous!
Below is the interview with the two dyers behind Knit Cosmic Strings, Phu and Bea, which I hope you will enjoy and then there will be the info on the giveaway that you will not want to miss!
I see that Knit Cosmic Strings opened on Etsy this year and I was wondering if you had been selling elsewhere before then or if your yarn dyeing adventure began in 2016 with your Etsy shop?
We did not sell yarn elsewhere before opening our Etsy shop. Bea had previously run a shop on Etsy, so it was a platform that she was confident in using. Before that, our yarn was just for personal use, as well as ending up in the hands of Bea’s mum! Originally the shop was an excuse to have some more fun dyeing yarn, but we have found it such a rewarding experience interacting with our customers, seeing the things people make and getting to know people in the crafting world, that we have decided to continue and try to expand.
What prompted you to start your own yarn dyeing business?
Bea originally found it frustrating to buy more mass produced yarn in the exact colours she wanted, so she started looking into hand dyed yarn. One day she read about how it was done and decided it might be something she would be good at. She was immediately hooked and now our home has been taken over by yarn, dye pots and dyeing equipment.
I see from your about page on Etsy that you run the shop as a couple. How does that work? Do both of you dye yarn or does each of you have a distinct job/responsibility within your business?
This works very well for us, as we each have different skills that are required for running our hand dyed yarn business. Phu has been an amateur photographer for several years, and is very committed to making sure the photos are as accurate to the colours of the yarn as possible. He also finds it very satisfying to pack orders! Bea is the more creative of the duo, and does the vast majority of the yarn dyeing, as well as designing the new colourways. Phu has also started to learn a little of the dyeing, to speed up our restocking endeavours.
Where do you get your inspiration for your colourways from?
Bea’s creative process usually involves trying to “dye a feeling”. These “feelings” tend to be inspired by the weather outside, a food we have eaten, a city we have visited etc.
What is your most popular colorway? and/or most popular yarn base?
Our most popular colourways are Temptation, Rose Garden and Shoreditch. People tend to prefer them on a sock (75% merino wool, 25% nylon) base, due to its versatility. We intend to try some new bases with different compositions soon, such as yak, alpaca and silk. We are big fans of alpaca, because it is so soft and we hope our customers will like it too!
Do you have a target audience/clients? I mean do you try to cater especially for say the sock/accessories knitter or do you also try to appeal to the garment knitter with larger dye lots?
Most of our customers seem to knit shawls and socks, but we try to make our dye lots big enough for a small garment and, depending on the colourway, we can take a custom order for a large number of skeins if somebody wants to make a nice cosy sweater. We try to make our colourways appealing to a wide range of people, but tend to aim for a cross between fun and classy! We have tried out a few different yarn weights, but 4ply/fingering is by far the favourite.
Do you accept custom orders?
We accept custom orders for larger/out of stock dye lots, but we do not create new colourways to specification.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
We start by re-skeining all of our yarn from the supplier, as the skeins tend to be messy and sometimes a bit tangled. We then soak the yarn and during this time we pack up our orders to send to our customers. We tend to dye the yarn in the afternoon or early evening and this can take many hours. After dyeing, the yarn is washed, dried and then skeined up ready for picture taking.
What have you got planned for Knit Cosmic Strings in 2017? and where do you see your company in say 5 years from now?
We plan to start a sock club in 2017 and we would like to attend some yarn festivals. We are also starting to think about getting our yarn stocked in a shop or two and in 5 years time we would love to be stocked in a few indie yarn shops throughout the world! We would also be thrilled to be walking down the street one day and see somebody wearing something made from our yarn!
Where does the name of your shop, Knit Cosmic Strings come from?
We wanted something a little more thought provoking than a more obvious name would be, so we started to come up with more abstract ideas. “Cosmic Strings” popped into Phu’s head one day and we could not shake it, so it stuck! The “Knit” part was added to differentiate between our yarn and other uses of the term.
And a little about yourselves. You currently live in Edinburgh but is that where you are from?
Bea is English and Dutch, and mostly lived in the south of England until a new job brought her to Edinburgh. Phu is originally from Vietnam and moved to the UK when he was 10. He moved to Edinburgh to complete his PhD, where he met Bea. We are both originally scientists, who wanted a more creative outlet.
Are both of you knitters/crocheters?
Bea is a knitter and Phu is a crocheter!
When did you learn to knit/crochet?
Bea learnt to knit when she was a child, but really started to enjoy it in her late teens. Phu learnt to crochet in 2016, teaching himself from a book and youtube tutorials!
What are your favourite projects to knit/crochet? Like do you knit socks or shawls or are you more into garment knitting?
Phu loves to crochet scarves and snoods. Bea likes to knit pretty much everything – a typical month would include a shawl and a pair of socks or hat. Sweaters tend to be a longer process, often interrupted by the latest KAL on ravelry!
What is the best way for people to follow you on social media? Do you have a blog?
We have a facebook page, but our favourite social media platform is definitely Instagram. We publish shop update announcements, colour combinations, projects we are making and the odd “behind the scenes” shot. Its also a great informal way to start a dialogue with our customers, outside of Etsy.
I hope you enjoyed reading the interview with Phu and Bea. Like I said before, they generously offered to donate a skein of yarn in the colour way Shoreditch, one of their most popular ones, as well as a contrasting mini skein. In order to participate in the giveaway you need to go over to their shop by clicking here . Browse their lovely shop and then come back here and leave a comment below telling us what colorway you love the most. You have a week to participate or until the evening of January 17th. I will then use a random number generator on January 18 to draw a winner from the comments below. The lucky winner will receive this gorgeousness
So enjoy me enabling you some and try your chance at winning this gorgeous yarn.
That’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed the interview and looking at the pictures of this gorgeous yarn. I wish you lots of luck for the giveaway. So until next time,
take care 🙂