Sylvan Tiger Yarn - Interview and Discount Code

Today, I have a treat for you: a great interview with Katie of Sylvan Tiger Yarnan independent hand dyer based in Yorkshire, England, creating luxury yarn and fibre using natural dyes.  

Katie was first taught to knit by her Mum as a child.  More recently the wonderful world of Ravelry has expanded her fibrey horizons in the direction of spinning and dyeing.  She enjoys messing about with natural dyes, adding a little of this, a little of that to create and modify new colours.  When not up to her ears in dye pots she enjoys reading, playing flute or cello in her local orchestra and walking in the hills and dales.

Katie, you dye such beautiful skeins of wool, you must have some knitting on your sticks, right?! What are you working on at the moment?
Well, in the run up to Christmas, there are a couple of presents on the needles. Earlier in the year I designed a scarf pattern, Sylvan Scarf, to show off my Tethera yarnbase – a 100% British Bluefaced Leicester 4 ply. I'm knitting a version of that for my Gran in a lovely Raspberry shade. 
There's also a pair of socks for my husband, striped in three colours of Regia 4ply, a great yarn for man socks!
There should also be a scarf for my Mother-in-Law, but I'm running out of time. She'll get the yarn wrapped up then an I.O.U for the finished item! She chose a skein of my 100% Wensleydale lace weight in the Greengage Glut colourway when she came to visit my stall at Yarndale last September.
There's also a pair of colourwork mittens that have been on the needles longer than I care to remember, more urgent items keep getting in the way. And that's before we start thinking about the things I want to knit!
When and why did you start selling your yarn?
I opened my Etsy shop in December 2013 having started playing around with dyes around 18 months before that. I'd found groups on Ravelry devoted to dyeing with Koolaid and was amazed you could dye yarn with a drink! And, from there I did a lot of reading about dyeing with natural or vegetable dyes and became fascinated with the different colours you could get from humble plants. I love the fact that you can get multiple different colours from the same dye source, just by changing the PH level of the dye bath or the mineral content. After testing out lots of dyes and yarns I decided that if I wanted to continue dyeing and experimenting with colour I'd better start selling some yarn, otherwise the house would be overrun!

Summer Berries - Bluefaced Leicester

Where do you get inspiration from?
Partly from the dyes themselves, the way they can be modified to change colour. And, from the landscapes around me; mosses on tree trunks, the different colours in the sea, or even paint splodges on windowsills!

What is you favourite yarn or colour way to dye and why?
Well, purple is my favourite colour so I love producing different purples from different dyes and combinations of dyes. A lot of my yarn bases are based on British Bluefaced Leicester. It's a lovely alternative to Merino in that it's British, and I try to support the British fibre industry where ever I can. It's also one of the lustre wools, it has a longish staple length so it has a lovely shine to it, it takes the dye well and it's soft enough to wear next to the skin. I also like dyeing Wensleydale yarn and fibre as they both take the dye so beautifully and have a shinyness similar to silk.
How much time do you devote to your business each week?
I work full time as a Classical Music Programmer for my local City Council so I work the dyeing in around that. In the run up to Yarndale in September 2014, my first big fibre festival, I was fitting in bits of the dye process in all available spare time! I'd be rinsing off yarn before work, mordanting yarn after making the evening meal (I dye in our kitchen) and then dyeing over the weekend. There was yarn soaking in buckets or hung to dry all over the house! Since then, I have a good stock level built up so I've just been keeping the social media and marketing ticking over and enjoying a bit of a break!

Sitka - Blueface Leicester

And finally, what are your goals and dreams for your business?
I'm enjoying having the opportunity for a personal creative outlet alongside my fulltime job. I'd like to explore more breed specific yarn and work with farmers and breeders to help increase the value of fleece. There are more breeds out there than Merino and Bluefaced Leicester, some of which are endangered or very rare. All fleece can be valueable to the knitter or spinner, it's just a case of finding the right yarn and project for a particular breed. You wouldn't want to knit a next to the skin vest out of Swaledale or Herdwick, for example, but they are great for felted slippers or an outer garment.

Aqua - Shetland

Katie has generously offered 10% off her beautiful yarn and fibre 

Just use ULDENT2015 valid now until 28 February 2015.

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