An unexpected pleasure of the natural dye palette has been the sparking of happy scenes of the past. I have always revelled in colour so these memories seem firmly imprinted in my brain and can be summoned to the conscious mind as quickly as a familiar smell or taste.
We have been unable to go to the North Devon/Cornwall coast this spring and have missed the ever changing hedgerows, woods and beaches. Despite this there has been comfort in putting together ‘Tidna Shute Bluebells’, ‘Primroses Down Sand Lane’ and ’70’s Wallpaper at The Smithy’ as well as my ‘Nettled’, ‘Ghost Rider’ and ‘New Moon on the Wreckers’ Coast’ colourways.
My time living in Bath is reflected in colours such as Aqua Sulis, Bath Stone, Lansdown and Bath Glass as well as my mini set ‘Dancing at Chapel Arts’. For me Bath was mainly about work and career but I made some brilliant friends there and have fond honey gold memories of dancing, gigs, clothes and excellent food.
The shop will open on Friday 29 May – I’m very excited!
Pun intended. Like many fibre folk I was due to vend at a festival this month. It would have been my first show and launch of Gullrock Fibres. This disappointment pales into insignificance compared to what is going on throughout the world when health, safety and livelihoods are at stake.
However there is no other way but forward for this fledgling business although it has been an interesting psychological exercise to change fairly firmly rooted plans and embark on mainly web-based sales and marketing. We’re all having to do it but I love a plan and unsticking myself from the original vision has been surprisingly slow.
The main challenge is definitely photography; getting across the beauty and subtlety of the yarns without over saturating or giving an underwhelming impression of the colours. I have found the spring evening light best and am gradually getting into the swing of uploading the many skeins of goodness. I hope to launch the shop in a couple of weeks time.
What’s in a base ? Yarn weight, spinning method, handle, staple lengths, blends v single breed, eventual use, provenance. The head starts to spin and respect for mill folk rises.
So it takes time to make these decisions. I have tried not to be lazy and instantly order what many dyers seem to use, although many of these bases are excellent.
After a year of experimenting I have come to the conclusion that I have to stock what I am passionate about knitting and spinning and what sits well with my thoughts on provenance and animal care.
The exploration into silk and silk blends continues, as does mohair. I love a mohair blend…and a silk-mohair blend, but provenance can be hard to establish.
But my first definite (limited edition) base is 100% Shetland light DK woollen spun yarn from Coldicott Shetlands. The sheep are raised half an hour from my house in Plymouth and the wool is spun half an hour the other way in Cornwall.
It is a beautiful yarn: soft, elastic and squashy. It is blended from black and white fleece, giving a steely grey which is fantastic to overdye resulting in increased depth and vitality in the final colour.
My first sample project is INSULATE! which I knitted on 4.5mm and 5mm needles to achieve the largest size. This is a free pattern, combining my love/terror of graphic patterns and Daleks. The yarn, dyed with Brazilwood and Old Fustic, is perfectly suited to colourwork.
The joy of working from home by myself is only slightly offset by the slow pace of progress towards selling my yarn and fibre. There are moments of excitement as parts of the project, started in April 2019, come together. My lovely cards, ball bands and stickers arrived last week and I couldn’t be happier.
The card shows my favourite walk towards Gullrock on the North Devon/Cornwall coast interpreted and drawn from a couple of photos by Katie Green.
Years ago my friend Mary and I talked about having our own business called Gullrock. She has since moved to Portugal but I hope that she and her partner can make me some knitting related cork loveliness soon. Check them out here.