Late Summer Check In

Hi my friends!

I hope summer (or winter in the Southern Hemisphere) is treating you all well, and you are safe and sound from the pandemic that just keeps on going…

I have been thinking that it’s time for a check in or some kind of post on here! I guess I’ll give some bullet-point life news:

  • I’m moving from my safe & comfortable corporate job (I’m nothing important, just a screen-starer-number-puncher-occasional-trainer) to a scary new creative job as an artist for a games company. This is something I’ve aimed for since my last games industry job crumbled away (the previous company couldn’t afford to pay us)… I’m nervous, and sad to leave my friends at my old job, but I know that sometimes change is important… and I should see how it is to work a job I’m interested in once more…

    I’m hoping that if I’m enjoying doing creative work during the day I’ll feel a bit more fulfilled, and can work on all kinds of personal textile and art related projects in my free time. We’ll see how it goes!
  • The yarn stash-busting that I regularly write about on this blog continues! I have reduced my stash quite a lot, selling some leftover bits, gifting other handspun yarns, and trading some yarn I dyed for Japanese classes. Admittedly today I did buy 100g of DK weight non-superwash yarn from River Knits. I have been eyeing this yarn for probably over a month now!

    My stash is actually now probably small enough that I could document all of it on Ravelry quite quickly.

    I acknowledge that Ravelry has still not apologised for their conduct towards people who have had medical issues in response to their website – and they still have a lot of work to do to make themselves more accessible once more. I use it at the moment as it’s the best way for me currently to document my projects. Over time I might transition to another system but first I think I need to continue my work on generally reducing my commitments and the items that I own.
  • I finished a big handspun project – a while back, a friend of mine gave me a massive bag of washed fleece when they were clearing out their own stash. I’ve finally managed to spin all of the white (possibly Ryeland) fleece from that bag! It amounts to >800g so I have started a sweater knit with it. The yarn is lumpy and not my best at all, but it will be interesting to finally knit a full garment with handspun yarn – and it cost basically nothing (not quite £0 as at times I did card in some other random fibres – probably <1% of the fibre content though).
  • I’ve been slowly trying to reduce my ownership of books, clothes, and anything else I find that I’m accumulating but not using. I’ve generally been able to sell more items than I’m bringing into the house – although books are a guilty addiction that I’m trying to manage… I actually sold ten books today so I feel pretty good about that – these were all books that my parents had brought up North with them – I had previously stored them at my parents’ house – so it doesn’t quite feel like I’m making such a big dent in my at-home book stash 😦 still, good to gradually manage and reduce what I own.

    As for the clothes, I recently started to make a cushion – the cover is sewn from some wool fabric that was gifted to me, and the stuffing is made out of a combination of: yarn scraps, fabric scraps and clothes that I no longer wear which are too ratty to sell/gift/donate!

    We’re actually having our loft converted into a room which I’ll be using as an office/studio space, so the cushion will be for that. I may actually make multiple cushions to use for our spare bedroom, etc. Or some more draft excluders. I find this is a great way of repurposing clothes that otherwise might end up in trash. It’s also a way for me to sequester my synthetic-fibre old clothes rather than letting them be incinerated or placed in landfill etc. And it’s a step in the path to me having mostly natural fibres in my wardrobe.
  • Last point! Ok, if you made it this far then thank you – you must be a relative or a friend who is super interested in me, or just a kind and patient person!

    I started doing indoor bouldering. It’s not a big deal although it feels weird to me since my older sister has been doing it for 10+ years – so it very much feels like I’m walking in her shadow! Anyway, I’m really enjoying it as a way to a) exercise without boredom, b) face my fears, c) spend time with my sister and other interested people.

Ok! My final note. Nothing surprising here. The no-buy did not quite work – as you can see above. However I’m happy to report that I believe I have made a general reduction in the things I own overall, so that enough is good for me!

Thanks for reading my little update. Do you have any updates about your efforts to live a more simple and/or sustainable life, or any updates on your stash busting endeavours? Please let me know if you do 🙂

Check-In, Low-Buy/Intentional Buying

Hi all,

We’ve finally now transitioned from winter into spring, and we’re edging towards summer up in the Northern UK. I was down South just this weekend and it was 8-10 degrees Celsius hotter! I’m glad to be up here now though – it’s easier to sleep at night with the cooler temperatures 🙂

I thought I’d give a little update on my attempts at simple living.

First of all, I wanted to share with you the blog of Rhonda Hertzel, whom I discovered through the simple living subreddit (where I get a lot of my motivation from).

She’s currently on a hiatus this summer, but her blog has a wealth of posts featuring writings on her daily life – as well as reading and watching recommendations at the end of each post.

She also has book which I do plan on eventually getting – more on that shortly.

Anyway. With regards to my slow and meandering simple living progress, if you have read from this blog before or spoken to me you may know that I am continually trying to focus on reducing my urge to impulse buy. I’m trying to slowly pare down my physical possessions – not to a drastically small amount or anything – just to a point where I can keep things reasonably organised!

I came across this post on the simple living subreddit, in which the writer has come up with a low-buy plan for the rest of 2021. They plan to limit their purchases to 1 item per month, 1 item received for Christmas, and 1 for their birthday. ‘Item’ refers to anything non-essential – so food, toiletries, practical items, tools, experiences, etc. do not count in this case.

I liked the idea of planning out one’s purchases, being more intentional, choosing quality over convenience/low price, etc. So I am experimenting with implementing this into my own life! I tried to think about what kinds of things I would plan to buy. Here are my notes below in case anyone is interested in seeing/giving it a go too:

June: I already purchased 2 books (oop), 3 x balls of yarn (all the same yarn, for combining into a project), 100g of spinning fibre (assorted)
July: Ashford 32″ rigid heddle loom. Also, jeans*.
August: Down to Earth by Rhonda Hertzel
September: Camelbak squishy water container – or whatever my hiker friend recommends
October: Running top with pockets for podcast listening
November: Running leggings
December: How to Change Everything by Naomi Klein

I’m changing the rules a bit for Christmas and birthday as I usually get presents for my parents and sister, and they get something for me. At least I’ll see if I can get them to reduce it to one thing though! We’ll see if my resolve is still there by December.

Sister – a nice bowl
Parents – Food Freedom by Rob Greenfield

Sister – One Pot, Pan, Planet by Anna Jones
Parents – The Knitter’s Book of Socks by Clara Parkes

* I decided I’m not counting clothing replacements so in this instance I am buying them after clearing out/repurposing/selling a lot of my current wardrobe. Bonus if I can get the jeans 2nd hand although it’s really awkward in this 2021 pandemic setting as I don’t want to go out shopping and therefore potentially spread around the coronavirus.

All of my choices are subject to change, of course! But I hope I can hold to this experiment.

Additional notes:

  • Like I mentioned with the jeans above, replacement of books, tools, supplies, etc. has its own rule… more below.
  • If I finish knitting all of my current projects – and therefore use up several projects’ quantities of yarn – I will allow myself to purchase yarn for a specific next project. We are not anywhere near this point though so it’ll be a while.
  • I decided that I will allow myself to purchase books (only special ones, or ones I know I’ll love, or ones that really work better as a physical thing e.g. for referencing) if I sell/gift/repurpose an equal or higher amount of my current book collection. If I do this, I may remove a couple of the books for my monthly purchases and stick something else in there.
  • Digital products (ebooks, audiobooks, games, etc) don’t count at all for me – while they do have an impact for sure in terms of energy needed to keep them in existence, my main goal is about reducing the physical items in my life, so I feel ok about this. Also, getting ebooks for books that I don’t expect I’ll 100% love makes sense to me. Then, if I love the book I can choose to support the author in the future by purchasing a physical copy too.

My brain is definitely rebelling after having set up this little challenge for myself. I’m thinking of all the things I’d love to buy. I’m just gonna dump them below in a list, haha. I find just writing the things down somewhere helps me to then forget about them a bit more.

  • 3D printed spinning wheel bobbins
  • A spindle that makes a centre-pull ball
  • A supported spindle
  • Some nice bowls

Well! I only covered a small section of my life and managed to write a ton. So I’ll leave it at that for now! Are you delving into simple living? Please let me know if you are, if you have any of your own personal experiments, etc. 🙂

Simple Living Check In (April)

Hi all!

April snow

Surprisingly I’m doing pretty well in terms of post frequency, woohoo! Another post in April.

I wanted to give a sort of journal entry about where I’m at and what I’m pushing in terms of trying to work towards more simple living.

First of all I’ll just mention that to me simple living entails not over consuming resources (trying to buy less and save a bit of money as a nice side effect), prioritising spending my time on things that are important to me, and trying to make more earth-friendly choices (all of this where possible and definitely practiced imperfectly by me as I’m human).

Anyway, now that’s away, my small updates:

I am actually currently attempting to go shampoo free! This means washing my hair just with water. I’m doing this partially so I can avoid spending money on shampoo, also to try to consume less and lastly just to simplify my life and how many toiletries I feel I need.

It’s probably been over a week now. Apparently it takes 6 weeks for your scalp to adjust fully. I have had ups and downs with my hair during this shampoo free time! I definitely have somewhat greasier hair (to be expected) but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be, and actually my hair feels healthier.

Previously I used a solid shampoo as a way of avoiding packaging (with the occasional wash using regular shampoo when I was feeling lazy). When I washed with shampoo and without conditioner I would just get super dry hair that would get frizzy easily. Conditioner helped but I didn’t get round to using it very often… Anyway, currently my hair feels a bit easier to control and I think it’s less dried out, so isn’t prone to frizziness.

I also haven’t really noticed any sort of bad smell from my scalp despite the lack of shampoo! We’ll see how it goes anyway. The pandemic is a great time to give this a go as I’m not really seeing other humans!


Otra jumper

The march continues. I recently made an Otra jumper (ravelry link) out of John Arbon’s undyed exmoor zwartbles yarn. It feels really good to make something out of UK grown & spun yarn, especially as it’s undyed (dyeing can use a lot of extra water and energy for heating). It’s probably the most successful jumper I’ve knitted for myself and it’s given me a very positive feeling about my future endeavours.

I’ve started my next jumper, the Barn by Emily Foden, in her Knits About Winter book. I’m a bit intimidated by this modular pattern as I can’t yet visualise how it’s going to work, but I’ll give it a go and see what happens. It should make a nice oversized jumper that I can use for layering.

I’m using Hillesvag Tinde, a non-superwash 100% wool yarn from Norway. So, not such great points in terms of using imported rather than local resources, but still plastic free and I was able to support Ysolda’s business – a company I like! The yarn did come in a plastic mailer and a plastic bag. I’ll be reusing the mailer (may already have done so) when sending out my own mail and I’ll keep the plastic bag to store yarn or again for packaging something in the future.

I am also continuing trying to keep a handle on my stash – making sure it doesn’t grow too large, figuring out ways to enjoy the yarns I already have… giving away any yarns I won’t use to good homes…

Handspun 100% wool yarns from my stash that I’m using up by knitting chonky socks.

I may have splurged on a fleece from Fernhill Fibre. They are a UK sheep farm, recommended by the podcaster Marina Skua, so I really wanted to give their fleece a try. I bought a 1.2 kg Shetland/Romney cross fleece. It’s so clean and soft and seems like great quality! I’ll be spinning it up gradually – I’ve started washing it bit by bit and have also started to card the fleece into small batts ready for spinning.

Since I admittedly accumulated way too many fleeces lately (which kind of goes against the whole ‘simple living’ I was just talking about), I decided to prioritise my favourites and give away some of the older and less pleasant to spin fleeces. I know that my prior habit of accumulating too many supplies hasn’t been ideal and I hope that I can be a bit better in the future. I want to focus on spinning up quality fleeces…

Last thing! Oh man. If you have actually read through all the above, thank you, haha. I’ll try to keep this last section short!

Since the pandemic we have been doing online grocery orders… which is super convenient but not always the best in terms of plastic waste. I was happy to discover this weekend that I can order 10 kg bags of rice and 3 kg bags of pasta from the supermarket! I feel like it’s a win going from 2 kg rice and 500g pasta…

In addition to this I’m toying with the idea of just making my own pasta, to see if I can save on even more plastic waste entering our home.

Today I made egg pasta using this recipe. It’s resting in the fridge right now so we will see how it goes this evening! I used flour which I had bought in bulk (16 kg, paper packaging only) and eggs from our quail (so no plastic on that front)- I ended up using 30 eggs!

I like the idea of making a massive batch in advance and potentially fully drying it out so it’ll keep for months. I think I have to make non-egg pasta for this so will be on the lookout for recipes. Let me know if you have one!

Phew, well, thanks for sticking around if you’re still here! Let me know about your own simple living experiments if you have any 🙂

Southdown and more

southdown sheep yarn, hand dyed in various colours including pinks, yellows, some green and purple. 2ply yarn, worsted weight.
2 ply fractal spun Southdown wool yarn. I dyed the fibre in the microwave as an experiment and LOVED it! It was super vibrant despite the fibre being non superwash (as far as I’m aware). This 2ply is currently in my etsy shop. Gotta say I am reluctant to let this one go, but I have so much yarn to knit up that I wouldn’t get to play with this yarn for a long time!

Whew, it’s been a little bit again! Actually, my track record for 2021 hasn’t been too bad… my day job’s been busy since about December 2020 thanks to a team member leaving and no one replacing her – so my friend and I have been overwhelmed with too much work for 2 people. And now we’re training 2 new people for our team, and have to deal with training every day (3+ hours) and also coping with the already too-many daily tasks.

Anyway, all that aside, I have actually been spinning a reasonable amount!

My most recent experiment has been to spin up a traditional 3ply from some batts (shown below) I made on my blending board. I have been super inspired by Lindsay of Artifacts of Appreciation. She has been making all kinds of lovely batts in moody colours, using fibre from a variety of farms and dyers. My batts below are not so moody in style – mainly because I’m working from my stash! One of her most recent offerings was for mystery sock batts…

I would love to invest in a batt from Lindsay someday, but being based in the UK ordering from Canada is a bit daunting – I don’t even know how much customs would try to charge me in addition to the batt cost and postage cost! Perhaps in future I might be able to order one, if she does another round of the sock batts.

So, my aim was to make a 3ply for socks – using jacob, corriedale, bluefaced leicester, a smidge of silk noil, sari silk, and a tiny amount of merino/silk blend. I have finished spinning the actual yarn, it’s currently drying in my bathroom – I’ll have to take a photo and share here once it’s dry. I think it could be used for knitting socks if knit at a tight gauge, but it may not be as hardwearing as I would like. I can try again though!

4 fibre batts made from a blending board, to be spun into a 3ply yarn

Commissioned hand dyed yarn

I was lucky enough that my Japanese teacher asked me to dye a bunch of yarn skeins for her! These are 100% superwash merino.

It was a lot of fun!

This light purple skein is my favourite of the bunch, I was sad to send it off but I know I would probably not be able to get round to using it for a while… hopefully it will get made into a lovely project by my teacher! Perhaps I can get her to take a photo of whatever she makes…

Handspun tags

Hi all,

I thought I would share this with you in case you would like it.

I made a quick little tag for noting down my handspun details and attaching them to the skein! This is just to save time and have a bit more structure to my handspun note-taking. You could print this out on normal paper, card, coloured card, etc… 🙂

Please feel free to use it if you like. I made a PDF of it too – you should be able to download it below!

Edit: just realised I missed out weight in grams (rather than yarn thickness)! I’ll have to put that in, will try to get it sorted and then re upload here.

Some favourite fibre based companies!

Dear all, I would love to share with you some of my favourite fibre companies. Of course, for this list, I will be focusing on companies whose ethos resonates with me.

You’ll see a lot of mention of no-nylon, non superwash yarn here. If you see my previous posts you’ll know that I’m trying to increase the amount of no-nylon, non superwash yarns I use, however I am not going to stop myself if I see an amazingly beautiful 75% merino 25% nylon sock yarn from a lovely dyer. Nor will I shame anyone who wants to knit with superwash/nylon content yarns. 🙂

All of these shops are UK based. I know there’s amazing variety all over the globe, but I personally often have to limit my fibre buying to UK based shops due to the recent increasing postage costs and customs fees.

Do you have a favourite fibre supply shop? Please do share, whether it’s UK or otherwise 🙂


  • John Arbon
    Appears to reuse mailing packets, uses compostable bags for fibre
    Has mill membership scheme for lifetime 10% off
    A wide range of yarns and fibres, mostly non-nylon, non-superwash
    Lots of their fibre is locally sourced (Bluefaced Leicester, Exmoor Blueface, Zwartbles)
  • Woolly Mammoth Fibre Company
    Offers no-nylon, non-superwash yarn dyed using natural dyes
    Sources breed specific fibre locally
    No plastic packaging
  • Marina Skua
    Offers some locally sourced single-flock wool yarn
    Has a selection of naturally dyed yarns
    No-nylon, non superwash
    I’m not sure about her packaging as I have not yet ordered
  • Rusty Ferret
    Has variety of both superwash and non-superwash yarns and fibre available
    Uses paper mailers
    Is super friendly (well, I’m sure all these sellers are but I have had more direct contact with LJ)!
  • Whistlebare
    They are a farm and offer yarns made from their cute goats
    They have a couple of fingering weight yarns available which could be good no-nylon sock yarns
  • Garthenor
    Many non-superwash yarns – I think all from UK wool too!
    Lots of undyed, natural shades of yarn
    I think their packaging is plastic free (but can’t remember oop)
    Climate positive yarn – they take part in a tree-planting scheme

John Arbon and Rusty Ferret from the list above also offer spinning supplies.

  • Hilltop Cloud
    Often uses non plastic packaging – paper mailers
    Has lots of info on her packaging choices
    Lots of non nylon/non superwash options
  • Shunklies
    Has a lot of different sheep breeds and non superwash fibre
    Uses plastic packaging
  • Cat and Sparrow
    Lots of different dyed braids, fibre blends, spinning supplies and also yarn available!
    Unsure about packaging as haven’t yet ordered

Starting book binding while trying to work out ‘simple living’

These days, I’ve been thinking more and more about things like simple living and avoiding over consumption of resources. I actually haven’t been able to knit all that much recently as working from home has meant that my left forearm is a little sore… I better work on my desk set-up soon to stop it getting any worse… Anyway, so some of the time I would have spent knitting, I have ended up on the simple living and anti-consumption subreddits.

I’m going to nab the definition of simple living from the reddit as it puts it more succinctly than I could: Breaking free of the work/spend/borrow cycle in order to live more fully, sustainably, and cooperatively.

I do wonder though, as a craft dabbler – I knit, spin, crochet, draw, paint, sew a little – how can I avoid accumulating stuff, be frugal, and try to soften my impact on the environment?

Any crafter will know that often picking up a creative hobby involves getting at least a few bits of equipment/supplies. And being a crocheter/knitter/weaver often entails a stash of yarn – which I also have (see my previous post for a photo of it).

This year I was hoping to learn book binding as yet another craft in my arsenal. The past 2 days I have made a couple of extremely rudimentary books. I didn’t have the tools or materials required in this tutorial so I substituted a bunch of them and ended up with passable yet slightly ugly results!

I glued some remnant fabric I had to the cover, however had no idea how to secure the edges as my glue is also just old children’s craft glue. I tried to glue the edges around the inside of the cover but it didn’t work at all, so in my first attempt (underneath) I ended up rushing and just stapling the fabric on! My second attempt (on top) involved stitching roughly around the edge of the book. This is also not ideal and still involves raw edges on the corners and inside. Ideally I would like to get some nice paper to cover the cardboard instead, as it will behave better and not fray. Hence hoping to get more craft supplies!

If I want to make slightly nicer books I will need at least a couple of useful tools, like an awl, which I’ve been substituting with my etching needle (which unfortunately leaves marks on the paper when piercing it)… and a folder – for which I don’t know what I could use as a substitute. I would also need a little bit of board (I substituted with cardboard, which didn’t work well!) and some decorative paper.

I did decide to invest in these bits, considering they take up a small amount of space and I can buy them from the UK… and book binding can at least use up a load of other supplies which I already have. On top of this, the notebooks I produce will mostly be made out of paper and natural fibres (linen thread), so they could be recycled or composted at the end of their lives.

I bought an awl, a folder, glue, some card and paper from this shop. I am thinking about getting a couple more pieces of decorative paper just so I can produce a variety of small books for practice. I know that just the mileage of creating and practicing over and over again is a great way to improve quality.

I’m going to try not to feel guilty about having invested in craft supplies. Going forward, I’m going to try to do these things in relation to my crafting and encouraging sustainability and thoughtful consumption:

  • Think carefully about where I’m buying from – supporting local and independent businesses, not certain mega-corporations who don’t treat their staff nicely. Be aware of where materials are sourced (what country?) from where possible as well.
  • Try to use natural materials that can be recycled and composted. Prioritise buying from companies which try to avoid plastic in their packaging. A good example of this for spinners would be John Arbon (they do use plastic to send their items but from what I’ve received you can tell that it’s been reused/repurposed, and I noticed the fibre they sent was in a compostable bag) and Hilltop Cloud (Katie is transparent about her packaging and uses paper mailers). For crocheters and knitters, Woolly Mammoth Fibre Co is a lovely company, Emma’s yarns are all plastic free as is her packaging.
  • Keep using what I have. I’ve worked hard in 2020 to work from my knitting and fibre stash and I want to continue this. The Crimson Stitchery podcast did a great video about working with stash here.
  • Use materials more than once – for example, scrap printer paper (which I end up with when printing postal labels) could be used within book binding as a way to give those papers another use before ending up recycled.
  • Make space in my life/home by selling or gifting things I may never use again. And, tacked on to this one, I perhaps would work on a 1 in, 1 or 2 out policy for acquiring new things! Having that rule would likely slow down the rate of acquisition as well as I would need to be more considered with my purchases.
  • Gifting creations I will no longer use (at least when I know the recipient would want and appreciate said item)… I have already started doing this. I know my aunt loved one of my hand knitted shawls… and lately I haven’t worn it, so I would like to use it to make her happy instead. Also, my mum asked for a beanie hat and given that I’m not knitting at the moment, I will send her one of my already-knitted ones for her to enjoy while winter is still about.
  • Repurposing textile waste; in my knitting, spinning and sewing, I end up with some scraps in some way or another. While a lot of what I work with nowadays is natural fibre based and therefore compostable, sometimes I do also have yarn scraps with nylon in or a mystery piece of fabric. So to avoid contributing to landfill, I’m currently using my scraps (including those which could also be composted) to stuff a draught excluder for a window! Once that one’s done, I’m sure I will be able to sew more draught excluders, and I need a tailor’s ham at some point too.
    I think this is also a good way to deal with irreparable pieces of clothing that can’t be donated.
  • Share. If we weren’t in a global pandemic, this one I would try to do a lot more, in person! I think it would be great to have a crafty community, to share what equipment I do have with others and to give any excess materials I might have that someone else needs! This is definitely one for the future – perhaps I would have to join a guild or start a community.
    (Note: This is partially doable online for small things like fibre scraps, although probably not practical for if I want to share usage of my spinning wheel, for example!)

Do you have any thoughts on this or tips you might want to share?

December 2020 Spin – Countess Ablaze

2 skeins of dark yarn with muted rainbow colours blended into it.

One of my most recent spins!

‘Nerds Prefer Their Rainbows Darker’ – 100g, 50% shetland, 35% merino, 15% baby alpaca.
Chain plied (3 ply), probably between DK and aran weight.
Countess Ablaze yarn shop (Manchester, UK based)
Ravelry Handspun page

The fibre was dreamy and soft, easy and relaxing to spin. I love the heathery effect of the bright colours blended with the black. It’s hard to photograph this yarn well with my rudimentary camera skills, but it’s very nice fibre!

I guess I would describe myself as an intuitive spinner. Or, an impulsive spinner. I’m not sure of the best words to describe my habits. I don’t generally make plans, I just spin. I don’t think much while I’m spinning and I am usually watching or listening to something.

I would like to develop the technical side of my spinning, but I feel like for me, I need to take gradual steps, introducing myself to something new every so often and then practicing it from time to time until I’m more accustomed to it.

I avoided learning chain plying for quite some time, because I didn’t understand how it worked! Eventually I did watch a video of it and from time to time I try out chain plying… this is one of those projects. And it’s definitely getting easier!

I think these skeins are destined to become leg warmers for me. I sit at my desk for most of the day while working from home, and everything just gets cold!

What a time

Well, hasn’t 2020 been a weird one? To anyone who reads this, I hope you, your family and your friends are safe and well. I hope you’ve had a good Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/Yuletide/other festive event if you happen to celebrate.

I have to admit to neglecting this blog, and for that I’m sorry! While I have had more at-home time thanks to working from home and avoiding the unreliable commute on Northern Rail trains, I feel like I have about the same amount of time as I always have. Housework expands to fill its time-container?

I think it’s been a crafty year… I completed my 30th birthday sweater in advance of my January birthday (see below), and managed to spin up all of my fibre braids and batts residing in the stash.

A birkin colourwork hand knitted sweater is laid on the bed. It is black with floral motifs across the shoulders. Also on the bed are some skeins of undyed yarn, some batts of blended fibre, 1 issue of Ply magazine and some other odds and ends like yarn balls, fibre and a drawing of a cat, obscured by the sweater's sleeve.
Pattern link: Birkin (unfortunately only appears to be available on Ravelry and not on the designer’s website – so beware if you are prone to migraines etc. as after their recent update many people have suffered symptoms)


When I started getting really into knitting, specifically into indie dyed yarns and indie pattern designers, I had fantasies of magically escaping from my day job and becoming a yarn dyer (fuelled quite possibly by watching podcasts by dyers).

I’m discovering I’m pretty risk averse and super reluctant to invest £££ into buying a large inventory blank yarn! But – I have found a balance. I can’t remember if I mentioned but earlier this year I traded 6 skeins of handspun yarn with my teacher for some Japanese lessons. My lovely teacher has once again put in a request for a shawl’s worth of hand dyed yarn (you can see the blank skeins peeking out in the photo above).

So! While I’m not free from the day job, dyeing and frolicking (don’t worry, I am aware that dyeing is in fact a very labour intensive job – I’m sure I wouldn’t actually do much frolicking if I were actually a Proper Indie Dyer – at least not during the work day), I am taking tiny steps, dipping my toes in the dye water.

A variegated skein of yarn drying on a radiator. The skein is predominantly purple, and has some pink and blue areas.
You can tell I don’t have the infrastructure for dyeing for multiple people! Also, I should really start using reusable zip ties to keep the skeins in check while dyeing as these are a total yarn barfy mess. PS this is 100% SW merino.

I’ll post a proper photo once the rest of the skeins have dried and been tidied up! I think I may invest in a bigger niddy noddy and a swift, finally. These would be useful for my own crafts as well as useful when prepping any yarn intended for other people…


Aside from that, 2020 has been about trying to reduce my stash – either through my own knitting or giving to my mum. Apart from the raw fleeces and the fibre that I have for my blending board, I have managed to drastically reduce my knitting-yarn stash, which I’m really happy about.

A glass fronted cabinet holding all sorts of art and craft supplies. On the top shelf there are supplies for printmaking. On the middle shelf are some pencil tins and paintbrushes, and lots of skeins of yarns of different varieties. The bottom shelf is sparsely populated. There is a shoebox and a small pile of yarn.
Photo of my yarn stash inside the general crafty cabinet.

Here’s a picture of the crafty cabinet in our spare room. The middle shelf features my personal yarn stash. A lot of the skeins there are already earmarked for various projects, and I hope I can work through them gradually throughout 2021. The small pile of yarn on the bottom shelf are currently in the shop (shop is on holiday mode until Jan 2021).

My slow, back-and-forth march towards a slightly simpler life continues! My ultimate goal is to have a stash of perhaps 1 or 2 sock yarns, and 1 project’s worth of yarn. I’m still trying to focus on non nylon and non superwash yarns when appropriate – but I’m not being super strict on myself because I have learned that it doesn’t work if I try to punish myself into things!

OK. As with all my ‘long time no see!’ posts, we have ended up with a winding ramble – I hope you don’t mind. I will just share with you my last thoughts and my intentions for 2021 – feel free to tell me about yours!

A fibre news space…

I have found myself from time to time googling ‘craft news’ or ‘knitting news’ or ‘guardian craft’, just because I want to spend some time enjoying reading up on the goings on of our crafty community. But, outside from the podcasts, ravelry, magazines (Pom Pom, Amirisu…) and instagram, as well as crafters’ personal blogs (Fringe Association springs to mind however it is currently on hiatus), is there a place where we can find crafty news online – a dedicated space? I know Knitty magazine is free online, although I embarassingly haven’t really got to grips with its format!

I wonder if I can provide some sort of fibre arts writing here which fills the space – well – writing what I want to be able to find online.

2021 intentions…

  1. Appreciate and enjoy my stash before I seek the dopamine hit of buying more things – my current sweater project is a stripy scrappy sweater, a great way to make use of my precious indie dyed neon scraps!
  2. Keep working towards a me-made, natural fibre wardrobe.
  3. Prep the raw fleeces in my possession, get better at fibre prep, spin them up!
  4. Explore book binding!