There is always a lot of excitement in introducing a new brand to Knit with attitude, a lot of effort and care go into choosing what I believe would be the 'perfect addition' to our selection. So that I get to see and touch 'a lot' of beautiful and lush fibers is really an understatement, I am spoilt in that sense, and maybe, just maybe, it might have made me a little bit hard to impress. However, I am absolutely stunned by the brilliance, the quality and lush textures of the Kettle Yarn Co. yarns. This is a brand that has been on my 'wish list' for a long time, and my amazement with their yarns has not faded at all while waiting for the right moment to introduce the range to the shop. Finally we do have Beyul and Islington DK in stock, with more to come. What is just as stunning as the yarns themselves is the craftsmanship, skill and mindfulness that goes into the creation of the Kettle Yarn yarns. I sat down with the mastermind behind it all, Linda Lencovic, and asked her to tell us all about it. Please enjoy! [caption id="attachment_1034" align="aligncenter" width="1783"]Kettle Yarn Co. Beyul - Baby Yak, Silk and ethically farmed merino wool. Kettle Yarn Co. Beyul - Baby Yak, Silk and ethically farmed merino wool.[/caption] How do you think that Kettle Yarn Co. fits in with the KWA ethos?  My blends are carefully sourced from ethical mills to ensure animal welfare and only fibres with the lowest carbon footprints are used to reduce negative impacts on the environment. It is vital to me that Kettle Yarn Co. support animal welfare and the environment through informed choices. For example, in my twenties I had a huge obsession with Cashmere, so when I started dyeing I was naturally drawn to it. However, the more I learned about Cashmere production in Asia, the less I was able to justify its use. After some research I learned that the luxury-driven obsession with the fibre is stripping bare the natural vegetation in the areas where cashmere goats are reared, causing huge sandstorms, the massive effects of which are even felt on the other side of the globe. Horribly, even the animals are suffering from our desire for the fibre - left with nothing to eat, the goats starve for our infatuation with luxury. This is not something that I can support, so I looked for other scrumptious fibres that would still be amazing against the skin but where the animals were treated with love! Both Camels and Yaks are farmed in much more environmentally conscious ways which do not harm the animals or deplete resources and I've chosen to stick to these luxury fibres in my Beyul and Westminster blends instead of using Cashmere.
What is the most important thing to you when you are choosing a new yarn/fibre to dye with? What sort of process do you go through?
As mentioned above I try to make ethical choices in the yarn's production and all blends are extensively wear tested and I’ve selected only the most scrumptiously soft, but ruggedly tough low-pilling and long-wearing blends – soft enough for the most sensitive skins.
You can see the results of my tests on my Wear Chart to help you plan your projects. Only yarns that pass exacting standards for optimum softness, wear-ability, durability and ethics are chosen to be lovingly hand dyed in small batches, creating exceptional yarns and projects that stand the test of time.
[caption id="attachment_1033" align="aligncenter" width="1701"]Renée Callahan’s Naloa in BEYUL – colours ‘Turquoise Tarn’ and ‘Yurt’. The Naloa pattern is available on Ravelry and in store. Renée Callahan’s Naloa in BEYUL – colours ‘Turquoise Tarn’ and ‘Yurt’. The Naloa pattern is available on Ravelry and in store.[/caption] On your site you rate each Kettle Yarn Co. base according to its ‘number of shaves’. What does this mean, and what sort of testing do you do on each yarn? Softness is a highly prized quality in yarn, giving the user a pleasure in working with it and and ease of wear. However, the cost of using a soft yarn is often pilling or damage to fibres as those short, tender fibres that give us gentle garments are also naturally prone to abrasion. I extensively wear test all my blends before adding them to the shop and look for the most luxurious AND hardwearing blends for Kettle Yarn Co.Though some of my yarns may pill a little bit, they will shave clean with no damage to the fibres – guaranteeing that your garments remain look their best! The wear chart shows the blends I carry and gives an indication of how many shaves it will take before light pilling stops completely. This way you can plan your projects according to how much wear they will be getting. For example,  socks take quite a lot of wear whereas shawls can be much more delicate and don't need to be as tough, therefore I'd pick a hearty one-shave yarn for socks and any of the others would work brilliantly for shawls. I heard that you were a painter before you became a yarn dyer. Can you tell us a little more about how your artistic background influences your business and colour ways? Yes, I have a Masters in fine art and painted in both acrylic and oils before starting my yarn dyeing journey. I find that my fine art/graphic design background means that colour comes easily to me and I can spend time focussing on subtlety of colour and sophisticated combinations. Oddly enough this is the only career I've had that allows me to combine so many of my strengths and experiences at work! [caption id="attachment_1035" align="aligncenter" width="1500"]Tambourine by Julia Farwell-Clay in ISLINGTON DK – British Bluefaced Leicester and Silk – colour ‘Neckinger’. The Tambourine pattern can be found in Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 12. Tambourine by Julia Farwell-Clay in ISLINGTON DK – British Bluefaced Leicester and Silk – colour ‘Neckinger’. The Tambourine pattern can be found in Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 12.[/caption] Are you a process or a product knitter? Both. I really enjoy the product but will frog back an entire jumper to fix something that doesn't feel quite right! It is important to me that I take the time to make things RIGHT and really, really well to truly enjoy the finished product. This is something that has taken me years to learn, but am so glad I have. What’s your current knitting project? I am currently working on a nice thick shawl design in my new Islington DK weight, which you are now carrying in shop! I have a stunning collection of patterns planned with some amazing designers in this gorgeous 100% British Bluefaced Leicester/ Silk blend which should come out in July, so keep an eye out for the announcement then.