Thursday, 6 August 2015

interview with Helen of Ripplescraft

I am so excited that Helen froms Ripples Crafts will be visiting us on Saturday. I thought it would be good fun to find out a little bit about Helen before we all dive into her car on Saturday before she gets the yarn out!

fluph - Thank you so much for taking to time to answer my questions, an answer i always want to     know What made you start dying yarn?

Helen - I have been a knitter for as long as I can remember, and had begun to use hand dyed yarns from other UK dyers. Then I went to an informal workshop with The Border Tart (Lindsay Roberts) who now dyes the most beautiful indigo yarns, and I was hooked! We used kool aid for our dabbling, but it wasn't long before I progressed to acid dyes. When we made the move north to the highlands, I converted my passion into a business. And hey presto! Ripples Crafts was born.

f - When dying yarn, what do you use for inspiration?
H - Simple - the landscape in Assynt, where I live. I just have to look out my workshop (aka shed!) door and I see hills and the sea and wild flowers and sheep and rocks. The weather plays a big part too, as the landscape is continuously changing its mood and look depending on the weather.

f - I am trying to learn more about sheep breeds and fibre, do you have a favourite base you like to dye with and why?
H - Ohhhh now that is a really really difficult one. And for some, contentious, as we all tend to become a little "precious" about our favourites. But I do love Bluefaced Leicester. It has a marvellous sheen which makes the colours "zing". However, having grown up in Southern Africa, Merino is a personal favourite too. I am thoroughly enjoying dyeing my part yak base at the moment, as this too has a glorious sheen, and given it is mixed with silk it really does sing once dyed.

f - Do you have anything excting on your needles?
H - I've been trying to get samples finished for shows. At the moment I'm working on "Stay the Same" by Veera Valimaki in my Suilven base which is the 4ply merino/silk/yak mix. The pattern has an interesting method for achieving block colour in the garment, which I've enjoyed doing. The large section of twisted rib .... not enjoying that so much.

I'm also nearly completing a pair of socks in the new base I have for sock yarn, which is a double knitting. They are knitting up so quickly!

f - so what your stash is like? is it ridiculous or fairly tame?
H - Can we move on to the next question ....?? Seriously, my stash is a bit of a bone of contention between Mr RC and myself. He keeps finding what I thought was well hidden sections of stash.

now onto the important stuff?
f -How do you take your tea/ coffee?
H -I don't really drink ordinary tea. I'll bring some Rooibos tea bags with me, if I remember, otherwise I'm happy with coffee, milk no sugar. And to sound like an extra super snob, I don't drink instant .....  (Mr fluph will be on your side with this one!)

f - Favourite cake?
H - Hmmmmmmm ..... lemon drizzle, carrot, chocolate, but not all mixed together in one cake!

f - totally random question since you are from the same end of the country as me, do you have a favourite scottish word and what does it mean?
H - Oh another hard one. Probably "stooshie" as it is so descriptive. There isn't really an English equivalent that holds quite so much meaning or implied meaning. In the same vein, Dreich - it is so much more than just grey and wet. 

stooshie - a row or fracas.
Dreich - (especially of weather) dreary; bleak

f - So apart from yarnygoodness, do you have a passion for anything else?
H - My family and dogs. and community. I think as I get older I have become more "political" in terms of my outlook on the world, and if I were to be elected to office my byline would be "be most excellent to one another". Kind of sums it all up really. But let us be clear .... I'm not standing for political office! Ever!

Helen i would vote for you! As i said Helen will be here with her car filled with goodie on Saturday, if you are in the area we would love to see you, there will be cake and tea and good chat also. 

Photos given with kind permission from Ripples crafts and Jeni Reid

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