It’s Christmas in July!

I’ll be honest, I do love Christmas but I genuinely thought “Christmas in July” was just something the Girl Scouts made up when I was doing Camp America some years ago! But it appears it also exists in Etsy-land so I’m quite happy to embrace the Christmas spirit, despite the warm weather, and use today to launch my very exciting new advent calendars!



Yarn lovers advent calendar!

The ideal way for all true yarn lovers to count down to Christmas! Containing 24 days of individually wrapped and numbered, botanically dyed skeins, plus optional extras, this is a gift to make this festive season extra special, either for yourself or for your favourite yarn addict!

This is available with several different options, depending on how much yarn you want (either 10g or 20g per day), which fibre(s) you would like (organic cotton, linen, hemp and tencel), and whether you’ve got space in your project bag for just a few more helpful extras!

The boxes are now available to pre-order. All orders must be placed by the end of September (but the sooner the better as numbers are limited!), and the boxes will ship at the beginning of November.

Spinners don’t despair: I’ve got you covered too!

These boxes will also contain 24 days of individually wrapped fibre-y treats, made up of 22 x 25g of botanically dyed fibre braids (2 of each of rose, seacell, mint, bamboo, tencel, soybean, carbonised bamboo, ramie, hemp, banana, and flax), 25g of mixed fibre rolags, and a 25g mixed fibre batt.

As with the yarn advent calendar, this is also a pre-order and numbers are limited. These too need to be ordered by the end of September and will be shipped at the beginning of November in time for the festive season.

Get yours here!

Happy “Christmas in July”!

Flora Fibres, Privacy, and You

In line with the new GDPR regulations coming into effect on May 25th 2018 I have updated my privacy policy. Please read on to find out how this effects you, and what I will be doing with your information (spoiler alert: nothing you weren’t expecting me to!). However if you have any further questions about this policy, please feel free to contact me.

Privacy Policy

As fans and customers of Flora Fibres Yarn I may hold some information about you (such as your name, email address or postal address). This information does not include your bank details or other financial information, as this is held securely by the processing companies, whether you are buying products from my Etsy store, patterns from my Ravelry store, or paying an invoice via PayPal. These companies never share this information with me, or anyone else, and for more information about each of these companies you can view their privacy policies here:

Etsy’s privacy policy, Ravelry’s privacy policy, PayPal’s privacy policy.

How I collect information

My mailing list is managed using Mailchimp, and by signing up for it you will be kept in touch with what’s going on in the world of Flora Fibres. You will only end up on this mailing list if you have chosen to sign up yourself (which you can do here), or if you have specifically asked to join the mailing list, for example by completing a “join our mailing list” form at a yarn festival. I will never add people to the list without their consent, and you are always able to leave the list at any time by unsubscribing, the link to do it is at the bottom of every email I send.

Whenever you place an order from Flora Fibres Yarn, either directly or through Etsy or Ravelry, you provide me with sufficient information to process the order for you.

The website provider I use, WordPress, has cookies enabled for this site to make sure your computer (or other device) is recognised if you visit here again. It verifies who you are, for example if you are a fellow WordPress user and are logged in to your account, or if you have commented on any of my posts.

Who has access to your information

In a word: me! As the sole maker, creator and all round business woman behind Flora Fibres Yarn I am the only one who ever has access to your information. And I never, ever pass that information on to other people. Promise. Not even if they say please.

When you sign up for my mailing list, your details are also held securely on the Mailchimp servers. You can read about their privacy policy here and also their terms of use.

When you pay for an order through Etsy, Ravelry or PayPal, they will also hold some information about you. You can see their privacy policies here:

Etsy’s privacy policy, Ravelry’s privacy policy, PayPal’s privacy policy.

How I use your information

When you place an order for a physical item you provide me with your name and postal address which I use to send your order to you. I retain proof of postage for all orders in the hopefully unlikely event that something should get lost in the post. The receipts, which do not contain all of your personal information, are nonetheless all stored securely.

I send out (semi) regular newsletters to those who have joined my mailing list. By joining the list you can expect to receive information such as previews of new stock, to product development, upcoming events and the general news.

If you have contacted me about any of my products or patterns, you can expect to hear from me using the contact information you have provided.

In the unlikely event that I decide to stop rolling around in big piles of lovely yarn and do something completely different, I will contact you first so that you can decide if you still want to receive newsletters from me.

How I store information

Mailchimp hosts details of all members of my mailing list on their secure servers.

I keep an electronic spreadsheet of customers who have bought products from me, and this is solely used for accounting and tax purposes. Only your name, and not contact details or any other information, is held in it (businesses need to keep sales records for at least 6 years). This spreadsheet is kept on my password protected computer, in my house and is not visible to others.

I have access to my Etsy and Ravelry stores, and mailing list, on my smartphone and tablet which do leave the house with me, but again these are both password protected and I never access your details on unsecured public wi-fi where security might be an issue.

Your rights

You can at any time ask me what details I hold on you, and I will happily give you full details free of charge. You also have the right to ask that your details be deleted, amended or transferred. And if you ever change your mind about what information you want me to hold on your behalf, please just contact me.

Flora Fibres 2nd birthday and new pattern release!

Woo hoo! Happy (business) birthday to me 😀

As I did last year with the Snakes and Ladders Shawl, I have created a new pattern to release today in celebration of another year in this business which I love! This year the pattern is very special to me, as the inspiration for it came from a very dear old lady, my grandad’s cousin Pat, who we recently lost at the grand old age of 102 years. She was always full of life, and had many an adventure in her time as a mission doctor in Africa (she wasn’t a missionary she’d like me to add, she always made a point of telling people she was far too naughty for that!). The inspiration for this shawl came from a gorgeous shawl pin she kindly left me, which I felt deserved to be worn with something as colourful and full of life as she was, and also my hands down, favourite memory of her:

The event took place a very long time ago when I was just a wee girl, and we were at my grandma’s house for the family Christmas dinner. Now my grandma was good at many things, but cooking was not one of them. I’m sure she started boiling those vegetables some time around the beginning of December to get them quite so soft and tasteless! And she was not the sort of grandma who would accept you not eating the food put in front of you. So my wee brother and I were making our best attempt at eating them, when Pat clearly decided she’d had enough of them too. She whipped a tube of Smarties out of her handbag, popped them open, scattered them across the table, and gleefully announced “oh children, you don’t want to eat that! Let’s eat Smarties instead!”

So in her honour let me present to you my celebration of life, love and family: the Smarties for Dinner shawl!

It is an asymmetric triangle shawl, knitted from side to side with yarn over increases. It uses several techniques including colour changes to create the rainbows at either end, some 2 stranded colour work to create the rows of colourful “Smarties”, and two decorative lace panels, one which represents the plates and napkins on the Christmas table, and the other the love and admiration for an incredible lady.

 

 

A delightful pop of colour to liven up any outfit and to remind us all to live life to the fullest.

It is knitted using Scheepjes Catona cotton yarn, and you can see the full requirements and purchase the pattern from my Ravelry store here:

 

Easy, gadget free, skein winding trick!

I just have to share with you all this awesome trick I learned recently!

Did you know that you can wind a skein of yarn using absolutely no gadgets? No need for a niddy noddy, or a swift, or even 2 dining chairs, this easy trick will let you make a skein of yarn using only your own arm!

It’s ideal for beginner spinners, particularly those who only spin on a drop spindle, as you can wind off your yarn without having to use any other gadgets. It’s also a great trick to know if you want to spin whilst out and about, or when travelling, as you don’t need to take any other equipment with you!

Let me know if you try it and it works for you!

What a week!

Oh. My. Goodness. What a week!

Between getting out new rescue pup (you might have seen pictures of her on my Instagram stories) and “The Beast From The East”/Snowmageddon and now everything melting and flooding, we have had an interesting few days!

First of all, let me introduce you properly to my gorgeous new fur baby!

Isn’t she just adorable?! She’s settled in really well, even if she is a bit of a scatterbrain, and we all love her very much. She was a bit confused by all the snow at first, but then took to it like a pro and enjoyed chasing snowballs. Although I’m sure she’ll be pleased to be able to go for a proper walk without getting such cold toes now!

As far as my work is concerned you needn’t worry – she isn’t allowed into my workroom and also being a short coated dog she doesn’t shed (or smell very doggy!) so you aren’t suddenly going to start receiving yarn covered in dog hair. If you are allergic to dog hair please do let me know and I will wash and dry your yarn or fibre again before posting it to you, to be extra sure that none of her hair is on it.

Let me share a few photos with you of the winter wonderland we had: it really was quite spectacular while it lasted!

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Whilst I’m sure that those of you who live in actually snowy countries (I’m looking at you, Canada 😉 ) will think this is nothing special, it’s the most snow I have seen for years. I’ve never before lived somewhere that has actually been cut off from the outside world as all the roads were impassable! And whilst it was lovely while it lasted, I’m looking forward to warming up and drying out again!

Did the snow effect you? Or do you live somewhere where this would just be a normal day?!

And the answer is…

I have one question which I am asked more than any other, even more often than “Rose fibre? You mean from real roses?” and the burning question which so many of you are desperate to know the answer to is whether or not my yarn is suitable for knitting socks.

And it got to the point where I was being asked so often that just saying “I don’t know” wasn’t really cutting it, so in the interests of fully answering your question I made my own custom blend of sock yarn (roughly half and half bamboo and faux cashmere) and I’ve been wearing it for a while to test it out.

So, without further ado, here is the result of my great sock experiment:

(The pattern I used is the Winwick Mum Basic Sock Pattern by Christine Perry, adjusted to create an ankle length sock)

 

Demystifying WPI

So you’ve bought a skein of hand spun yarn and it has some mystery code on it: “WPI”. What on Earth is it, what does it mean, and how is it going to help you?

Quite simply WPI stands for “Wraps Per Inch” and it’s the way that spinners calculate the weight of the yarn they have spun. But not only that, it is also incredibly useful if you’ve lost the tag for a ball of yarn and can’t remember what weight it was. Rather than blindly guessing, WPI will tell you exactly.

(Note: at this point it is useful to mention that when I say weight I don’t mean how heavy your ball of yarn is, you’ll need a set of scales for that! Rather I mean calculating whether your yarn is lace weight or super bulky)

Basically all you need to do is wrap your yarn around an object which has one inch marked on it, say a ruler, a pencil, or a specially made WPI gauge. Personally I use a little steel rule which I “acquired” from my husband’s desk (don’t worry, he’s got another!). Then the more wraps of your yarn that are required to fill up the whole of the marked inch, the finer the weight of your yarn. It really is quite simple!

Once you know your WPI you can then translate it into a yarn weight. There are several different tables available (some which I agree with and some which I definitely don’t!), so here is the table I use:

WPI Yarn Weight
>35 Lace
29-34 Heavy lace
23-28 Light fingering
19-22 Fingering
15-18 Sport
12-14 DK
9-11 Worsted
7-8 Bulky
<6 Super bulky

I have also written this out as a handy pdf which you can see here:  Yarn Weight from WPI.

And for those who prefer a video tutorial, I filmed myself measuring the WPI of one of my latest skeins. I hope you find it helpful!

New Yarns and Fibres!

It’s beginning to feel like spring is definitely on the way at last, with sweet little snowdrops appearing and the first signs of daffodils poking up from their underground hiding places. I’ve been embracing all the colours of the new season in eager anticipation, and I think it definitely shows through in today’s shop update! There are greens, yellows and pinks galore, like a glorious array of new blooms!

The spinning fibre section of the shop has been restocked, and there are now 9 cheery braids awaiting you. There is mint, rose, seacell, soybean, tencel, abaca and ramie, plenty to tempt both novice spinners and those who fancy trying a more challenging fibre.

Shop Fibre

 

I’ve been creating some heavier weight yarns this week too, to appeal to those of you who aren’t lace knitters. I know I tend to spin fine yarns, so I have made a concious effort to remember that not everyone likes the same as me! These 2 ply skeins are either DK or worsted weight, and are so gorgeously soft they will be delightful to snuggle into.

There is soybean, mint, rose, and a gorgeous blend made up of rose, seacell, bamboo and tencel fibres which is exquisite, even if I do say so myself!

 

 

 

 

 

But I haven’t strayed too far from tradition, and there are also these fine weight yarns available too: 3 lace weight and 1 light fingering weight, in rose, bamboo, abaca and tencel

Buy Now

 

 

 

 

 

And there are still fibre sample cards available in the shop, ideal for those of you who haven’t come across some of these more unusual fibres in real life and who would like to be introduced to them. Perfect too as a source of inspiration for your next project!

Sample Cards

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all from me for today, I’m off to watch some more of the winter olympics! Have you been enjoying the sport and dreaming of ski holidays as I have?

Perth Festival of Yarn!

Ooh I’m so very excited to share this big news with you all! You may have already seen this on Instagram or Facebook but for anyone who missed the announcement: I’m going to be a vendor at the Perth Festival of Yarn! (I should maybe add that it’s Perth, Scotland 😉 )

What makes it especially exciting is that Eva, the organiser, reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in attending as they had one of the other vendors drop out. Apart from this being a huge honour to have been asked, I’m also so happy to see that they are going out of their way to make it as diverse and inclusive as possible by inviting someone who doesn’t sell wool. Much as I have enjoyed other events I’ve been to, it’s been more for meeting people and looking at patterns and accessories. The thought of being a part of a yarn festival that also caters to those who choose not to use wool is very appealing!

This will be my first in person event where I’ll be selling my yarn, and I do so hope to meet some of you there! Are you planning on attending? Let me know! And do stop by and say hi on the day!

An introduction to: tencel

The next fibre I’d like to introduce you to is tencel!

This amazing fibre is definitely one you should try out if you haven’t already. It has the most incredible lustre and shine, and when dyed it takes on the colour incredibly well to give truly beautiful results. Yarns made from tencel fibres are also smooth, soft and strong, making them delightful to work with. The company who produce Tencel, Lenzing AG, say “(tencel is) more absorbent than cotton, softer than silk and cooler than linen.”

Tencel is actually a brand name for a fibre also called lyocell, which is regenerated from cellulose extracted from wood pulp. The wood used for the purpose is eucalyptus, which is sustainably grown on farms in Europe, on land which is unsuitable for agriculture. It therefore does not compete for space with crops, unlike cotton. It also uses 10-20% less water to produce than cotton. The farms which grow the trees have been awarded FSC certification to show they are environmentally and socially responsible.

The fibres are then extracted from the wood pulp using non-toxic chemicals in an almost 100% closed loop system, which means almost everything used in the process is recaptured and does not leak out to pollute surrounding land and waterways. And the fibres are naturally white so no bleach is used in the process to whiten them. Over 100 patents have been awarded to the company for the fibre extraction process, showing how important technology is in the production of eco-friendly fibres! The process is so good that the company has been awarded the “European Award for the Environment” from the European Union. Quite the achievement!

So now that you feel good about choosing tencel for its environmental qualities, what’s in it for you? Well, there’s lots to love about this fibre!

As it is so incredibly absorbant it makes an excellent choice to wear next to the skin, especially in summer when it gets hot and you start to sweat *ahem* sorry, glow! We ladies glow, don’t we 😉 The fibres draw the moisture away from the skin, keeping you cool and also preventing bacterial growth. The incredibly smooth surface of the fibres are so soft they are ideal for anyone with sensitive skin. Unlike wool for example which is covered in tiny barbs, the tencel fibres are so smooth they won’t irritate the skin.

Tencel fibres respond incredibly well to natural dyes, taking on beautifully deep colours, which look incredible when paired with the incredible lustre of the fibres. See an example here of some blue yarn (dyed with black beans), which has already been spun, and some yellow (gorse) and green (gorse then black beans) fibres which I’ll be spinning soon:

Have you tried tencel yet? If you are now excited to try some for yourself, you can check out my current stock of tencel yarn here.

(TENCEL® is a trademark of Lenzing AG)