Monday, 7 July 2014

Unwind with Midwinter Yarns

This vendor keeps us connected to our contintental friends but acutally dwells in Wales. Estelle of Midwinter Yarns will be joining Unwind as a vendor so I asked her to answer a few questions and share some of her crafting experiences with us...

Please introduce yourself and your business in 2-3 sentences.
My name is Estelle, I am Swedish living in beautiful Wales and I started Midwinter Yarns in April this year, launching at Wonderwool. The Scandinavian countries have an amazing tradition of knitting and an ingrained love for natural materials, yet ,except for a couple of big brands like Lopi and Drops, are terrible at marketing their beautiful yarns abroad. This is what I want to change.

 What treats can we look forward to seeing at your stand during Unwind?
Lots of yarn, lots of colour! Pirkkalanka, a pure wool yarn from Finland, comes in amazing, rich colours and two thicknesses, perfect for fine colour work or solid winter sweaters (wrong time of year, I know!). Ullcentrum produces glorious gradients and self striping yarn in rustic Swedish wool – they pioneered the technique of spinning the gradient using different colour fibre rather than dyeing it, and I’ll be bringing some fab new bright colourways as well as the more muted, earthy ones. But if all that wool seems a bit hot and heavy, I’ll have some lovely, cool linen yarns as well.
Ullcentrum Gradient Grey

How do you reflect your mixed influences (Welsh and Scandinavian) in your business?
The main feature of the business are the Scandinavian yarns. I try to pick them based either on the origin of the raw materials – Ullcentrum collects wool from Swedish farms which would otherwise be burnt as waste- , their relevance to traditional knitting techniques such as the Lovikka yarn or for being in keeping with the Scandinavian design aesthetic.

Our family-produced Squeaky Elliot yarns are born much from the same idea: my brother in law keeps sheep on the Gower Peninsula and when I realised that the wool they produced was more of a burden than an asset (for the price the British Wool Board pays the farmers, it costs them more in diesel getting the wool to the depot!), I felt that it was important to use this wool for something worthwhile, especially given Wales’ wool-producing history.

Gower Wool
I live in a valley surrounded by sheep, and I am from a country that teaches you a love of natural materials, so I guess the main reflection is a faithfulness to natural fibres – the only yarn with a man-made content that I stock is a dedicated sock yarn where it’s necessary for strength.

Tell us more about Midwinter Yarns name.
I have been accused by some of picking a bit of a bleak name. To me, midwinter is anything but! Midwinter is my favourite time of year – what better time to curl up with a cup of tea and a knitting than when it’s dark and miserable and blowing a gale outside?

Lovikka yarn
Where did your crafting journey begin?
My mother taught me to knit when I was 5 or 6. It was an absolute chore and I had to be bribed to finish each row, but I did learn and eventually started to enjoy going to yarn shops and putting colours together – this was around the height of Kaffe Fassett’s popularity. I also learnt to sew in school – Swedish children spend half the year working with textiles, the other half doing woodwork, so crafting is very much part of everyday life rather than a hobby as such.

What are you looking forward to the most about Unwind?
As I am still so new to the market, I’m really looking forward to people discovering our yarns and meeting new customers. For me, I’m just so excited about the incredible selection of vendors – I expect bad things to happen to my profits at L’Oisivethe and their selection of Madelinetosh - and the possibility of meeting my design hero Veera Valimaki.

A big thank you to Estelle for taking the time to share some insight into her knitting world. You can find Midwinter Yarns’ website by visiting . To keep up to date with all of the latest Midwinter news, keep an eye on Instagram (midwinteryarns) Facebook and the blog

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