Interview: Inside the Studio with Peak District Yarns
“A friend of mine invited me to play with some dye in her kitchen one day – and that was me hooked!”
Our Editorial Assistant Liam is chatting with Carrie Warr, expert yarn dyer and owner of Peak District Yarns
Can you tell us what a normal day involves for you?
I’m not sure there is a normal day in the Peak District Yarns Studio! I’ll either be in my production space dyeing yarn, in the studio talking to visitors about yarn, or running a yarn-dyeing workshop. And all of this is mostly squeezed into weekends, as I also work full time during the week!
How did you first come to try your hand at dying yarn?
As an avid sock knitter, I found myself getting through a lot of sock yarn and analysing how the colours on the skein knitted up. A friend of mine invited me to play with some dye in her kitchen one day – and that was me hooked! It’s taken a lot of experimentation and study since then to master my dyeing technique – and I’m still learning today.
Your colourways are often inspired by the landscapes of the Peak District – what is it that attracts you?
The Peak District is simply a gorgeous place to live. You have the stunning views, amazing sunsets, the heather on the moors in the autumn and the orchids in the spring. The local Derbyshire folk are pretty colourful too!
Your studio is open to the public on Saturdays. Why do you feel it is important to open your doors?
For a start, people love to squish the yarn. Online shopping is fine, but if people can’t feel the quality of the product or see the vibrancy of the colours some of them are reluctant to buy. It is also an opportunity for me to test out some new yarn bases or colourway ideas – getting feedback face to face is always very powerful. And I love showing off my lovely village of Tideswell. People visit the studio and also spend time mooching around the other shops in the village, visiting the stunning ‘Cathedral of the Peak’, or stop for lunch in one of the cafes.
You run regular workshops. Can you tell us what sort of things participants can expect to learn?
I run a range of yarn-dyeing workshops – you can do an Introduction course where you learn the basics and get to dye your own unique skein; or a ‘Next Steps’ course where you learn a bit more theory and apply that on a hands-on session. If people want to take it to the next level, they can attend a three-day ‘Dye Camp’ where they hang out with me in the dye studio, learn more advanced techniques and play with a wider range of yarn bases. As well as learning, we have a lot of laughs – and cake.
Can you tell us about the Peak District yarn trail and why you decided to become part of this initiative?
You hear a lot about local yarn shops closing down as people shift to purchasing online. We want to do all we can to prevent this in the Peak District! So six of us got together – we don’t have the massive marketing budgets of the big internet wool shops, but we do have friendly service, unique products and the unique Peak District scenery around us that people can explore on a Yarn Trail road trip! You can find out more at www.peakdistrictyarns.co.uk/peak-district-yarn-trail
As well as yarn, what else can readers expect to find in your store?
I stock a range of accessories – needles, project bags, stitch markers etc. I try and support local artists and designers – so I have some locally made jewellery and a good stock of cards, including a range of cards from a local artist (Alison Wake, Cognissart) who creates amazing embroideries of local scenes using my yarn! You can also find patterns – mostly socks and shawls – and batts for felting and spinning from Annie at The Wild Spinster.
Find out more…