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episode 58 – Fluph : skeins ‘n’ cakes ‘n’ balls ‘n’ things

Last week I went to Dundee to visit yarn shop Fluph and the wondrous proprietress Leona Jayne Kelly (and her two dogs Oskar and Arthur). We talk about wool, dyeing, the day-to-day of running a yarn shop and the juggling involved. We have a right old laugh too and listen in for a lovely give-away too!

A wee note: My laptop had a bad accident this week and I wanted to bring you a meaningful knit story that is now, for want of a better word, lost! I promised this story at the end of the last episode, so I am sorry if you were looking forward to that one. I will make a special meaningful knit episode very soon. Due to the death of the laptop the episode is a wee bit rough around the edges!

You can also listen on iTunes, the podcast app, or search your favourite podcatcher, if you prefer!

Today’s episode is sponsored by Fluphf8428dde0f0a81c435a3a23c37b62d56
Fluph is a Brick and Mortar yarn store at 164 Blackness Road in Dundee with and online store at www.fluph.co.uk.
Fluph sells a range of notions, patterns and wool from West Yorkshire Spinners to Jamieson and Smith to hand-dyed from Wool Kitchen to Leona’s own Rusty Ferret range.
New online and in store this month are Croft29 Hebridean yarns direct from a small croft in Skye.

For many listeners of the podcast the first introduction to Leona was possibly at EYF interview last year asking Karie Westermann if she would come and live in her basement! It is kind of ridiculous that it has taken me so long to go to visit her shop in Dundee!

We cover a lot of topics, such as why owning a yarn shop was not her first career dream; we talk about LJ’s hand-dye Rusty Ferret and the inspiration and driving force behind that. We also chat about the knitting community and how Fluph is part of a much larger craft community in Dundee and Tayside. 

LJ is funny, vivacious and incredibly honest about the pride and also the pitfalls of owning a yarn business. We also chat about experiences of mental health and the issues around being an introvert and how yarn and Fluph became part of an important journey. 

copyright: Leona-Jayne Kelly

copyright: Leona-Jayne Kelly

With stock from WYS, J&S, King Cole, Wendy Zauberball, Wool Kitchen and her own hand-dyed Rusty Ferret. There is a lot to love about the range of yarns and amid the commercial and hand-dyed yarn there is something quite special too – I bought some of the incredible Croft29 Hebridean wool, from Skye, which went in the online shop this week. It was thanks to one of her knit-night goers than LJ found out about this great yarn and the story behind it.

 

It is not the only small producer local yarn to be featured at Fluph, on Saturday 7th May (to be confirmed) Rosemary Champion, aka the Accidental Small-holder will  be launching her Ryeland yarn, from her own flocks, at Fluph. Do watch out on the Fluph blog for news of that and check out Rosedene Ryelands too!

As well as putting the Ryeland yarn event in your diary you should watch out for a Trunk Show with Yarns from the Plain on 25th May, classes with Karie Westermann and keep your peepers peeled for a return visit trunk show from Ripples Crafts. There are also plans afoot for a day with Old Maiden Aunt!

I get the very strong sense that a class, workshop or event at Fluph is very much like being with your own kin, in a friendly welcoming area and where the kettle is always on. I am sure you will agree from listening that LJ is an affable host with a generous, genuine and gorgeous spirit. Her shop is an utter joy, as is spending time in her company.

I love that she is so embracing of the knitting and craft community and that she would quite literally do anything for you, if it was in her power, despite sometimes struggling with her own anxieties and introverted feelings. We recorded a little more about craft and mental health, but I think that is something we will pick up on and share in another episode.  She talks with such fondness about her knit-night goers and for her the group is about chilling and having a great time, as well as knitting. I heard her offer the knit night times to a student customer who was saying she was amid revising and LJ said “there is a safe space here whenever you want it – just to get away for a while” – like i said, generous and genuine and thinking of others. 

 

Leona sent me away with a skein of Rusty Ferret yarn to give away as a prize to one lucky winner! To be in with a chance of winning please leave a comment on this post and give us your opinion. As LJ says in the show, she’d like your feedback on what you like to see in dyers updates – do you like the same stock colours each time, do you like one of a kind colours, do you want to see a Rusty Ferret Yarn Club one day? If you’ve never seen Rusty Ferret yarns, take a look at some of the examples, but do let us know your opinion. I will draw a winner before the next episode on 6th May and you might win this lovely sparkly Wink yarn in the Iridium colourway! 

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| Don’t Forget

Next Saturday is Yarn Shop Day! Check out if there are events near you and if not, just go to your favourite yarn store or online shop and show your support there

| UPDATE 4/5/16

I just drew a winner by random.org number generator and the winner is commenter number 8 – Cia! Well done! 

Untitledrferret

| Information

Music: Carefree by Kevin McLeod and Singin’ in The Rain (demo) by David Mumford – Both are on FreeMusicArchive and are both shared under Creative Commons Attribution license. Images are copyright to owners as stated, otherwise belong to me. 

24 Comments

  1. Linda Rumsey says

    What a gorgeous yarn – the colour is so regal! I adore one off colourways, but then if you fall in love with one and want to knit a complete set of accessories having repeated colourways can be great! No help at all I’m afraid.

  2. Amelia says

    I loved this episode, what a fun interview. I vote for option 3 — some favourites that are dyed repeatedly, and then some new colours that have just popped out of the dyer’s head.

  3. Diane says

    It would be nice that the most popular could be dyed repeatedly adding a new one here and there so it doesn’t get boring for the dyer either.

  4. Ann B says

    I usually use single skeins for accessories so I love variety! These colours are so tempting!

  5. Michelle Good says

    Loved the interview! She was so bubbly and super funny! It is awesome that she is dyeing her own yarns too. As far as what I would like to see, I think having both is best…A selection of colors that I could count on being available and fun, limited availability (perhaps seasonal) colorways. When I see colors that I love, with limited availability or quantity, I am far more likely to make an impulse buy. Happy Knitting!

  6. Isa says

    Gorgeous yarn, I loved the interview! I’d definitively be in for a color club.

  7. Anita says

    Agree totally with Amelia. Repeatable popular colorways that become sort of a signature of the dyer’s art, as are Rusty Ferret’s lovely grey variations, but also the pop of the one-off that allows the dyer—and the knitter—to be a bit madcap. Certainly the giveaway skein falls in that category. Pink, purple and sparkle! That begs to be a little girl accessory. And I have just such a little girl in mind…

  8. Cia says

    Really enjoyed listening on my train home this evening! In terms of hand-dyed yarn, I’m quite greedy- I like the option where both repeatable and one of a kind colourways are available. It’s quite handy being able to go back to a colourway for specific projects etc-especially if more than one skein is needed; but it’s also nice to be able to treat yourself to a one-off, special skein too.

  9. Granny fluph says

    Thanks everyone for the positive feedback for my daughter and her shop fae Lj’s mammy and Arthur’s and ossies granny xxxxx

  10. Michelle says

    What a joy to listen to. Just found this podcast and enjoyed it a great deal.

    It’s funny the request for what do I like as a fiber consumer. I thought I did know what I like. Then I signed up for a KAL. Digging through my stash I found I have all kinds of lovely colorways from yarn clubs, but no solids, or tonals. A dash out to a couple of local stores and I found a complimentary hank.

    So now I’m thinking, what do I like, no, what do I need and like? And I’m thinking about how yarn and patterns parallel kitchen stock ingredients and recipes.

    There are the stock cupboard ingredients – flour, sugar, oil, salt, etc.. This is solids, tonals, tweeds. Things I can always find, put together and make something satisfying. I like to have a certain stock of solid/tonals/tweeds available all the time.

    Then there’s seasonings, fresh veggies and fruit. This is variegated. Seasonal, some changing often and some available through the year. Can stand alone for something wonderful, or can be combined with the stock cupboard items to make a meal of it. Indi-dyers fit this because they can vary that yarn like the seasons that come and go. But keep the colorway for a set amount of time, like a year. Then if I decide to make something bigger, I can get more.

    There is candy. Gummy bears, licorice, M&Ms. Novelty yarn. Something with a bit of whimsy to it. To add a flair or make a toy. Indi-dyers do this great with beaded yarn, or weird weights plied together.

    Then there’s a trip to the chocolate and candies store. This is treat yarn. This is the stuff you hate to work up because you love to hold, pet, squish, admire it. You almost shed a tear when the hank gets wound into a ball or cake. (Had a hank that I wound, and almost put back in a hank.) And you probably won’t buy a whole bunch of it… unless you’ve lost all self control and buy everything on the shelf. It might be the experiment hank from an indi-dyer that there’s only one. Could be a special fiber, like mohair or quivit. Or a spinners limited run. This kind of thing keeps me checking an indi-dyers website again and again to see what’s new.

    I like to have some of it all in the house. But at any given time, I want to be able to run to a store or website and get my solid, tonal, variegated refilled. When I was stash diving for the KAL, it was like going to make pancakes and realizing I was out of flour when I didn’t have two complimentary hanks.

    Sorry for the length, I didn’t realize I has such feelings about yarn and color. Hope it’s helpful feedback.

  11. Terry says

    I like one of a kind so I know I will create something unique, even if my friend has knit the same pattern

  12. Sharon Bice says

    Great podcast, love that you traveled out to introduce us to Fluph!I have bookmarked her site for future shopping!

    For me, I just love discovering new colorways from a hand dyer…that unique skein that is truly one-of-a-kind. It is what keeps me excited about knitting!

  13. Jules says

    Great podcast as ever.

    I have been thinking about what I like from Indie dyers and as feeble as this may sound I enjoy a number of things, I like a few regular colours or bases something you can rely on finding when it is needed but I also love the thrill of a yarn club, not knowing until it arrives in the post what it is going to be. I also like limited yarns those precious skeins that deserve to be made into something special.

    Completely agree with Anita the giveaway skein is fabulously madcap.

  14. Superb interview! Louise, you have a real knack of finding not only the wools with integrity but also the indie yarn players who are savvy business people but also fundamentally love a/ wool and b/ people who really enjoy woolly activities! It was super to hear Leona’s candid take on running a business but also on navigating life with depression and running a business when one is an introvert rather than a flashy self-promoter!

  15. Ulrika says

    This was a great episode! Thank you Louise. I like variation and surprises a lot.

  16. Sara W says

    What a great interview. Thanks so much to you both for the insight into setting up and running an independent yearn store. I love that LJ turned to dyeing as a way to enhance the business. This could be a real strength for her.

    Like many others I love the fact that we can get individual skeins for one off projects. I think this variety can be one of the selling features of an independent producer. But, I can’t imagine not having some well loved favourites to reappear again and again. So maybe the answer is a bit of both, with variety spinning the interest around a core of weel kent faces.

    All the best to Fluph!

  17. Flb says

    I think the way she is doing it is the best (although not sure about the ratio), so that there is an option for people who want to know what they are knitting and for people who want only one skein every time.however, I really like that you write down the recipes and I think you could advertise that, so that customers could order out of recipes you have done before. Good luck!

  18. I loved the episode – what a great interview! It was such a joy and I could forget all around me. Thank you! Wishing Fluph great success!
    I would vote for the third option too. A bit of everything; some old favorites and new colors too. Most importantly I think it needs to work for the dyer – if creative work is done with joy & passion, one can see and feel it as a customer. Keep up the great work and thanks for doing this!

  19. FubsyMog says

    Seems like I’m not alone in liking dyers to have some colourways that are ‘stock’, plus some OOAK ones! I would think of it as maybe a 3-level system, with some long-runnning colours, some medium (like maybe seasonal), and some one-offs or exclusives. I’ve just signed up for my first yarn club – it’s with a local dyer who I’ve bought from before, so I know I like her style. It’s important to me to be reasonably sure I’ll like the yarn club contents as I have a limited budget, so a bit of a hint at the kinds of colours/general theme is something that would encourage me to sign up to a club.

    Great interview – I wish I didn’t live across the sea from Dundee now! I liked the bit about the acrylic, how there’s always a place for 100% acrylic, amongst the real wool – it’s refreshing to see a shop that sells a range of types of yarn. Something I don’t like about some LYS’s is that they really only stock one kind of yarn, so most of their stock is overwhelmingly one type of thing. Which is great if that’s the thing you like, and not if it’s…not. LJ seems to have a bit of something for everybody, from the bargain acrylic when you need something hardwearing for a gift for a non-knitter, to the artisan Hebridean for something special.

  20. Bowen says

    I like to see a stock of some consistent colors from a dyer mixed with some whimsy of whatever is inspiring the dyer at the time, So a mix is preferred. Enjoyed the chat on the podcast and looking forward to seeing the yarn next year at EYF!

  21. I love this color! For indie yarn dyers (I buy the majority of my yarn from them!) I prefer consistent colors, or at least offering a large bath of one-time colorways – every time I’ve tried to grab a unique skein, I end up losing out to someone else and it’s so frustrating!

  22. Claudia says

    What a lovely interview. It’s great that people can make a living with what they like and I’m very willing to support this.
    As for the yarn, I do like the thrill of clubs and I think they are a great opportunity for dyers to be creative whith having the necessary financial support. As for me as customer, club colours are a great source of inspiration, even when they have colours I won’t normally go for. Besides, regular colours do come in handy for bigger projects and to mix with club colours. Every good fortune to this lovely individual yarn shop.

  23. ikkinlala says

    I like to see a mix of regular colours/yarns and one-offs, but I have to admit I am not inclined to sign up for clubs. Part of that is wanting to know what I am getting and part of it is that I once got burned on a club signup that didn’t end up getting shipped (or refunded).

  24. I vote for a mix of regular repeatable colors with occasional exciting new options. It’s fun to see new stuff, but also frustrating if you see something you love and then find out it’s no longer available. Some dyers rotate colorways in and out of their offerings, which is I think a good compromise between making thing available without the dyer having to always dye the same colorways over and over.

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