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60 Second Interview: Once a Sheep

Next up is Karen from Once a Sheep, a LYS based in Gourock on the west coast of Scotland. Karen will be bringing her range of looms and spinning wheels to Edinburgh Yarn Festival - and she also shares my passion for Gotland wool! :-) SilkMerino300x225

When did you start knitting/spinning/crocheting?

I started knitting and crochet when I was 4 or 5 and was taught initially by my Grandma who was an amazing craftswoman. My earliest memories are of being clothed from head to toe in handknit fairisle! My mother then refined my skills and she is still my first port of call if I am ever stuck.

I started spinning in my forties after I decided that I needed to understand the whole process from fleece to finished object, and then I took up weaving as the perfect way to use all my handspun skeins.

What was your first knitting/spinning/crochet project?

My first project was a very holey, very uneven stripy scarf for my precious teddy.

Can you show us some of the products you'll be bringing to the festival?


knitters loom combojoy

What are you most proud of?

Promoting knitting, crochet and fibre crafts and producing so many new knitters/spinners and weavers. I was also a founder member of the Clyde Coast Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.

How many WIPS have you got?

I have just come out of a January Finish-along so now I only have 6 knitting projects on the go, though I am about to cast on another 5 display items for the Spring/Summer shop window! (Let’s not even discuss the spinning and weaving projects!)

Do you use Ravelry?

Ravelry is a fantastic resource for me on a personal level but I also use it in store all the time as a reference manual, a pattern source and a communication tool.

Have you got a favourite pattern desiger and why?  

From the mainstream stable I love Martin Storey, his use of colour and texture appeals to me. Amongst the independent designers I love Ysolda, Stephen West and Cookie A.

What's on your needles/hook/spindle right now?

Amongst others, I have 3 pairs of socks on the go, a Stephen West Daybreak and Anniken Allis’ Dollis shawl. I have some gorgeous Gotland from Woolfest that is being spun and plied with a variety of other fibres, some Alpaca from Gilmour Bank Alapacas plus fibre from Easy Knits and Hill Top Katie!

If you had to pick just one kind of yarn to knit with/ tool to work with / fibre to spin for the rest of your life what would it be?

I simply couldn’t choose a single yarn, one of things I love about knitting is the different effects you can create with different fibres and to knit with just one forever would be torture! However if it had to be just one fibre I might plump for Gotland to spin on my lovely Ashford Joy wheel, I love everything about Gotland, even the smell!

Thanks Karen! For more information about Once a Sheep, you can follow them on twitterfacebook or blipfoto.


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