We sat down with Elaine from Baa Baa Brighouse to chat about Baa Baa Brew, the first hand-dyed yarn range, and we were also lucky enough to get our hands on a few skeins to test…
As you’d expect from 100% British Bluefaced Leicester, this yarn feels special from the first touch. The individual hand-dying process adds character to each skein and makes semi-solid colours which knit up beautifully to add depth to the fabric. It’s a DK weight and is super soft and smooth feel to the yarn helps it to glide across the needles gracefully. We’ve really enjoyed knitting with this and the colours are perfect for summer so it’s going straight into the stash. It also comes in a gift box bundle and mini skeins so it would make a great gift for a knitty friend.
What inspired you to launch your own hand-dyed range?
Since setting up Baa Baa Brighouse in 2014, ultimately introducing our own yarn range has always been my aim. To have our very own yarn brand featuring our own logo is something I really aspired to. The more I learned about the whole process of yarn production, from sheep to shop shelf, the more fascinated I became and working with a whole host of other independent yarn dyers through our monthly subscription yarn club, the Yan Tan Tethera Yarn Club, was very inspirational and encouraged me to develop our own hand dyed range, Baa Baa Brew.
How involved are you in the hand dyeing process of your yarns?
Baa Baa Brew is all hand dyed by me personally in my kitchen. It really is a hand crafted yarn. Each 100g skein is immersed in its own dye bath and left unagitated, allowing the dye to be absorbed naturally, producing very subtle variations in tone. The yarn is then air dried, wound, re-skeined and tied by hand with a Baa Baa Brighouse label and satin ribbon. The whole process can be quite time consuming but the quality of the product produced speaks for itself.
Can you tell us about the benefits of knitting and crocheting with Bluefaced Leicester?
Bluefaced Leicester is probably the most sought after British wool out there. This is reflected in its clip value per kig given by the British Wool Marketing Board when compared with several other native breeds. Bluefaced Leicester yarn is well known for its lustre and softness which makes it ideal for a wide variety of knitting and crochet projects as it is gentle next to skin. Wool is a natural, renewable, eco-friendly resource and has so many benefits when knitted into garments, not least because it is a breathable fibre, meaning that it keeps you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot. Not only that, when you knit or crochet with wool, you are helping to support The Campaign for Wool, something which Baa Baa Brighouse is keenly involved in.
Could you explain more about the process of selecting the shades and the names behind each yarn?
I wanted to produce a yarn that embodied the true essence of Yorkshire, something which celebrated and promoted the area from where it came - its heritage and its people. So, the name Baa Baa Brew was chosen because we all know Yorkshire folk are fond of a good brew and of course, it also references the dyeing process. The six colours are known as ‘The Brighouse Collection’ and each colour is named after an area of Brighouse, the town in which it was dyed or’brewed’. They are Rastrick, Woodhouse, Clifton, Thornhills, Hove Edge and Brookfoot.
You have some exciting new gift boxes available, what goodies are inside?
Yes, again with the gift boxes I wanted to really highlight the Yorkshire theme of Baa Baa Brew, so each box not only contains a skein of yarn and a ‘Time for a Baa Baa Brew’ mug, but treats from other true Yorkshire companies such as Taylors of Harrogate, Yorkshire Lavender and Lottie Shaw’s. The contents are presented in a lovely white gift box, inlaid with premium quality tissue paper and wrapped in a satin ribbon which really make it into something special.
We have also introduced Baa Baa Brew 25g Mini Skeins Boxes too. These include six mini skeins of Baa Baa Brew, one in each colour - a sample of the entire Baa Baa Brew collection. They have proved incredibly popular since their launch and are fantastic for colourwork or to trim larger garments made in Baa Baa Brew.
What exciting other products do you have on the horizon?
We hope to be working with a Yorkshire based knitwear designer in the near future to produce a collection of patterns to support the Baa Baa Brew range, something which we are incredibly excited about!
We are also working on two new colours to add to the Baa Baa Brew range which we hope to launch in time for the Autumn/Winter 2016 season. The names of the new colours have been voted for in an online poll by the people of Brighouse. They chose the names Welholme and Bailiff Bridge - two other well known areas of the town.
Recently, we have produced a wholesale brochure of our products including Baa Baa Brew, stitch markers, handmade charms and buttons which is available now for retailers interested in stocking our lovely range.
To find out more about this fantastic new yarn and to shop the Baa Baa Brighouse range, please visit www.baabaabrighouse.co.uk