Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Cuppa & Cake with Katie from Hilltop Cloud

Woolfest is drawing close!  I'm rather excited to be visiting this year, and one stall I'm very keen to visit is Katies!   

My poor mum is coming with me - if you spot a relatively confused looking lady having wool smooshed near her face by an over-excited 23 year old, that's my mum.  

Favourite part of the planning conversation might have been:
"I'd love to come on a little road trip with you!  
As long as you don't expect me to be all enthusiastic about all the wool.  
I don't get the wool."

Summed up when she was asked if she was sure she really wanted to go with: 
"I've sat through worse"

It's ok.  I'll buy the poor woman lunch.  Knit her a scarf.  Return the leather gloves I 'borrowed' from her 2 years ago.

I recently bought some lovely green baby camel fluff from Hilltop Cloud, it is yummy.   (It might already be spun up into a softer-than-cloud 2ply fingering-weight yarn...)

1. Hello! I heard you were recently at WonderWool, how was it?!
Wonderwool was great, it was my second year exhibiting, and I had a fantastic show. Much warmer this year, which was much appreciated. Wonderwool has always been my favourite wool festival, and now I get to have a stand there I appreciate the work of the organisers even more. 

2. When you began to dye and spin, did you ever intend to sell your goodies?
Short answer- no
Long answer, setting up my business was a relatively quick decision but I'd been gathering the skills I now use for a few years. I fully admit to being quite a new spinner in comparison to many out there, I got my first spinning wheel in 2008, but sometimes you try something and it just feels like something you were meant to do. Spinning has always been like that for me. I left my job as a teacher, moved back home with my parents, and needed to do something to earn a living. I set up HilltopCloud 2 years ago, and I've never looked back, I keep trying new things, and learning new things.

3. What's your favourite breed to spin, and why?
I could never pick just one!
I'm a firm believer that every wool has it's use. One of the reasons I love spinning is that I can match my yarn to it's purpose. Commercial yarns tend to be Merino or BFL (though more rare breeds are now being spun thank goodness), which are great, they're lovely and soft, but that softness causes high wear, and sometimes piling. For some purposes you want a tougher wool. I had a beautiful pair of colour work mittens made from a commercially spun blend of Merino and Cashmere, they were great, but I wore through the fingers in 2 winters. If I'd have knitted them out of handspun, using a tougher wool, I'd still be wearing them now. 

4. You sell lovely simple drop spindles, what sort of fibre would you recommend for our budding spinners-to-be?
True Roving is great for beginners (roving is a thin strip of jumbled fibres, most of the roving sold is actually top which is thicker and the wool has been combed) If you're not sure wether something is top or roving send the seller a message, if they can't tell you then steer clear. Batts are also great, if they're well made, as again the fibres are more jumbled up so don't slip away from you too easily when you're drafting. For your first fibre, make sure to buy from someone who is a spinner, go and do a bit of research, on Ravelry or on the persons website. Or, in a shameless piece of self promotion, as well as spindles I do sell a kit with true roving, and a mini batt.

5. Do you have new ideas for your store in the near future?
I've got a list as long as my arm, I could just do with a few more hours in the day!
One of the things I've started doing more this year is going out to guilds and spinning groups teaching workshops which is great. I trained as a teacher, and I love teaching people new skills and ideas.

You can visit Katies brilliant etsy shop here :D

Do you have a favourite type of fleece to spin?  I'm looking for recommendations!  
oooo also, will I be seeing you at WoolFest??

...someone needs to save me from running off & buying a drum carder...

Drop me a little message if you'd like to join me for some tea & cake!

1 comment:

  1. Hopefully after a massive exposure like this, Mom will begin to "get the wool" a bit more. And no matter what, I'm sure she'll enjoy seeing you all excited. Have a great time, both of you.


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