So it was Lollipop Guild Yarns' 3rd birthday in January, so this is a kind of celebration of that! I was sorting through my work photos on the laptop yesterday and I thought it would be fun to look back on the last 3 years.
OK, so this blog post is a little self indulgent, but I am quite pleased with my progress.
The above photo is Ike. When I first started selling, I was naming my yarns with human names, which didn't last more than a few months! At this point, I was still finding my style and favourite techniques. I think Ike was one from my first market night, so he must have been hand painted. I don't hand paint very often anymore, I much prefer to kettle dye. This was the first skein when I discovered the thrill of dyeing high contrast colours.
My photography was a little basic, I think I was using my phone camera at this point. A friend of mine says that I create the best "yarn poops" in my photographs, I hadn't realised that I was doing it from the start. I do love a yarn poop!
This is Henri. I still don't really like Henri now. I remember being quite disappointed with him at the time. I'm still not a big fan of blue and yellow together, it possibly comes from the fact that my other half is an AFC Wimbledon supporter. Looking at these early photos, I remember how limited my dye selection was, and I resorted to mixing my dyes. I don't so that enough now. I tend to rely heavily on out of the pot colours, and blending the colours during the dye process.
The above photo is She-Ra! She became my very first hit colourway. I first dyed her on my birthday. I posted on my Facebook page to ask for 80's style ideas for colourways (because I was born in the early 80s). Someone suggested She-Ra! I think this colourway may have been the key to a successful first year. I had to open pre-orders and eventually retired She-Ra because I was sick of dyeing it!
You can see that I had reskeined this colourway. That's something I tried to do as often as possible, especially if I dyed more than one skein of something. But I stopped reskeining after a few months, because I realised that customers couldn't see the colour sequence or length of colour. I now only reskein if I'm winding off minis from a 100g skein.
I do still occasionally dye She-Ra, when the mood takes me! But I no longer use this exact yellow or red, so she is a little different.
This was my first proper yarn club! I love nail polish, and I had just discovered Freckles Polish on Etsy. So I asked her to create nail polishes to go with my yarn, and the Polish Off club was born. I think this may have been the second edition. The yarn was a Pima Cotton, which I don't really enjoy dyeing that much, I don't think I am very good at it. But this is actually not bad! And my good friend Hayley at Hooklicious provided hooks and markers. This was possibly the first time we had worked together, and a long and hilarious friendship has grown since then!
In the November of 2015, I did my first and only yarn show. Winter Woollies in Loughborough. I don't enjoy doing shows, they make me anxious and I'm a slightly awkward person. So I haven't done any since, nor do I plan to. Anyway, for the show, I created mini skein lollies. The photo shown was She-Ra mini. They were a hit, but unfortunately the postage price means that they aren't really great for distance selling. Which is a shame.
In December of 2015, I asked a group of friend to list their favourite colours so that I could dye a skein of yarn which represented them. And here it is! This was Geeks Frankenyarn. It contains 13 different colours. Whilst I do have the placement and colours written down, I don't think I could now replicate it as it originally was. The placement of colour was very specific. I might try though!
Frankenyarn became a popular colourway, and I stopped dyeing it for the same reason I stopped dyeing She-Ra. You can have too much of a good thing!
Some of the photos from 2016 are a bit "bleurgh" for me. My mum had just died in December, and it looks like I kind of lost my way a bit. I was just starting to find myself towards the end of the year, and then it looks like I just started winging it for a few months! But 2016 was a pretty good year for my sales, so I guess I was doing something right.
It looks like Odin came out of early 2016. I do love this colourway, and I plan to dye more. It was originally dyed for a customer, Tracey. And I loved it so much that I kept dyeing it!
Photography-wise, I had started using buttons as props. The resin buttons came from Lynn at Cross Crafts. I don't really use props anymore, but I like to change my photo style quite often, to stay different. So I may go back to using them.
And apparently, I started dyeing fibre in 2016 too. It didn't sell so well. So now I only dye it for personal use, or with a thrumming kit.
This photo was taken when I was going through my "fleece backdrop" photo phase. I stopped using it because it was a little too yellow.
My One Skein Wonder club started in 2016. It was a simple yarn only club, where you told me what you liked or disliked and I just went with that. Everyone got something different. And it was fun for me because I enjoy just doing my own thing. I stopped doing OSW in mid 2017, after sign ups got too low to justify doing it.
The rolling yarn club for 2016 was "Childhood Favourites". The above photo was from my Wizard Of Oz edition, and these are still some of my favourite ever minis! I would love to recreate these in a big 500g pack.
I also created my first ever Year In Review club in December 2016. And it has become my annual alternative to a Christmas box. We lost many celebs in 2016, and that featured heavily in the theme. But my 2017 one was thankfully lighter on the dead celeb front!
I feel better about last year, than I do about 2016. I took things a little easy, started doing quarterly clubs instead of monthly, and tried to concentrate on dyeing regular stock updates for Etsy. Obviously, last year is still fresh in your minds, so I won't go on about it too much!
The above yarn is Crystal Geode. I think this is pretty representative of my style and what I have become as a dyer.
The yarn club theme for last year was Epic Nature. This was the first edition of that, and Northern Lights was the theme. I so enjoyed doing Epic Nature, and it was such a popular club, so I incorporated it into my 2018 Lolli Club, as the quarterly Sciences theme.
In March, I created a Mothers Day yarn which became my single best selling yarn to date. Mums Are Like Dads But Smarter. I have since stopped dyeing this, because I was seeing it everywhere. But I now dye variations of this yarn, with Motherboard.
I think this is a good place to stop. I have waffled on for too long! Wow, this really was self indulgent! But it was enlightening to look through old photos and see where I "lost it" and where I had sudden brilliant ideas.
Here's to another 3 years.......? (Fingers crossed!)