I am sorry this blog has been so quiet. However it isn’t because nothing has been happening at Tigh Na Ripples Crafts! Those of you who follow me on Twitter and Instagram will know that the dye shed has a new home. After Edinburgh Yarn Festival, Stevan and I sat down and after some discussion, came to the conclusion that after 9 years of working in the old dye shed the time had come to give me more space. When we first got the “old” shed the space I had felt luxurious. I did a blog entry about it’s erection here.
Looking at that photograph now, there are so many indicators showing how far Ripples Crafts has come and how it has developed. SO many! The burners I’m using in the above picture – they are camping gas burners which ran on small tins of butane. If you look closely you can just see a row of 3 sitting on the shelf to my left. Now I have industrial gas burners linked to 47kg propane bottles. Then also to my left, you can see the tiny pots of dye powder, all stored in a small tupperware box. These days I need 2 shelves to store the dye powders in use, with duplicates stored safely away:
Another little gem I found when moving from the old to new shed was the tiny 50g container of citric acid that I used to buy from brewing shops or chemists. These days I buy citric acid in slightly larger containers, getting 20kg at a time.
It makes me feel both proud and humbled to see how the business has grown over the last 9 years.
And so to the new shed. Initially we were going to go for something a bit smaller but when we saw this particular model I knew it would be wonderful to have both the extra space, but also all the light which the model featured. 2 opening windows and double doors with glass panels – perfect for duller days when you need as much natural light as you can get. When we finally took a big gulp and ordered the shed, the suppliers told us it would take about 6 to 8 weeks for delivery, and I wasn’t sure how I could be patient for that long. So you can imagine our delight when we received a phone call just under 2 weeks later saying it would be delivered the following week. Fettes, through whom we bought the shed, could not have been more helpful – and patient! I was amazed at the size of the package which arrived – it looked too small to hold the size of shed we had ordered:
But once we started moving the pieces closer to where we were to build it, I was grateful there was no more to carry. Frustratingly we had a couple of days of sleet, snow and rain after it was delivered, and the shed remained under wraps until the weather cleared. But once it cleared we were blessed with days of dry, calm weather, and despite Stevan’s predictions that it would take a couple of weeks to get the basic shed up (seeing as we were doing it on our own), he had it up and finished in just 2 days.
After the floor was laid it took another couple of days to get it painted and voilà!, a new dye shed.
Stevan has worked so hard getting the inside done too, and is still working on plumbing and electrics, but suffice it to say I am absolutely thrilled with the space I now have for dyeing.
No more will I be cramped in one corner of the shed, being engulfed by dyed and undyed stock, threatening to tumble over me or down on top of me from the rafters where I kept my undyed stock. No more will there be yarn piling up in the house waiting to be labeled. AND with the extra floor space I now have somewhere to block samples.
When debating how/when/what/size/paint colour, we thought about how a few folk had suggested we undertake a crowdfunding exercise to raise the cash to cover the cost of the shed. But it really isn’t our style. We’ve always been a “if you can’t afford to do it then don’t do it” kind of couple. So while we may have made a few compromises in terms of fixtures inside the new shed to keep within our estimated budget, we only undertook the venture once we knew we could absorb the cost.
A few folk suggested I dye a new shed colourway, so I did just that today, and if you feel so inclined, then your ordering the new colour will definitely help in offsetting the expenses over the past few weeks. “Let’s Celebrate the New Dye Shed” is available for pre-ordering now and is a mix of bluey grey and a purple which is on the pink side rather than the blue side.
At the moment it is only in Reliable Sock 4ply and Doubly Reliable Sock yarn, but if you fancy it on the Quinag or Burras base get in touch. There are two versions – one where the two colours are in blocks, and the other has been dyed in the style of Assynt Storms so the colour mix is a bit more random, but still the two basic colours of grey and purple.
“And what of the old shed?” I hear you cry. Well fear not – that has been rechristened “The Yarn Store”, and that is where dyed stock will be kept in a more orderly fashion, as well as much of the undyed stock. So when folk call in to see where the yarn they enjoy using is dyed, things will be a little more organised (she says!!).
For those of you who have been using and buying Ripples Crafts yarn for the past few years – thank you for coming along on what has been a pretty wonderful adventure. Without you things would look very different. For a start there’d be no new dye shed. So thank you!