The Queen

Obsessed with knitting from an early age, I remember touring the wool shops of Edinburgh with my mum, and being over-awed by the shelves of colour and the potential they held. As I got older, I found it difficult to find the luxury yarns I enjoyed using and learned to dye silks and cashmeres after spending many an hour searching for a supplier. Having attended a dyeing course to check on technique, I opened up a shop on Etsy in 2007 to attempt selling my growing stash of hand-dyed yarns, and it quickly grew from strength to strength.

I’ve since learned to spin with the local guild and occasionally dye fibre for the shop. Above all, I love colour. I always thought I'd go to art school when I was growing up, but had an equal passion for words, and ended up working for a publishing company for 17 years which I left a couple of years ago to run Skein Queen on a full-time basis.

Dyeing gives me that creative outlet and allows me to experiment with colour – seeing how shades blend together, how different types of yarn take up the dye, how colours change during rewinding and, finally, how they knit up into a finished product such as a scarf or sweater. As an added bonus, I get to talk to customers and meet fellow yarn enthusiasts.

Colour inspiration comes from many sources – literature, movies, nature, birds, butterflies, magazines and art. On some yarn bases, I prefer deep, saturated colours. Others suit more subtle shades. And I enjoy finding the perfect combination of yarn base and colour.

I’m lucky enough to have had several yarn reviews, patterns and features in UK magazines such as The Knitter, Yarn Forward, Simply Knitting, Knitting, Inside Crochet, Berkshire Life and online publication, knitonthenet. Several of my patterns have been published in issues of The Knitter and KAL Media’s Knitting Collection 1 and 2. My Cloud Nine socks pattern was published in a Penguin book by Jenny Lord entitled Purls of Wisdom.

Most of all, I feel so lucky to be part of the knitting community.

Why the Hummingbird?

I love the brilliant, iridescent colours of hummingbird plumage which remind me of the colours which can be obtained on hand-dyed silk.

The hummingbird is traditionally associated with energy and industriousness.

Hummingbirds are very discerning creatures able to reject flower types that produce nectar which is less than 10% sugar and prefer those whose sugar content is stronger. And they are unique in their ability to fly forwards, backwards, up, down, sideways and hover in mid air. So, we have a hummingbird injecting colour into the Skein Queen sign – in a splattery, creative way – with a crown for… well, it is a royal hummingbird.