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River Colors Journal

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Hedgehog Fibres exclusive, an interview with Beata Jezek
Hi everyone! I don't know about you, but I'm a huge fan of Hedgehog Fibres' yarn. From the amazing color palette, to the fun and expressive names of the colorways, their yarn is always a treat.

Photos from Hedgehog Fibres website
The level of excitement is at an epic high with the new shipment of Hedgehog yarn(including their Kidsilk Lace)on the way. We are already dreaming up ideas of how to pair the new colors along with our Hedgehog favorites. A little Coral with Monarch? Yes, please! While looking at the list of all the glorious colors, my natural curiosity took over. How are all of these wonderful yarns made? What is it like to be a professional dyer? Rather than just wonder, I acted on my desire to know what goes into making the yarn we love so much. Beata Jezek, the owner of Hedgehog Fibres was very kind and took time out of what I imagine to be an extremely hectic schedule to answer questions I had been dying to ask. (yes, that pun is intended!)

1) How did you get started in dyeing yarn? Was it a goal from the start to launch a dyeing business or did occur organically?

I picked up knitting as a hobby in my early twenties and I was instantly hooked. As soon as I got sucked into the knitting world I knew I wanted to create my own line of hand-dyed, soft, squishy yarns. Hedgehog Fibres started as a full time gig right away, there was no messing around. I was pretty broke for a while! I worked from my home for about a year or so before moving into the first premises in 2010.

2) As someone who has never had the opportunity to dye fiber, can you tell us what a normal dye day is like for you?

Hedgehog Fibres employs around 20 talented people, so not all of my work days are dye days anymore. I remain the head dyer and the creative director, and while I dye for orders occasionally, I usually work on new colourways, I oversee Potlucks and Club colours (we do a ton of one of a kind colourways!), sample new bases, troubleshoot for the dyers and mostly fun things like that.
I get to the studio at around 9am, the staff tends to all be there and dyeing starts 9am on the dot. My first job is usually a bit of admin, like organising lead times and deliveries with mills, wholesale orders and replying to emails. Then I usually nip in out of the dyerooms, while continuing to reply to emails all day :)

3) Your color combinations are always beautiful and inspiring, can you tell us where you find inspiration?

I love coming up with new colours, techniques and applications. I'm always thinking of the next thing, trying new ways of laying the dye on yarn, new colour combos. It's always about colours. I love colours and the brand progresses as my preferences shift and evolve. 

I also paint, well it's more like just putting colours on paper, but it's a great way of getting inspired and playing with colour. I use big brushes and thick acrylic paint, I like how quickly I can visualise ideas.

4) Speaking of colors, can you take us through the process of how a colorway is born? Has there ever been a time that a colorway didn’t translate well?

Sometimes I think of a great name and then create a colourway to match (like Teacup) or sometimes I realise there's something missing in the line and then get completely obsessed with a colour - I have to cast on with it and knit with it immediately and that definitely means it has to be added it to the line! I'm into speckled watercolours and strong vivid colours right now, there are new colourways coming out soon, and I'm very excited about them. 

Some colours are definitely happy accidents! Crybaby was such a great potluck that we added it to the line.

There's never a colourway that can't be fixed by adding a pink speckle! Bright pink makes everything better.

5) The names of your colorways are almost as fun as the colors themselves! How do you come up with the names for each colorway?

We have colour naming parties at work! I like to gather everybody and brainstorm when we have new colours coming out, it's a ton of fun. We also keep a list of potential colourway names to which everybody can add their suggestions. 

6) Do you have any tips for the adventurous crafter who wants to try dyeing some yarn?

Go mad and have fun with it! As Stephen West says: 'More is more and less is a bore'.

Once again, we would like to thank Beata for her time. We hope you've enjoyed learning about the magic behind Hedgehog Fibres. Make room in your stash, you won't want to leave without some!