Meet Sylvie of Phileas Yarns
You may have seen some buzz about the new Wool of the Month at Ginger Twist Studio. For those of you not in the know, it is Phileas Yarns. This collection is full of beautiful rich and vibrant shades. And good news! Sylvie of Phileas Yarns is having her first trunk show ever. Come on by GTS on Saturday 9 January from 12pm – 5pm. Now for a closer look at the lady behind the yarn.
- Ginger Twist Studio: So tell us about how you got started dyeing wool, and for those who don’t have the pleasure of personally knowing you, why the name Phileas Yarns?!
Phileas Yarns: Hello Jess! I started playing with dyeing wool over a year ago, when I thought it’d be nice to knit myself a jumper out of hand dyed yarn, but was struggling to find the right colour in a base that I liked. After the first couple of experiments, I thought “why not give it a real go”. Actually, retrospectively, most of my biggest decisions in life rest on these two words: “why not”.
I really enjoyed playing with colours, and had a lot of inspiration and creativity to channel through it. So, in late 2015 I opened my shop on Etsy, Phileas Yarns. The name, as a few people might have guessed, is a reference to the character Phileas Fogg of Jules Verne’s book, Around The World In 80 Days. I am a globetrotter myself, and my colourways are inspired by my travels; so it seemed only fitting this reflected in the name of my brand. (I pushed the reference to Phileas Fogg to the point of opening my shop on the same day and time he started his journey – 2nd October at 8.45pm!)
- GTS: Share with us any of your process for dyeing, I’m sure loads of folks will find it very intriguing. Is it done accompanied by a cup of tea, or do you go into more of a ‘work mode?’
PY: Mmmmmh, I guess there are two processes. The bulk dyeing and the experimenting. I dye in my own kitchen, and at the present time I only have one big pot for the bulk dyeing. So usually, once I’ve put the yarn into its dye bath to “cook”, I put on the timer and go do other stuff. Most of the time it’d be some computer work and emailing etc…, which most definitely involves a cuppa and cake. On a big working day, I do 3 to 4 batches.
When I am experimenting, well it is bit different. I do this on mini skeins, in a smaller pot, and it requires a lot of my attention and note taking and analyzing. Hovering over the pot, I must wear a mask to protect me against these dangerous yarny fumes (or the acid dyes, really), so no tea no food. But I must have music on! I do like to throw in a little dance while the dye is working its magic!
- GTS: Where does the inspiration for your colourways come from?
PY: All my colourways are travel related. Most of them will be from places I have been, experiences that I have had, things that I have seen. There is a memory attached to each of my colourways. I always find different people will see, understand colours differently. Beyond the kind of debate such as “is lilac pink or purple”. My colourways are about how I remember things, places, people; it is actually quite personal. There are also a couple of colouways –Manhattan for example- that are inspired from places on my bucket list. But yet again, it is about what I think my memories of these places would be. Hopefully I’ll soon get to find out if they are acurate…
- GTS: Do you have a current favourite colourway?
PY:Now that is a tough one to answer! At this very moment, it is between Acrpolis, Bedouin and Wat. This as much as you are going to get; it’s like asking me to pick my favourite child!
- GTS: You have released a new base as of late, which made its debut in Ginger Twist Studio (and my personal knitting stash). Tell us about it?
PY:Wanderlust 4ply is a 100% British BFL yarn, lustred. Which means that there is this added shine to the fiber. Its big sister, Wanderlust DK, is already a favourite for a lot of people, and for me also. I am very much looking forward to knit more samples with this new Wanderlust 4ply, the knitted fabric is light yet sturdy from the BFL, and I just love how vivid the colours render on this base too. It’d be fantastic for crochet also, perhaps I should have a whirl at a crochet shawl (regular or Tunisian) actually!
- GTS: Cats or dogs?
PY: CAT!!! I am the human of a most adorable tortoiseshell cat, named Bougnette. She is always watching intently at what I am doing around the house, so is very involved in my yarn dyeing and related activities.
- GTS: Tea or coffee?
PY: Tea, most definitely tea. I have never liked coffee. I must have drank coffee for about two weeks in my life; the first two weeks of the many years I spent at university, because I thought I had to be a cool student like that. And then again, it was soluble cappuccino, into which I was adding piles of powdered milk because I didn’t like the taste of the coffee.
- GTS: Do you have a particular process for selecting which samples you work up in your yarn?
PH: Well, I ultimately want to knit everything in every colour in every base! I guess at the moment I choose patterns according to KALs (I just joined the Yellow Socks KAL from Louise Tilbrook – knitting Clare Devine’s Ananas in Wat), what I must have in my wardrobe (planning to make myself a Sundottir, from Dianna Walla, for my forthcoming trip to Iceland), and in general trying to have samples that reflect the variety of weights, bases and colours that I produce…
And that is all folks! Thanks so much for taking the time to share these lovely tidbits! I’ve been working on a massive Thorn shawl by Bristol Ivy in Phileas Yarns WANDERLUST 4PLY, and it is just looking quite gorgeous. I have to say, it kept me happy while spending many an hour in the airport over my holiday travels. So mark the 9th in your diary! See you there!