A Visit with the Shinybees Podcast & The Golden Skein

If there’s one truth to the last two years of my blogging life it’s that I’ve had the extraordinary fortune to meet and work with some incredible people. Usually for me, ‘meet’ means exchange emails with and if I’m lucky we find a way to collaborate. One such incredible person is the lovely Jo Milmine, the host of the Shinybees podcast and co-founder of The Golden Skein. Before I tell you about the awesome things she does, let me tell you the crazy way that we ‘met.’

I launched the Merry KAL in January 2013 and it just so happened that a gentleman in Australia, Tony of the Bonito Club blog, liked the idea and shared it with a lovely woman on Guernsey, Martine. Martine happens to do the iMake podcast as well as a number of other creative lifestyle goodies including her blog. Martine contacted me via my site’s feedback feature to offer to co-host the KAL on her Ravelry thread. I was relatively new to the workings of my newly relaunched blog and did not find this email for about 2weeks. When I did, I did what I do — I was completely honest in that I just found her message and asked (read: sort of begged) her to still be interested. She was and for a year we worked together loosely on the KAL and had a great time.

When the Merry KAL was coming to a close, Martine was someone who really encouraged me to start my own Ravelry group and she helped to share the Socks with Sarah KAL around her circles. Through her I met a number of wonderful knitters and along the way she introduced me to The Golden Skein. The Golden Skein is a very unique idea that is based around clubs. Each quarter, the ladies at The Golden Skein — Jo Milmine and Kate Ellis — select a photo. From this photo, three hand-dyers from around the world create a their own unique, limited edition colorway. The dyers change from quarter to quarter so you really get a survey of the global dyeing community. Granted I have a plethora of hand-dyeing options available to me in North America, but The Golden Skein offered me the opportunity to really get to experience yarns that I’ve never heard of as well as yarns that might be out of my reach when I start to consider shipping costs. The Golden Skein not only makes these yarns accessible, it does the searching for high-quality beautiful yarns for me. It’s a win-win. These are three of the four skeins I received last year…

IMG_7719They are just gorgeous — in fact, it’s a complete tragedy that they have not yet been liberated from their status as mere beautiful skeins. I have plans to change that this year, but for that plan you’ll have to continue reading.

Another really wonderful thing about The Golden Skein is that they offer a lot of different options, so it is very simple to just try it out. If you really want to dive in for the full-effect, you can sign up for The Power of 3 Club and receive all three of the skeins. If you would rather dip your toes in before you dive, there’s The Slimmers’ Club in which you can select (or be surprised if you’d prefer) one of the 3 skeins from The Power of 3 club. For each club, you can use the inspiration photos as a guide to decide which club is right for you as well as if you want to join for the full year, specific quarters, or maybe just one quarter. I should also mention that extra quantities from past clubs do become available in the shop. Members get first dibs on these extra skeins after which they become available to the general public. They are posted by their quarter.

And just in case you’re curious, these are the 2015 inspiration photos…

Spring Summer Autumn Winter The Golden Skein Power of 3 2015 12 months
Photo courtesy of The Golden Skein.

I’m quite literally not sure for which quarter I’m most excited.

So suffice to say, I was very impressed and not only did I try it out, I contacted the TGS ladies asking if they would be interested in sponsoring Socks with Sarah. At the time I was searching for UK based sponsors for my very awesome UK contingent of Socks with Sarah knitters and I knew straight away that The Golden Skein would be a fantastic addition. They very graciously agreed and thus I ‘met’ the lovely Jo Milmine.

It just so happens that Jo also hosts the very fun Shinybees Podcast. It took some wrangling of our schedules — between her two young kidlets, my two slightly older kiddos, and our family & work commitments, not to mention the ocean that exists between us with that pesky 6hour time difference, but we managed to find the time to sit and do a little interview for her podcast. You can find (and subscribe to!) the Shinybees podcast on iTunes or you can pop onto her website and catch the interview here — I appear around the 40:00min mark. The interview focuses mostly on how and why I’ve built the online community that I have through the Merry KAL and Socks with Sarah KAL, but it also includes some background on me, a bit of my personal outlook on knitting & the fiber arts industry, as well as a lot of laughs and fun bits including what kind of cake I’d be if I were cake. In short, it’s good fun. I have to give major props to Jo for making it fun and alleviating my nerves — since it was my first audio interview, I was definitely a bit nervous. I hope you’ll give it a listen!

Before I let you go today, I want to share one more goodie from the brilliant ladies at The Golden Skein. They’ve been talking quite a bit about ‘liberating’ the skeins in your stash for the last few weeks and from this they came up with the very fun ‘Free Your Skeins 2015’. Each day of 2015 on the TGS blog they’ll be sharing a one skein pattern suggestion. How fun!  You can read more about the project here and hop on to the TGS Ravelry Group to chat about it and share your ideas and your knitting. I’ll surely be utilizing this fab wealth of ideas — in fact, I’ve already cast-on their first suggestion & what happens to be the first design created exclusively for The Golden Skein, Kunye by Clare Devine — you can find the pattern on Ravelry here. I’m using my autumn skein from The Golden Skein dyed by Sylvan Tiger and some Japanese beads that I’ve had sitting here for a couple years that were part of a doomed MKAL that I abandoned when I discovered it required about about a million pounds of beads. I like beads just fine, but I do have my limits. I’m delighted to have found a really lovely use for them!

The shawl is at that stage of the game where it doesn’t look like a whole lot…

IMG_7720But I can say that this is an exceptionally fun & easy knit so far. I really love that the designer updated the pattern to accommodate a bigger and smaller skeins. Since this skein is just shy of 400yards, that gives me some options in case I run a bit short on yarn.

So here’s to new & wonderful friends, my very first interview, a wonderful yarn club, and liberating some skeins — The Golden Skein certainly has a whole lot to offer in 2015!