We have been in love with Hedgehog Fibres since before we took over The Yarn Queen. The moment the ink was dry on our business papers, we looked at each other and said, “We need to find out if we can stock Hedgehog Fibres!” We’ve been proud to carry them ever since. We love their yarns, we love their colours, and we love their values.
Last week, Joy was lucky enough to sit down for a call with Beata Jezek, the founder of Hedgehog Fibres. In this video, she discusses how she got her start, some of her early knitting mistakes, how Fades came into being, and more. We even have a transcript below the video if you prefer to read rather than watch!
Joy: Thank you very much to Beata Jezek of Hedgehog Fibers for joining me so we can have a talk about all things beautiful, and yarny, and Hedgehog Fibers.
Joy: Thank you so much. So yeah I’m really so pleased to have you join us. Thank you so much. This is kind of like meeting an idol really. So, I’m legitimately very excited, but yeah, what I wanted to invite you here today was to, so people can learn a bit about the people behind Hedgehog, some of the stories, some of the tales, and get to know you a bit more, ’cause it’s such a popular and wonderful yarn. And we wanted to give people a chance to hear a bit more about it and get to know you. So, I do have a couple questions that I’ve made some notes of, but I thought we could start by you telling me a bit about your origin story, which is on your website, but we’d love to hear it from you. How you, how Hedgehog came to be.
Beata: How Hedgehog came to be. Well, I’m originally from Slovakia, but I’ve lived in Ireland for, years blend together at this point. It’s almost 20 years.
Joy: What is time at this point?
Beata: What is time at this point? But I started Hedgehog in 2008. There was kind of an economic downturn in 2008 and I got laid off. I used to work at an architect’s office doing, honestly, I don’t know what I was doing there, but I was working there. So I got laid off, and I got kind of bored sitting at home, and it was really difficult to find jobs, so I took up knitting by watching YouTube tutorials, which, you know what? Was really fun. Kept me going.
Joy: That’s a great way into it.
Beata: Yeah. And the first thing I knitted was a sock. It was, so I didn’t kind of realize what gauge was, or that just didn’t cross my mind. So the sock was about this big. But it was a sock. But I got better. And as I was trying to knit more and get better, I really wanted to knit with better yarn. In 2008 in Ireland, and honestly in Europe, impossible to find anything other than really scratchy wool or acrylics. So I kinda set out to find a different supplier, do something of my own, maybe, you know, just dye it for myself, some fun colors, so I can knit with it. And then I was a part, I joined a knitting group at that point some time, and my friends there were like, “Whoa, I want some too!” So it kind of, and it kind of grew from that really. Yeah.
Joy: One of the things I love is the story behind the name, ’cause we’ve had a few people say to us, “Oh, was it made from hedgehogs?” No.
Joy: It’s not.
Beata: No, no hedgehogs are harmed in the process of making our yarn. You know what, you’d be surprised. We do get this question., yeah.
Beata: Hedgehog. So my surname is Jezek, which means hedgehog in, I’m from Slovakia. It’s a Czech name, but yeah, it means hedgehog.
Joy: I loved that. I think that’s really cool. And it’s such a great way to be part of the brand, but in such a subtle way. I think is really neat.
Beata: I thought, “Oh, what am I gonna call it?” Hedgehog Fibers you know? Had I known that it’s, what it’s gonna become, I don’t know if I would’ve named it this, but I kind of, I love it now obviously, but yeah, it’s, in the beginning.
Joy: It’s iconic.
Beata: There’s nothing to lose. You’re like, I’m gonna call it Hedgehog Fibers.
Joy: It’s an iconic name for an iconic yarn line, so. And with that, so, your colors. Hedgehog is known for its vibrant colors, the speckles in particular, the wild combinations. What, has that always been your personal aesthetic? Was that what you were looking for when you started dyeing, was brighter colors?
Beata: I would say, I’m pretty sure my personal aesthetic and preferences have evolved over time and are evolving still. I definitely, I’m always looking for something different and unusual, so even when I started Hedgehog Fibers, I was looking for colours that I just couldn’t find in the shops, whether they were bright or something moodier, or, and then speckles kinda came on the scene. So that was really fun to do. And you just can’t, it looks different. It looks handmade, and I love that look. And you can tell a knitter, ’cause a knitter is always wearing a speckled shawl or a speckled sweater. And I kind of like spotting knitters in the wild, so I love bright colors, and yeah, Hedgehog Fibers is known for our bright colors, which is super fun. I love wearing bright colors. Oh, on that note. That’s a little tidbit from us. We are a dog friendly workplace, so.
Joy: Oh, fantastic! So it’s not just your little one who joins you during the day?
Joy: You’ve got a few.
Beata: Our employees, they can bring their well behaved dogs, but yeah, we usually have at least one dog running around here, so.
Joy: That is so cool.
Beata: Yeah, it’s really fun. Yeah.
Joy: So how many people are in your team now? You’ve obviously, not just you, operating out of your home any longer.
Beata: No, no. We have.
Joy: Established and significant.
Beata: Yeah. Yeah. We have a very professional in studio. We have about, I think 20 people right now. Yeah, yeah.
Joy: And how many are actively dyeing and?
Beata: Out of that, how many dyers do we have? Oh, 10, nine? It kind of, it varies, and it’s been, I know we didn’t really wanna talk about COVID, but it’s been kind of difficult the past two years. A lot of people, you know, are out for longer periods of time and it’s just kind of, it’s been a bit up and down. That’s – hence our leads times all kind of whack right now.
Joy: Absolutely. Well, we’re aware that, so your lead times are – ’cause when we, five years ago, when we first brought you in, there were very long lead times, which I think was because you were so popular and were having to…
Beata: Was growing pains. Yeah, that was growing pains. And now we have COVID pains in terms of lead time.
Joy: Yeah, ’cause there was a while there where the lead time was so incredibly short.
Joy: And then COVID turned up and messed that up. So we got around that by ordering, basically, for what was for us, a year’s worth of yarn in one hit. So we’ve been stocking Hedgehog for nearly five years.
Joy: And which is really cool. And an all honesty, when we, so we bought The Yarn Queen from previous owners. And she was just about to close it down when we bought it, so she had no stock and we just basically started fresh suppliers. And in all honesty, Hedgehog Fibers is part of the reason we’re still going after five years, because you were one of the first brands we brought in. At the time there were no other supplies in New Zealand. There had been some earlier, but that’d all shut up shop.
Joy: And we went to our first event, which we are going to in three weeks again, which is in Auckland. It’s called Wool Fest. And your, our first shipment arrived only a couple weeks, and we took it up there, and people were just falling over themselves to take it away by the armful.
Beata: Awesome. Really good.
Joy: It was amazing. I specifically remember from that event, someone who was really uming, and that was Merlot, I remember this so specifically, and she was uming and ahing about it, and we were in a windowless hall, so I said, look, give me your cell phone, take it out into the sunlight, see what you think of it. And so she did that, and she came back, and she was like, “Oh, thank you so much. It’s so different.” ‘Cause I knew that that particular color was showing really differently in the dark.
Joy: And she’s like, “I’m so sorry, it’s not gonna be for me.” And she put it down and there was a person who’d been standing there very, you know, quiet, idle, didn’t seem to be doing anything. And as soon as it touched the table, she was like, “Oh thank god! I was hoping you’d put it back!” She was doing her best not to broadcast her desperation for it.
Beata: You know what? Sometimes there could be some potlucks laying around here, or some club colors, and I’m like, who is this? Hmm, hmm, hmm. You know?
Joy: Obviously this one, is one of yours, I chose tonight, especially.
Beata: Oh, cool!
Beata: That’s really pretty. It looks great on you.
Joy: Thank you. I’m a big fan of pink and blue, so, as you can probably tell. And that’s one of the reasons that I loved Hedgehog is ’cause I love bright, vivid colors. So how do you go about developing a colorway? I mean, what’s your like inspiration to final new colorway? ‘Cause you’ve just released a brand new season of yarn, which is very, I feel like it’s going back to some real core, Hedgehog color combinations. Maelstrom is a fabulous blue and black, and Flamingo. Oh my gosh.
Joy: As a pink person, love it.
Beata: I will be forever searching for the brightest colors. Flamingo!
Joy: It is amazing.
Beata: Makes me very happy.
Joy: And there’s also Envy on your sleeves?
Beata: Sorry, say that again.
Joy: Envy, you’ve got on the end of your sleeves there at the moment?
Beata: It’s UFO. It’s UFO. It’s kinda.
Joy: UFO. It’s coming out quite green at my end.
Beata: Yeah, yeah. I love UFO. One of my faves.
Joy: That’s fantastic. So what’s your, how do you go about, is it all experimental? Do you have a very clear idea of what you’re aiming for?
Beata: Some experimental, some with clear ideas for sure. So we have somebody coming in now. I often look at the range and see if we’re missing something. Right. We might be missing a good blue, or medium blue, or, then there’s part of is experimentation, for sure. We give the dyers a lot of freedom to create. We call these potlucks. They’re kind of one off colors.
Beata: And sometimes some of them are so good that we have to make them into regular colors. And then, yeah, and so that’s kind of, and sometimes, you know, I just kind of have an idea and I would be like, I’m want something like this, and yeah.
Joy: Excellent. So I was just thinking of a couple of the potlucks which you ended up in a variation of final lines, were the ones that were in Find Your Fade, the original Find Your Fade kit.
Beata: The original Find Your Fade.
Joy: Which had, I think one ended up turning into, did we end up turning into Gossip? I can’t, gosh, there was a couple colors that came into being. There was so much demand for those kits.
Beata: Crush and Rose Hip, I think were the…
Joy: Crush, yes. I always get Crush and Rose Hip in my head.
Beata: Is Harvest in it or something? Yeah, yeah. Yes, because Andrea Maori, she, I think she got, was it, it was a club color. She got it in a club, because she’s a club member. She has been for years. And I think she got it in a club and then used it in a design and.
Joy: Which blew up.
Beata: It blew up and then people were like, but we need these colors. So, yeah. So, and they were great, so we had to add them to the line. Yeah.
Joy: That’s amazing.
Beata: That pattern’s still going. It’s been years.
Beata: That pattern’s still going. It’s been years. People love it. People still, yeah, people love it. It’s a great pattern.
Joy: Absolutely. And it was kind of, I mean, it was a big moment for Hedgehog. It was a big moment for fades as a concept. It was kind of.
Beata: I think the fade thing, as a concept, yeah, yeah.
Joy: Really seminal yarn moment.
Beata: Yeah, and it resonated with so many people. I think the name was pretty genius to Find Your Fade. And then it got people kind of, knitters kind of more creative and involved in picking their colors, and it became really fun because doesn’t everybody have this stash of single skeins at home? What am I gonna make with this? And then you can put them together. You can Find Your Fade. I think that was what genius.
Joy: It’s magic. And it’s a real invitation for people to, as you said, participate and get creative.
Beata: Yeah. And everybody’s project is unique, and you get to share it online. It’s, yeah, no, that was a great moment for sure.
Joy: Yeah. So without wanting to go into any of your trade secrets, which I’m sure you have many, but one of the things that you definitely have told people is that there is some quite variability between Hedgehog colors and Hedgehog batches. And I have been known to joke that I’m pretty sure that your recipes are something along the line of a teaspoon of this, a teaspoon of that, toss it in, and hope for the best.
Beata: They are. They are. And why? Because, so we dye, do we dye 12 bases? 15 bases, something like that.
Beata: About 15. And they all behave differently in the dye pot. So if we were to measure, we can’t add the same amount of dye to every base and expect the same color. The results are quite variable. So I compare the dyers, they’re like chefs. So there is a recipe, but there’s also a kind of a knack to it. And yes, while we aim for the golden standard that we have displayed here in the studio, and that’s our colourway that we’re trying to achieve, there is, this is a handmade product in small batches, and inevitably we will have variations. But yeah, our recipes are pretty much pinch of this pinch of that. Yeah.
Joy: For your eyes only.
Beata: It takes a while to train our dyers, and it’s a very involved.
Joy: I can imagine.
Beata: Yeah. It’s a lot of fun though. It’s kind of, yeah. You work with colors so it’s cool.
Joy: You must, some of your dyers been with you for quite some time?
Beata: Yes. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, some people have been with me for 10 years nearly. Yeah.
Joy: That’s fantastic. That’s really cool. I suppose once they’ve gone through all that effort of learning those colorways.
Beata: Oh, yeah. 150 colors that you have to, no, I mean, we have it written down, but yeah.
Joy: That actually reminds me, as well as these brand new colors, which have just come out in January, the end of last year you retired some. That must be kind of painful process. How do you decide who to say goodbye to?
Beata: It’s, so number one reason would be, they don’t sell. There’s always a handful of people that will be missing that particular colorway, but if it’s five people, I mean, we gotta move on. And then sometimes we came up with the color, and it’s actually really difficult to dye, and it’s really difficult to maintain consistency, even less so that we, I know that our skeins vary, but some colors used to be really off the wall, no matter what we did. So we had to retire those just for that reason, that it was never up to the standard. It was really, really difficult to get it to that standard where we were happy with it.
Joy: Okay, makes sense. ‘Cause I think was it Malice or Vengeance was one of the ones that was retired?
Beata: Yeah, both.
Joy: Both. That might be why. ‘Cause the names are so similar in meaning I always get them confused.
Beata: I also think at the beginning of Hedgehog Fibers, I was kind of depressed because all the colourway names are Malice, and Vengeance, and Villain, you know?
Joy: So we can track your mood through the color names and when they come out?
Beata: Yeah, no, the newer ones are happier. I dunno.
Joy: I love it. Love it. But definitely those were colors, and when we have ordered them in the past, we’ve noticed particular variability in.
Joy: So that makes sense. That’s really, that makes sense. It’s really interesting that that even for you and your experienced team, that some of them are just so difficult.
Beata: Like, the dye sometimes comes and it’s different, and it then makes the whole process more difficult. So there’s kind of aspect to it, and some colors I retire for that reason, yeah. For sure.
Joy: Absolutely. Now your glorious sweeter that you’re wearing, is this one of your designs?
Beata: Yes, it is. It’s called Turtle Poof.
Beata: And it’s free, the pattern.
Joy: I do love the pattern support that you make available. Was that, was moving into pattern designing an inevitable part of needing to support your yarn, or was it something you’d always had a desire to do anyway?
Beata: I think it’s, I have a strong desire to, I can follow patterns and I do, but I’m also, I find, I think I’m a pretty creative person, and I kind of, I like to do everything my own, so, and I figure I might as well just write it down then. And my patterns are free because, honestly, there are way better designers out there than me, and my patterns are really simple and kind of basic, because that’s kind of what I like to knit anyway, and I just like playing with the colors, but, so I don’t charge for my patterns because there are some sweater designers that are like way above construction wise that I would ever wanna write and size. So my patterns are kind of on the simpler side. And they look great with multicolored yarn, so.
Joy: Definitely. So do you have some other designers that you’re particularly fond of that you love to knit and wear?
Beata: Yeah, I do. Andrea Renee, she’s great. She’s also the sweetest person ever.
Joy: Is she the namesake for DRK?
Beata: Yes. Drea Renee Knits, yeah, yeah.
Beata: We did that colourway for her for a shawl of hers I think it was. Plumpy or something. I don’t know. Something like that, yeah.
Joy: So we were on, we ordered some, and I saw it on the label and I suddenly went, huh?
Joy: I know what that stands for.
Beata: Yeah. It could have been another potluck that we sent her and she was like, “I love this one.” I think it could’ve been. But yeah, we do a lot of yarn support for a lot of designers. They’re all fantastic. I kind of share as much as I can on my Instagram. So you can kind like, if people wanna follow me, that’s cool, ’cause I share a lot of great designs made with Hedgehog Fibers, so
Joy: You really do.
Beata: Yeah, we love pattern support. So we send a ton of yarn to a ton of people all the time. If somebody wants to design with our yarn, we’re, you know, get in touch. We can organize something I’m sure.
Joy: That is really cool. It is very cool to know. I’m one half of the Yarn Queen. So it’s me and my mom, Ruth, is the other half. It’s just the two of us. So we live a couple hours apart. She does most of our dispatch. So she’s the dragon guarding the yarn vault full of all its with the treasure. So I had sent her a message before. Do you have any particular questions you want me ask? And what she wanted to know is, what are some of the things that you, like, lessons you’ve learned? What are the, over the last few years.
Beata: The last few years, the things that I’ve learned. I’ve learned to not micromanage things, or I’m learning to. Having a baby, and I kinda had to, kind of like go of some of the aspects of the business. So yeah, that would be one of the things. You meant professional or knitting wise, ’cause I’ve also learned many things knitting wise.
Joy: I, actually both.
Beata: I think we collectively as knitters now knit sweaters. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that trend. So I’ve knitted some kind of new sweater techniques and so that was kind of fun. Like, different shaping. Yeah.
Joy: Yeah, I did sort of think that over the last sort of, I don’t know, maybe a year or so that there has been a, more and more sweaters rather than shawls coming through as the it item.
Beata: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s, I think that as well. ‘Cause like five years ago, everybody was making shawls and I think it’s a slight shift to sweaters now, which is cool. I mean.
Joy: That’s great for me. I’ve always had a preference for sweaters, and it means that these some fantastic patterns coming out, and I also have a bit of an enthusiasm for vintage knitting patterns. Is actually part of what got me into knitting in the first place.
Beata: Oh, cool!
Joy: So, but they’re, none of them are my size, and they’re all fiddly and complicated to resize. And I have appreciated the increase in modern, vintage inspired sweaters, which just make my life easier.
Beata: And we are, collectively knitters and designers, things have been moving towards size inclusivity, and it’s so great to see, and yeah, no, it’s really good to see.
Joy: Absolutely. I love that. I love that. So you wanted to, you’ve gotta show us a little bit around. Is that something you can do? Have enough people arrived, or? Arrived, or?
Beata: Will I carry you up on the computer? I suppose. So up here, this is one of our twisting rooms.
Joy: Oh, wow!
Beata: So after the wet yarn comes up, it, you know, we have some boxes of twisted yarn. And so we have a team of people up here who twist the yarn and, okay, this is the drying room.
Joy: Wow! Look at that! Oh, I love it.
Beata: So the wet yarn comes into a room like this and it dries overnight. And then it gets taken in the morning by our lovely staff and then gets twisted and labeled. And this is not really, I don’t know. There’s not much to show here.
Joy: Woo! There must be some Flamingo in that stack behind you, I assume.
Beata: This is, yeah, there’s some Flamingo here.
Joy: It makes its presence known.
Beata: Hmm? Say that again.
Joy: The Flamingo makes its presence known.
Beata: I know, right? So we’re, yeah, as I said, we’re always in search for of the brightest colors. So.
Joy: I do, I’ve seen a few of the, these tubs of yarn, and some of your ‘gram pictures.
Joy: So it’s really great to have some context.
Beata: Yeah, they are. They’re just Ikea, but they’re clear, which is really handy when you have, you know, a stack like this, and you’re looking for something. So like here, look, these are all potlucks.
Joy: Oh wow!
Beata: Potlucks of bouclé. Yeah.
Joy: That is very cool.
Beata: Honestly, I’m looking at this, going, I might have to have a look through these for myself.
Joy: So do you have any projects you’re working on at the moment? What’s your work in progress at the moment?
Beata: I am almost finished with a sweater for my baby boy. So that’s kinda a little fun sweater for him, so I’m almost finished with that. There’s some more yarn here. So we have lots of rooms like this, and yarn there’s yarn everywhere.
Joy: I recognize all these familiar colors.
Beata: Yeah. So yeah, I can see more potlucks here. So, yeah.
Joy: Some beautiful colors in there.
Beata: All kinds of fun things. Okay, the light here is really bad, isn’t it? Yeah.
Joy: Well, see, ’til three years ago none of us were thinking about our lights all the time.
Beata: Oh, this is crazy. I was just telling my husband the other day, I’m making reels for Instagram. What?
Joy: It is the way of the future.
Joy: Gorgeous colors.
Beata: This one’s a little brighter. So they’re pretty empty. So, you know, I guess everybody is on top of everything ’cause they’re pretty empty drying rooms.
Joy: That is fantastic. I’m just loving all these colors. Amazing. Thank you so much. How long have you personally been in Ireland?
Beata: I think it’s been almost 20 years. I got here when I was 18, so I’m 35 now, so yeah. Yeah.
Joy: Great, yeah.
Joy: Is it your neon saying, knit all the things?
Beata: Knit all the things.
Joy: Nice! Excellent advice. It’s the only motto we need.
Beata: Right. Knit all the things.
Joy: And this is your showroom that you’re in?
Beata: Yeah, so we have a little bit of a showroom slash storefront where people can visit. That said, we are not like in a city or anything, so we’re out in a business park, so we don’t get a ton of people coming in. But yeah, people do come in sometimes, and you can visit Hedgehog Fibers. We’re open to public.
Joy: Well as soon as we can start traveling around the world again, it’s something that I would love to do.
Beata: Yeah! Oh my gosh, that’ll be so fun. Yeah, you should totally come. Ireland’s beautiful. Sheep everywhere. It’s green. You’re from New Zealand. I’m sure it’s the same thing.
Joy: It sounds very familiar.
Joy: Every winter when we go on road trips around the, right, ’cause we go, to during our winter, big yarn events around the country. So our first one for this year is coming up in three weeks and in Auckland. It’s probably one of the biggest ones of the year. There was a couple earlier that didn’t survive our…
Joy: Outbreak, the most recent outbreak. But we’re very excited about this one. But my tendency on road trips when we go past sheep, which we do a lot, because it’s New Zealand, is we point and yell, “I’m going to wear you one day!”
Beata: Sheep! Sheep!
Joy: Yarn! That there’s a sweater. That’s a pair of socks.
Beata: Yeah. Well here, it’s more kinda meat production rather than wool, because the weather’s not really conducive to. A lot of people always ask me, “Oh, Beata, is it Irish wool?” It’s not. We just don’t have the weather here for fine wool production. It rains. It’s muddy. The sheep gets super dirty all the time. It’s really difficult to keep them clean and the fleeces up to the quality. So, and standard, so Irish wool for hand knitting is not really a thing.
Beata: There are some mills here. It’s usually imported. But, yeah.
Joy: So most of your wall is Peruvian, isn’t it?
Beata: It is some, yeah, South American. Yeah, yeah.
Joy: Is it, do you, is it spun in Ireland, or is it spun?
Beata: No, we spin, and we work with a few mills. Some are in Europe and some are in South America. Yeah. We don’t spin in Ireland. There, honestly, the wool industry here is small. They wouldn’t have the capacity.
Joy: Yeah. And so that’s a question actually. So all your bases are spun for you to your spec, like, you specify them and commission them?
Beata: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Joy: That is very cool. So when you go into choosing a new base, is that because you have a particular yearning desire for something and?
Beata: Basically, yes.
Joy: The whole thing is really just a large excuse to keep you clothed in knitted garments of your choice.
Beata: Yes. I make no secret of this. It is, all our yarn and all our colors are the ones that I wanna knit and I wanna crochet with, and I wanna wear, and I wanna use so. And I think, because I’m a huge knitter. I’m always knitting. I knit 50 garments a year. So this is a, I am the driving force, and this is the driving force for me. It’s stuff that evolves with me as my skills and my preferences evolve. And yeah, it’s basically, new bases are the ones that I wanna knit with, and I wanna work with, and I think other knitters might enjoy as well.
Joy: So I know that parents can never officially choose between their children, but do you have a particular color, or a particular base, or both that is your absolute favorite?
Beata: From the bases, probably sock yarn is my favorite. It’s so versatile. If you happen to throw in the washing machine, look, it’s not gonna die a terrible death. It’s, you know, it’s very versatile. You can hold a double for a DK. So I’d say that’s my favorite. That’s what I knit with the most. It’s soft. It’s not scratchy. And it takes colors really well. So all the colors look really good. And then my second favorite, and I don’t think many people share this opinion. We have this bouclé that, it’s this, and it looks just like kid silk, but kid silk sheds, and this doesn’t. So, yeah.
Joy: There’s some bouclé. There’s a few people out there with some flashbacks to bad bouclé experiences.
Beata: I know, but this one’s very, it’s very fine. It’s very little and it doesn’t look like bouclé. It really doesn’t look like bouclé once it’s knitted, but it doesn’t shed.
Joy: That is.
Beata: I love it.
Joy: I’m sold. We’ll try it.
Beata: We’ll send you a sample.
Joy: And what about a color? Do you have a, or even a couple of you from your top 10 that you can share?
Beata: Oh, I like UFO. I like this one. And then this is Taffy. That’s one of my favorites, a pink.
Joy: I do love Taffy.
Beata: Yeah, I like the speckles, the really fun speckles that we have from the new ones. Oh, and Puffball from the new ones. Oh, I really like that one. That one’s more neutral with like a fun colorful speckle, but it’s beautiful, so I really like that one.
Joy: It falls into the same category as Leopard as a neutral. Like, it’s.
Joy: Surprisingly versatile, even though it has a lot of personality all of its own.
Beata: It’s a Hedgehog neutral. Our neutrals are never like totally neutral. Even Tweedy. Our recycled yarn. You know, it’s a neutral, but with all the colorful speckles.
Joy: Yeah. And you do have some semi solids.
Beata: We do, yeah.
Joy: So like, Harajuku, which I’m wearing, and a few others. But even then there’s a lot of, none of them are straight solids. They’re all semis, and there’s lots of depth and variety inside that.
Beata: They’re all tonal, I would say. I would call it tonal. ‘Cause we applied the dye in kind of layers to build up the color. So there’s a, like a tonal quality to all our semi solids as well. Yeah.
Joy: Beautiful. Couple of my favorites are in your semi solid range. I absolutely love Wish and Plump. They just, they glow, I don’t know how you make them do that, but they just have an inner light.
Beata: Yes! Thank you. Just make sure you wash them in cold water. Because these, so they’re very deep, strong colors and, like the whole textile industry, reds can be a problem with whites when they’re washed together. So just cold water will minimize any bleeding. Wish is very saturated as well. But, yeah. Yes, that’s just a little caution right there.
Joy: No, it’s fantastic. Thanks. So, there’s, you can’t be on the internet for a more than a few seconds without people having opinions in the comments. But I have seen some very heated discussions in various places about different ways to treat or work with hand dyed yarns. Make sure you rinse it and vinegar. Make sure you rinse it in this. Make sure you use cold. Make sure you use luke warm. From someone who has probably dealt with more hand dyed yarn than most, what is your recommendation? And what’s the truth or not behind the vinegar will fix all your problems?
Beata: So I knit with Hedgehog Fibers pretty much exclusively, and I’ve, I genuinely generally do not have issues. And so what I do, I soak my finished product. Ideally, if you’re doing colour work, you wanna swatch and do this first. So you soak it in cold water. I use cold water and a wool wash, or just like a dish detergent is fine too. Just a little bit. Let it soak. Don’t agitate it too much. And I put it in a washing machine on a spin cycle to spin the water out before I lay it out flat to blot. And I’ve never had issues. And I combine colors all the time. It’s fine. We don’t recommend vinegar soaks. We don’t recommend any pre-wash of stains. It won’t do much. If you wash your strongly colored skein in hot water, it will leak some dye into the water. No matter what you do, it will. Some detergents can encourage dye leaking as well. So what I recommend just like mild wool wash or washing liquid, and cold water, and generally, you shouldn’t have any problems. The vinegar soaks. So when we dye, we use citric acid and we heat it up to very high temperatures. So cold soak in vinegar, it’s just not gonna do much. My recommendation is to swatch. I know, super boring. If you’re combining colors, you’re doing stripes or color work with hand dyed yarn, swatch. If it’s a strong red with a light color, they’ll just never be friends. You wouldn’t wash a red sock in with a load of whites ’cause it will bleed. It’s just textile industry and we don’t use any magical dyes that will never bleed, you know? So, just caution when you’re combining colors. If it’s a one color garment it’s generally not an issue.
Joy: Yeah, makes absolute, total sense. And lucky I have a little bit of experience in that personally because about three weeks ago, my hair was a much brighter purple, but because I’m not prepared to have ice cold showers. It fades.
Joy: That’s what it does.
Beata: It does. It will fade, yeah. I don’t think, I think people generally have more issues with when they combine like a lighter color with Plump, which is a really deep, red pink.
Joy: Oh, I love it.
Beata: It’s beautiful, but if you combine it with a white, it will stain the white. Yeah, no matter what you do, you know? So, swatching.
Joy: Swatching is the answer to all the problems really.
Beata: Yeah. No, it’s so important. But you know what? It can be this little just to test the colors, how they wash together. Just to make sure that they’ll blend together okay.
Joy: That is a very good point. So what is, so are you still actively dyeing, or is it just your dyers? Or are you mainly doing new color development, and?
Beata: Yeah, I kind of do the more creative side of things, as opposed to the day to day ’cause I had a baby. So I’m kind of, I’m technically still still on maternity leave. So.
Joy: Oh, you’re doing an excellent job of that I see.
Beata: Well, I’m kind of, I’m back kind of part-time and I do kind of some of the more creative things, but the day to day, I’m not here at the moment. But otherwise, yeah, I do. I do some dyeing. I do a lot of the clubs and I do some potlucks, and yeah. And new colors and things like that.
Joy: So of all the things you get to do in your day, which I’m sure are lots of wonderful things, do you have a particular soft spot for any particular task, particular process, color development, redyeing an old favorite?
Beata: Oh, it’s just the day to day dyeing is the best. If I could only do that, I would be happy out. That’s my happy place, just with the pots and dyeing, and I love. It’s so, like you get such a job satisfaction out of it. ‘Cause you can see your finished product at the end of the day, you have this pile of beautiful yarn. So that’s definitely my favorite thing to do. If I could do it all day, I would.
Joy: Fantastic. Well I have this, you mentioned it would be your ideal day, and I had a thought. In this ideal day, would you be listen to music, or would it be quiet?
Beata: Oh, a hundred percent. We have music on here all the time, and we don’t censor the music in the studio. So, there’s a variety of music choices here sometimes, but it’s all fun. It’s all good.
Joy: So people are gonna recreate the Hedgehog experience at home, what’s a song that you’re particularly enjoying at the moment dyeing so that people can play and have the Hedgehog experience?
Beata: Oh, I don’t know. There’s like a lot of kind of weird rap going on here. Yeah. Quite explicit lyrics, and yeah. It’s all fun. We have Spotify here and we just put on, people put on their playlists, and yeah.
Joy: Is there particular song that you always particularly like?
Beata: When you have 20 people, just like playing their playlist, it’s like, there’s some tensions here sometimes, but we try not to judge.
Joy: Story of all the workplaces.
Beata: Yeah, for sure.
Joy: So if there was a, is there anything that you are listening to at the moment that you’re particularly fond of?
Beata: Oh, particularly fond of. I don’t know. Honestly, I have such a baby brain it’s like.
Joy: So we should just be, anything that’s not “Wheels On the Bus” is working for you?
Beata: Yeah. I’ve been playing classical music to my child. I don’t know if it’s gonna do anything, but hey, here we are.
Joy: Oh, excellent. Well, it’s been an absolute delight. I feel like I could listen to you tell stories about yarn, and in fact final question, do you have any particular this one time tales of humor or funny moments that you think people would love to hear?
Beata: Besides some dog related injuries in the workplace, I don’t know.
Joy: Oh gosh.
Beata: Yeah. Well, one guy once got bitten. Who was it? By his own dog I think at work. I don’t know. And once, so, oh, Hedgehog Fibers is, if you find a dog on the street, you go to Hedgehog Fibers. ‘Cause there’s somebody, a lot of people here foster dogs. I used to foster dogs. We work with the local rescue. We donate to the local rescue a lot. So if you find the dog, you go to Hedgehog Fibers. So once somebody brought in a Chihuahua that was this big.
Beata: It was so cute. And then once me and one of my, one of the girls here, she fosters and I was like, Nina, I saw this Greyhound running around at the roundabout. So we went chasing after it. She cornered it, and like it bit her hard. We had to take her to the emergency room.
Joy: Oh, wow.
Beata: We’re dedicated animal welfare, so it was all okay. We got it treated. It wasn’t that bad. She didn’t need stitches, but this is how dedicated we are.
Joy: That is, that’s cool. So you’re obviously, and you started off by saying a dog friendly place. More than dog friendly, dog enthusiast.
Beata: We are, yeah. We are all animal enthusiasts. I think if you could bring other animals, people would, but we haven’t tried it. I once brought my cat. That didn’t go well.
Joy: They’re in different mindset, the cats of the world. Mines are still here looking at me. Here you go. With her tongue sticking out. Well, look, as I said, I can imagine that I could spend all day hearing tales and seeing around the place, and getting to know you, it’s been so much fun, but I also know it’s beginning of the day for you.
Beata: Yes, people walking by and just taking the long way around not to go this way.
Joy: Everyone’s camera shy.
Beata: Yeah, for sure.
Joy: So get them to do your reels for you. That’ll sort that out. So, thank you so, so very, very much.
Beata: It’s been a pleasure.
Joy: It has been an absolute delight. And as I said, meeting an icon, meeting a industry and fashion hero is just fantastic. It’s been a really, really good time. So, yeah. And if it’s alright with you, I might see if we have people, if they have any questions come up after we have got this online, people pop any questions, I’ll sort of give it a wee while, collect two or three of the top ones, and see if you’re happy for us to answer via email, and pop them up?
Beata: Yeah, no worries. That sounds good. Be happy to.
Joy: Amazing. Have a wonderful, wonderful day. That’s the last day of the week. So have a wonderful day. Thanks to you and to your team.
Beata: Thank you. Thanks for having me. This has been great.
Joy: It’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much. Enjoy the rest of your day.
Beata: All right, thank you. Bye!
Joy: Thanks, bye.
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