The Knitographer Interviews… Spinning A Yarn

One of my favourite discoveries at Woolfest Auckland was Spinning a Yarn. Olive Riley is the lovely lady at the dye pots, dyeing merino and silk blends in new colours each season.
 I've fallen for the fingering weight. I think I've finally found the yarn for my first cardigan!

How did Spinning a Yarn begin?

My sister Jessicah (who is basically a fantasy of a woman, so lovely and creative!) started Spinning a Yarn to fund her growing fibre obsession and provide a creative outlet alongside her day job. Last year Jess decided to focus on family as Spinning a Yarn was growing too big to be a sideline and it was perfect timing for me to pick up where she left it.

Have you always been interested in fibre craft? What was the first fibre-crafty object you made?

My gorgeous mum has been teaching us fibre craft since before I can remember. One that sticks in my mind is some felted "slippers" that were made on a fibre weekend with family friends. They were huge and like mishapen maroon elf boots but naturally I wore them anyway. 

Your bases are all silk/merino blends. What is it about these fibres you like so much?

The soft handle and delicate drape makes my custom yarns lovely to fondle, knit with and wear. Its a very warm blend but breathable and light at the same time. I like a bit of silky sparkle too! 

You do seasonal colours which is very cool. What's your process for designing a colour collection each season? Are you already planning ahead for the next one?

Yeah, I have a fashion design degree so I think that training led to the collection based release of colours that changes seasonally. For the current collection, the inspiration came from being home on the farm and memories of childhood and family so the colours started from there and then I filled the colour gaps to have a range of shades. I am always seeing colours and thinking "I wanna knit that!" so I have a few ideas for the Spring/Summer collection which will be released at Knit August Nights in Napier in August.

Your products are quite different from other indie dyers - do you consider this a strength? 

I suppose it is a strength, its always exciting for people to find new products and part of the fun is working with the supplier to design new yarn bases! I love people's reaction to the softness of the yarn and seeing which colours grab their attention.

What kind of projects are your yarns most suited for?

Spinning a Yarn yarns are lovely in scarves and shawls, beautiful for baby wear and I have a few jumpers and dresses knitted up too, very snuggly and versatile! 

Where do you see Spinning A Yarn in one year?

I want to see Spinning a Yarn grow. I want to expand yarn bases and make some more patterns to go alongside the yarn/seasonal collection releases. It would be great to have my yarn in some retail stores as well!

Check out Spinning A Yarn on Facebook and on the website to order some of this yummy yarn.


  1. Sounds delicious, i don't think I've had the chance to fondle this yarn yet, hopefully she is going to KAN?

    1. i will have to bring mine along to knit night sarah :D


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