Jane Jones has been a passionate knitter for over 40 years! Unable to source the unique colour yarns she wanted locally, Jane decided to source her own quality Merino wool and dye it herself. And, the results are fabulous! If you enjoy working with wool too, pay a visit to Jane’s online store, Yarn by Jane, to check out the rainbow of colours she creates …
Hi Jane. What part of the New England/Northern Tablelands do you call home … and how long have you lived there?
I live just outside of Armidale and have lived here for all my life, almost 59 years.
When did your interest in working with wool begin?
I’m a self-taught knitter and have been knitting for over 40 years.
Why did you begin dyeing your own wool?
It has been increasingly difficult to buy yarn in Armidale, as we no longer have a yarn specific shop.
The introduction of Spotlight and Lincraft has resulted in these stores fazing out well known and loved brands of yarn and replacing it with their own mass-produced brand of yarn. This has taken away the uniqueness of making your own garments and decreased shoppers’ selection of products.
This is how I started dyeing my own yarn, because I just could not buy what I had in mind for my projects.
Where do you source the wool you currently work with?
I source my yarn in both Australia and USA. I have a fondness for 100% Merino yarn; Merino is so soft and comfortable to wear and has a lovely drape that has the garments presenting beautifully when worn.
The colours you produce in your dyed yarn range are simply phenomenal! What are the processes you use to create these colours?
My colours come wholly from my imagination and how I’m feeling at the time. Sometimes my mood dictates what comes out of my dye pots. Sometimes I will see a picture or photo or something I’ve seen somewhere; for example, a mural or something I see when driving, and I will be inspired by what I’ve seen and will head to the dye pots.
I also have people sending me their own pictures and asking me to replicate the colours as a custom dye for them – which I do.
I dye using low immersion techniques (use very little water) and sometimes I don’t use any extra water at all. I produce lots of tonal colours by mixing colours and being very specific as to the placement of the colours. I also do some speckled colourways, but tonals are my favourite dyeing techniques and my favourite results.
How do you ensure a consistent quality/colour in the yarns you produce?
All the details of my dyeing are written down, so that I have a recipe to reproduce colourways. I measure everything I use; dye is weighed to 0.01 gram, and water is measured.
The consistent quality is also a result of using my recipes, but also by buying a quality produce to begin with.
How do you market your yarns … and how far afield do you sell your products?
As my yarn is only sold through my online store, “Yarn by Jane”, my products are marketed through Instagram and Facebook.
I sell Australia wide and internationally. Australia is where most of my products are bought, but I have sold to several buyers in Canada.
How do you use your yarns personally – do you knit/crochet?
I am a knitter from way back. I keep telling myself that I will crotchet something, but always find myself knitting. I have so many knitting projects lined up, that I don’t know if I will ever get to that crocheting!
Where can we find out more about your products/contact you?
My online shop is yarnbyjane.com.au and I can be emailed at either firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com
Interview: Jo Robinson.
Photos: Jane with her grandson, Jaxon.