Interview | Townhouse Yarns


I’m excited to be able to introduce to you a new feature on the blog.  Every second Friday we will be hitting the spotlight on a Designer/Hand-dyer/Author/Gardener that have meant something to us here at the Cottage.  I thought it was only fitting that we should start with Jennifer Sisk from Townhouse Yarns.  Jenny has been a close friend of mine since bouncing into This is Knit with a giant smile and endless enthusiasm a few years ago. I have admired her passion for yarn and colour and I think it shines through into her dyeing.  So grab a cuppa and come meet the person behind Townhouse Yarns:

Jenny, Can you tell us how you got started in This is Knit and how that led to you starting Townhouse Yarns?

Jennifer Sisk. The face behind Townhouse Yarns

Jennifer Sisk aka Townhouse Yarns herself!

I started in This is knit over 4 years ago now, it’s funny how far things have come in such a short period of time.  Even though it’s a family business, I must admit I never thought I would find my calling in it.  I had knit a bit but it was anything garter stitch and square (although it never ended up square!) Lisa or Jacqui would have to cast on/off and fix any mistakes.  The shop was short on staff one weekend and Lisa asked if I could lend a hand and I’ve never left.

Like most, I absolutely love hand dyed yarns and I became so intrigued with the process.  In early 2014, I approached Lisa and Jacqui with the idea, they humored me and I’m so glad they did because I love my job!

Can you tell us about some of the designers that you have gotten to work with?
The fabulously talented Carol Feller (Georgian Heights) and Woolly Wormhead (Sophora) have both used Townhouse Yarns – Grafton 4ply in their designs.  They both even chose the same shade!  For the past 2 years I’ve also collaborated with Carol for the Irish Yarn Club which has been such a pleasure.  I adore her patterns and have knit quite a few over the years.  The most recent designer to feature Townhouse Yarns is Gillian Harkness who designs under the name Mina loves Designs, for a gorgeous shawl design, Flijot using Fade St, a merino and silk single.  She’s definitely an up and coming designer to watch 🙂
Left to right: Georgian Heights by Carol Feller, Sophora by WoollyWormhead and Fljort by Gillian Harkness

With Permission from Left to right: Georgian Heights by Carol Feller, Sophora by WoollyWormhead and Fljort by Gillian Harkness

If there was a designer out there that you haven’t had the fortune to work with yet but would love to, who would that be? 
There’s so many..! I love a lace beaded shawl so BooKnits would be amazing, Ysolda.. Joji, Vera Valimaki.. and Stephen West!

Your days must be hectic so how do you balance being a hand-dyer, mum and TIK staff member?
It can definitely be hectic, I’m still learning to delegate my time to make things run smoothly and some days things just don’t go to plan.  Sometimes homework and bedtime stories take priority over dyeing and housework usually goes to the bottom of the list.  I have great support from my husband and family and I couldn’t have made Townhouse Yarns what is it today without them.

What are the best bits and the worst bits of your job?
Best bits I think are the freedom to create and play with colour and such beautiful yarns.  Seeing people’s reactions to them on the shelves and hearing the feedback.  Enabling yarnies is so fun.
Worst bit if I had to choose something is the achy arms I get sometimes from dyeing/winding the yarn into skeins.
We know you love all your bases but what are your favorite yarn bases to dye with and knit with?
I adore Fade St to dye and knit, it’s just a fabulous all rounder for me. Coming in a close 2nd at the moment is the latest addition, Clarendon Sock.
Claredon Sock in Rippleberry

Claredon Sock in Rippleberry – drool go on stroke the screen, I know you want too!

Out of all the projects that you have knit, what is your favorite?
That’s a hard one to answer, Garment would have to be Riyito from Carol Feller’s Short Row Knits book and Accessory would be Voodoo by BooKnits which was a Mkal.
What do you see for Townhouse Yarns future?
I’ve nabbed a domain and am working away albeit slowly on a Townhouse Yarns website and I’ve also just launched a shop on Etsy. Irish Yarn Club 2017 is in the planning stages and I also hope to exhibit at a yarn festival in 2017!
Aside from yarn do you have any hobbies and do you garden or grow any veg?
I wish I had more time to dedicate to my garden, unfortunately our garden has a terrible slope which leads to flooding so even growing grass proves difficult.  It’s on the list, somewhere after housework! Hoping to pick up lots of tips from the cottage notebook 🙂

Thanks so much for the chat Nadia!

Thank you so much Jenny for taking the time to talk with us and for all of you dying to get your hands on Jenny’s yarns you can head on over to her Etsy Shop and she has kindly offered a 10% discount when you use the code ‘townhouse10’ and you better hurry it finishes up on October 10th. You can see what Jenny is up to over on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and of course Ravelry! Do you have a question for Jenny? Then pop a comment below and we will get right back to you!

Next Friday sees the release of Episode 2: Potatoes to Dye for, over on the Podcast.  You will need to prepare yourselves for gold digging toddlers, KAL chat and some interesting yarns!  Did you enjoy catching up with Jenny?  How are your Wips coming along?  Don’t be shy and drop us a comment below!

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