Feature Vendor- February

Spotted Dog- A Tail of Yarn

Liz Tanner is our February Vendor and she’s such a character. We love having her at the markets and her knitting is completely unique and all from her own spinning! You are in for a treat when you meet Liz, she is the warmest, friendliest person and always has a good chat to you when you browse and admire her knits.

Liz takes the reins and this is what she says about A Spotted Dog.

“Uniquely designed one-of-a-kind Crochet and Knitted HATS, Original ‘Manta Ray’ SHAWLS,  Blanket style SERAPES, Everyday FUNKY STUFF and CRAFTY (Spotted) DOG Craft Kits imagined, spun, crocheted and knitted from locally sourced, sustainably sourced, ethically produced and often quirky…Tails of Yarn. My Tale of Yarn….begins in an arty-crafty Yorkshire vicarage in the 60s…weaves through Art & Music Uni in the 70s… a family in the 80s…and loops from the recycling shop in the 90s, through teaching in the 00s….back to a room full of craft stuff in 2019, where, armed with a crochet hook, knitting needles and a steadily growing flock of spinning wheels,  I’m on a mission to use up all that unused wool and yarn,  one hat at a time!

I design and make quirky, one-of-a-kind crochet and knitted hats (slouchy beanies/roll-up bowlers, buckets, cloche and square-tops),  shawls and cowls (kite-shaped ‘Manta Rays’, blanket-style serapes and the occasional crochet motif shawl), and some seasonal accessories (eg: winter wrist-warmers, felted knitted summer flower brooches) using my own hand spun yarn combined with other sustainably sourced or ethically produced interesting yarn. 

I create Crochet and Knitting Kits incorporating my own hand spun yarn, Drop Spindle Spinning Kits incorporating both locally sourced fibres and sustainable commercially produced wool fibres, and wrapped Dolly Pegs and Skittles with small amounts of my own hand spun yarn suitable for craft projects such as weaving and knitting, or as gift wrap. I bring and spin on a spinning wheel and with a drop spindle, and if desired I can offer a Make and Take Spindle Spun Wristband activity. Price range – Dolly Pegs from £1.50, Kits from £10, Hats and Shawls from £20 – £125.

Yorkshire Tyke married to a lovely Wiltshire Moonraker with four fabulous grown-up children, unexpectedly unemployed in April 2019 so decided on a whim to book a craft fair… Daughter announced: ‘Don’t make anything weird, mother..’ (well, I don’t think it’s weird…). Same daughter asked ‘And what are you going to do with that spinning wheel that’s been in your bedroom for ages???’ …and that’s how I started spinning.

My Geordie miner / sock knitting grandfather asked ‘What’s tha goin’ ter dee when tha’s grown up child?’.  The 8 year old me said ‘I’m going to be a dress designer.’  Grandfather: ‘Aye, tha’ll allus have money if tha meks cloathes…’ Me: ‘No, I’m going to design the clothes!’ Grandfather: ‘Aye, tha’ll allus have money if tha meks cloathes…’

Parents ran a craft shop (and made most of the stock: there was virtually no craft we did not try!) in the 1970s to raise funds for a church hall, my first job was to work out 33% commission on all sales…..next job was to crochet lace edgings for handkerchiefs – fine crochet cotton and a tiny, tiny hook….and then it was tatting….and candle making….soft toys…

Later I helped make costumes for the church pageant, embroidered kneelers and part of the altar frontal (proper church embroidery!!)… So I have my parents and my grandfather to blame for my craft business now, but the one thing my mother cannot take any credit for is the spinning… it was the only craft she never attempted!

And as for spinning wheels – well one item of craft equipment is never enough, and besides which, they need someone to talk to when I’m not spinning on them. Incidentally – Betsey is hand-built Ashford Traditional look-alike wheel, made of oak and probably made about 40 years ago. She can spin lace weight up to bulky yarn.

Oullo is Norwegian, about 50 years old, made of pine and is a ‘byrokk’ which means ‘city spinner’ and she’s definitely a lace weight or 4 ply wheel! She was bought at an auction, covered in dirt and cobwebs having come from a house that was being demolished.

Dinah – well she’s a dinosaur….. another auction purchase, missing a flyer and needs a bit of attention – and needs a bit of research into her back history too! However, she makes a lovely backdrop for my yarnwear!

And Bou (Boudicca) – is a brand new Ashford Country Spinner 2.  She is battle-ready to take on really thick yarns and art yarns, and requires quite a lot of attention when spinning”!

Why not come along to the markets to see all her lovely makes or pop to her shop and see what delights she has 🙂 Kate and Kerri x

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