I recently visited Lilith of Old Maiden Aunt in her studio in West Kilbride. After working with her yarns in my lace collection Handmade in the UK, I was curious to hear more about her business, chat about colour, and and fully appreciate the beauty of her yarns!
Old Maiden Aunt creates strong, complex and quirky colours, working on classic and high-quality bases from lace to aran.
This feature is the fifth in a series of posts featuring the dyers and yarn companies who have contributed to Handmade in the UK. A full list of features can be found below.
Old Maiden Aunt : moody, quirky, and complex colours
Lilith (a fellow Canadian) became fascinated with fibre, spinning, and knitting while living in Glasgow, and this inspired her to begin dyeing. Luckily her business grew after moving her whole studio to the West Coast (thankfully she found affordable movers ) she found a perfect studio space in West Kilbride’s Craft Town – a community-lead redevelopment of the high street which created affordable studio spaces for artisans. When I visited Old Maiden Aunt’s shop, I was blown away by the massive selection of yarn, and the beautiful dye studio flooded with natural light.
I find Old Maiden Aunt’s colours genuinely interesting – they have an impressive complexity and depth. The colours seem to be layered on, they interact in fascinating ways, and yet still allow the luminosity of the yarn bases to shine through.
When asked about her preferences, Lilith admits that she loves ‘really weird colour combinations’. Each year, she spends a week playing with dye and yarn, developing several new colourways. The 2013 collection is inspired by classic Canadian music (I totally dig it!).
With a strong focus on lace and 4-ply yarns, Old Maiden Aunt has recently branched out into heavier (sweater type) yarns – BFL DK and Aran. These yarns are very special. I fell in love with a skein of the Superwash BFL DK in ‘lon-dubh (blackbird)’. Many people assume BFL will be scratchy, but this yarn is as soft as merino wool, with a lot more lustre – absolutely exquisite!
You can order Old Maiden Aunt yarns directly via the web store, or at L’Oisive The in Paris and at Loop in London. Or stop in to visit her studio in West Kilbride. It is a beautiful area to visit, with great beaches – I highly recommend a trip out!
BFL 4ply in ‘buttermint’ and Merino 4ply in ‘jaded’
Old Maiden Aunt’s ‘jaded’ was the perfect colourway for Estuary. It is a deep semi-solid, and the Superwash Merino 4ply has great stitch definition – it really allows the pattern to shine. Colourways on this base are deep, saturated, and beautiful, the yarn is soft and lustrous.
For socks, Old Maiden Aunt’s Superwash BFL 4-ply is fabulous. It is a durable, tightly-spun yarn, which holds up well with use. I loved the warm, sweet colour of ‘buttermint’ – it reminds me of the inside of a crunchie bar – sweet and crispy!
What other yarns were used in Handmade in the UK?
I was very fortunate to have the support of several UK dyers and yarn producers on this project. In the process of writing the book, I have spoken with and blogged about these great businesses – click the links to learn more!
Great Designs for Old Maiden Aunt Yarns: