3 Questions to indie-dyer Saskia from Ovis Et Cetera

In my column “3 Questions” I would like to introduce you to inspiring people and their work. Today I would like you to meet Saskia, the indie-dyer behind OVIS ET CETERA. Saskia is originally from the Netherlands, lives in Northern Germany and is married to an American. Her horses are from Shetland and Iceland and her dog is from Mexico. The form quite an international family, don’t they?

Part of the family.

Saskia and I met via Instagram last year when she testknitted my SockNo1 pattern with her wonderful hand-dyed yarn. We started a little collaboration together: I designed a pair of socks for her sustainable yarnbase Kempisch Heideschaap which is sourced from fleece of the sheep that are grazing the heather fields in the Netherland. Very often this fleece is discarded which is a pity. It is spun to a very wooly yarn that is great for colourwork. I like that a lot. So the idea behind the collaboration was to design a pair of colourwork socks in order to show of the best the yarn base and Saskia’s incredible feeling for colours. In the process Saskia send me a lot of miniskeins to swatch, deciding on the final colour was not easy. You can see my swatches on Instagram.  The result of the collaboration was a kit of three 50g skeins of yarn and my AztekSockz pattern which is available ins Saskias Etsy shop.

Saskia Maas

Saskia Maas

Here are my questions to Saskia:

1. Tell me about your different yarn bases: What is special about them?

All the yarns I sell are non superwash, which I find very important. Wool is such a beautiful material, it is just perfect the way it is. No need to change it with chemical treatments. I am proud that I have 4 different non superwash sockyarn bases. Two of them Dutch grown and breed specific, I think that’s pretty cool. The sockyarns are Kempisch heideschaap sock, Texelaar sock Herba and Igneae. The Dutch yarns get spun in Germany and England. Herba and Igneae are both grown and spun in South America. Herba and Igneae I chose because they are 100% made out of natural fibers. Ramie is a plant fiber and is very strong and durable. Then I also have Quaduple Dutch, a very interesting blend of Shetland Merino Alpaca & Blue du Maine, all Dutch grown. A soft and lofty laceweight. And relatively new is Kempisch Heideschaap DK, a characterful 100% Kempisch Heideschaap wool DK yarn. 

Detail of Koru Cardigan (Design by Francoise Danoy) knitted by Saskia in Igneae.

2.  Colours are your thing, aren’t they? You have a great palette of colours, so well balanced – What inspires you?
Ovis Et Cetera Texelaar

Ovis Et Cetera Texelaar Sock

Thank you! Everything inspires me. A coat somebody is wearing on the street … I make a picture in my mind and will try to recreate the colour. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration. And fashion.

3. Saskia, even if you use sustainable yarns as bases you do not use natural colours to dye your yarn. Isn’t that a contradiction?

I don’t think so. I very consciously decided for this dyeing method. Acid dyes use far less water and heath than natural dyeing. The dye I use is heavy metal free. By always exhausting my dye baths and reusing as much water as possible I think this way of dying has the least impact on the environment. 

Thank you for the interview, Saskia!

Here is the link to OVIS ET CETERA Shop. Take a look at the wonderful dyeings and yarn bases. As mentioned before, the yarns are non-superwash, so they need some extra kindness: washing by hand. But doesn’t you hand-knit garment deserve some extra love?

If you are curious about the AztekSockz – the pattern can be found in my Ravelry store.

AztekSockz knitted in Kempisch Heideschaap Sock

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