Our featured maker today is someone who you probably already know and love: Beata Jezek of Hedgehog Fibres! Her outrageous colorways have become iconic across Ravelry and Instagram, and are frequent favorites of knitwear designers. We’re so stoked that she’s taken time to share her story here on the FibreShare blog! Read on for the inside scoop on Hedgehog Fibres, and be sure to swing by their shop and instagram feed afterward! Their colors are super fresh and sure to inspire!
Hi! My name is Beata and I was born in Bratislava, Slovakia though I’ve been calling Ireland my home since 2005.
As soon as I got sucked into the knitting world I knew I wanted to create my own line of hand-dyed, soft, squishy yarns. I was always very visual and colour obsessive and I felt that none of the yarns on the market really catered to what I was interested in at the time. I love creating new colours, changing things up and staying current. I think Hedgehog Fibres really reflects that attitude as an extension of my personal style.
I’m first and foremost a knitter. I love to knit, it’s my favourite past time. If I’m sitting, I’m knitting. I’m self taught, relying almost solely on YouTube videos to learn the craft. My yarns are bright, cheerful and vibrant and the best part is that I get to make colours that I love and want to knit with. I much prefer working in the dye room than any other aspect of the business. I’m still the head dyer and I hope I always will be.
Hedgehog Fibres was founded in 2008 and named after my surname ‘Jezek,’ which translates to ‘hedgehog’ in Czech. At first it was just me, and then I hired my first part-timer. We used to sell on Etsy during the early days, initially working from my kitchen at home. The yarn was an instant hit! We moved into our first dedicated studio in 2010 and we have moved again in 2015 to a much bigger space. We have come a long way since the kitchen, and employ over 20 people! We sell through our own website www.hedgehogfibres.com and we also have an array of wonderful retailers around the world http://shop.hedgehogfibres.com/retailers.
Hedgehog Fibres has grown very quickly and the hardest part has been finding and training new dyers. It’s very challenging, as the dye process we employ to achieve our colourways is quite complex. Luckily we have a great team here at HHF HQ! I really enjoy coming to work every day and I hope/think all my employees feel the same. We work hard but have a great time and all of the staff really go above and beyond.
We believe customer service is crucial to the HHF experience. We feel fortunate to have such wonderful customers who have stuck with us on our journey through the years, but old or new we want everyone to be happy with their HHF yarn. Purchasing from us is a special treat and a luxury for most people, and we treat every purchase accordingly. Our customers definitely aren’t afraid of bold colours and interesting designs!
What sets Hedgehog Fibres apart is colour and the application of colour. Our yarns tend to ‘pool’ less, as the repeat is very short, often just one stitch per colour. The colours are vivid, complex and lively. Even our semi-solids consist of layers and layers of dye. I love coming up with new colours, techniques and applications. Sometimes we come up with a great name and then create a colourway to match (like Teacup) or sometimes I realise there’s something missing in the line and then get completely obsessed with a colour (I had to have lilac, so we have ‘Birthday Cake’). But some colours are definitely happy accidents! Crybaby was such a great potluck that we added it to the line. The newest colours are always my favourite. I’m really into speckles and brights with a good strong contrast like Graphite or Electric at the moment. 2016 will be a big year for pastels and mohair I think!
I’m also very picky about our bases. I want the most buttery soft sock yarn, the shiniest silk blends, the squishiest singles! As a knitter, I will only sell something I am happy to use.
On a personal note: I love my dog babies and I work sometimes with our local dog shelter as a foster home. My boyfriend and I have fostered over 20 dogs in the last couple of years, all of which have found wonderful permanent homes. We have taken a break from fostering recently as a blind kitten found us and is now part of the family – adding new dogs to the mix wouldn’t be fair to her at this point. I often share pictures of our weird pack on my Instagram.
Visit Hedgehog Fibres here: