44 With a hopscotch knit and a jump! Katie Stephenson, company director of Cygnet Yarns, talks to Craft Focus about the company’s fabulous range of yarns and Hopscoth Blanket Knitalong pattern for those in isolation – a six-week knit along that allows you to create your very own patchwork blanket Tell us a little bit about Cygnet Yarns. When did you start the company? Cygnet Yarns started in November 2004 with myself and Karen Hargreaves at the helm. It started off as simply selling some acquired stock, as at the time we were both working for my father. The yarn really took off, so we introduced some new shades, then some new ranges and our little company grew, as did our love for yarn and the industry itself. How has the industry changed since you began? The industry has changed somewhat over the years. There’s more of a move towards online selling − be it through channels such as Amazon, eBay or an independent company’s website. It’s great when a bricks & mortar shops back up their business with an online store too. Shops are more creative these days with accompanying social aspects to their businesses such a knitting groups, crochet clubs and online tutorials. The industry continues to go in waves, you enjoy the highs and dig deep in the lows. What’s your background? Have you always had a keen interest in crafting and knitting? My background is sport and geography, I’ve always been a keen businesswoman and was brought up in a textile family. When Cygnet took off, I decided to set up a local knitting group and learn to knit. It gave me a different perspective as an end user and helped me understand the intricacies of yarns themselves. I find the whole craft industry fascinating and love to see new creative ideas in the market. Talk us through your current collections. We have more than 40 ranges in our collection from 4-ply up to Super Chunky, from 100 per cent acrylic to 100 per cent pure wool. Our position in the market lends itself to the most discerning of knitters and crocheters looking for a competitively priced yarn. Our budget line: Pato Everyday DK and Pato Baby DK are well received for those looking for a cheap and cheerful good quality budget yarn, ideal for charity knitting, yarn bombing and basic knits and crochet projects. Our deluxe Cygnet range in DK, Aran, Chunky and Baby DK are superior acrylic yarns in a huge array of colours. Our signature range: Seriously Chunky, is a true super chunky and has been a huge success for us, ideal for big crochets and knits. Seriously Chunky has developed its own family in the form of prints, metallics and with wool. We’re also especially proud of our Boho Spirit collection, a soft variegated roving yarn adored by crocheters especially.