Life in the Long Grass - Meet the Indie Dyer
Today we travel to Ireland with its lively villages, towering cliffs, and way of life inspired by nature. More specifically, this trip takes us all the way to the south of Ireland, where Caroline Niland has her studio. She is the owner of Life in the Long Grass, a high-quality hand-dyed yarn brand inspired by the rural landscape around their studio. Life in the Long Grass creates sophisticated, thoughtful colorways, wearable and nuanced. Grab your cup of tea, feel the calm and quaint atmosphere and let’s imagine we are right there, talking with this inspiring indie dyer together.
1-Tell us a little bit about how it all started. When did you decide to start dyeing your yarn, and why?
I started LITLG - Life in the Long Grass 7 years ago when me and my partner Jonny along our 3yr old daughter Nellie were looking for our first home and we found an old derelict farmhouse in the south of Ireland. I'm originally from the West of Ireland and had worked in graphic design in London and Spain before returning and looking for our base. I wanted to start a business where we lived and had taken back up knitting and painting since Nellie was born, so we worked on the house for 2 yrs doing it all ourselves, and then moved in. Timing wasn't great as the recession started so we both lost our jobs, and that's when we decided to combine all our previous skills and started dyeing yarn and growing the business. It grew quickly, and we expanded with it to build the new studio in the adjacent field. Now, we have a team of 7 working full-time with us in rural Ireland, creating jobs and lots of yarn
2- What inspires your colors?
Nature, texture, old twigs with lichen, tiny color transitions on a leaf or flower. Beautiful subtle skies and stormy seas, stuff I see around me in the fields, the trees - it continues to amaze me every day. I never get tired of the colors in nature; they are so beautiful and subtle.
3 - Is there a color that you would love to dye but is challenging to create?
Reds are a funny one in the dye world as they don't set easily, and I really like our yarn to be set when we send it out. It can be overpowering and overbearing, taking over the balance in a colorway, so I find I need to dye it with pow pinks and oranges to keep it under control. It's funny that you asked me this question as I'm working with a set of skeins currently with a predominately red section, and I'm playing with different colors to see what pairs with it and makes it dance but has the depth and naturalness that I like to add to our colorways so watch this space to see how I get on.
4-Do you have a favorite color or colors, and have they changed since you became a dyer?
I don't have favorites I truly love them all, especially the recipes that we have settled on for our catalog. I appreciate everything that color can do, I'm forever in awe and being inspired to head up to the studio especially on the weekend when the team is off to enjoy playing with colors and seeing the magic happen when they work.
5- Do you knit, crochet, or have another craft that you are passionate about?
I knit, love to knit, and I have crocheted, which I enjoyed also. I used to paint before setting up the company and plan on getting back to it in the coming years when I can free up my time.
6- Finally, If you could go back and give yourself (or another new, aspiring designer) some advice, what would it be?
Keep learning, looking, working, be patient and go with the flow of life. Acceptane is important, gratefulness, and kindness. No amount of success is worth it if you destroy yourself in the process.
Now, you can check their beautiful yarn collection available at Max and Herb here.