I first heard about Polka Dot Creek in an episode of the Cozy Up Knits podcast a couple of years ago. So when I was later searching for wooden sock blockers from a Canadian source, and their Etsy shop came up, I recognized the name and immediately was swooning over all their gorgeous yarns. I’ve also been using these sock blockers, the ones they made for their annual Creekside Yarn Festival, for almost two years now and I still love them dearly.
I think one of the really neat things about Polka Dot Creek is that yes, they are a hand dyed yarn company, but they also have a storefront and stock other fun knitting supplies as well! In addition to a wide range of their own yarns, they also carry knitting needles, crochet hooks, and other notions. The enamel mug with the truck full of yarn is so cute and sweet and their mitten blockers are two items on my wish list, and they’ve really mastered the art of self striping yarn, it is truly impressive.
They recently used this amazing talent to help raise funds in support of relief in Ukraine by selling self striping sock sets in blue and yellow, with a red mini skein for Canada’s love for Ukraine. How neat is that?! More details on this below.
Right now, the absolute most exciting thing coming out of this shop right now is their 2022 advent calendars! There are three options you will read about in the interview, two are 12 day countdowns (one in a speckled and one in a tonal, both with options for an additional 50g skein) and their Merry Grinchmas advent, a 24 day countdown with yarns from indie dyers all across Canada! This is such an epic advent calendar and I cannot wait to see it!
Getting to know Shelley a little and reading her responses to these questions was really fun and I hope everyone gets as much joy from this advent calendar that I do! Check out the Polka Dot Creek shop and Instagram!
You very recently celebrated your 1 year anniversary, congratulations and happy anniversary! What did your path to opening your physical shop look like, and were you dying before you opened?
Thank you!!! I started dyeing yarn in the summer of 2016. I have always been obsessed with yarn, and when I found out that you could dye your own yarn, I was fascinated! I started dyeing in my spare time and have never looked back! I worked from home as a hairstylist, and started dyeing yarn every chance I had. I didn’t really plan on opening a store, but I quickly ran out of room at home, so I looked for a commercial space for dyeing yarn and keeping all my inventory there so I could pack orders too. There was a space not far from my house, and it was bigger than I imagined, so I decided to open the front as a yarn store!
I’d love to hear more about how you started your Love to Ukraine fundraiser. The red mini to represent Canada is a really nice touch.
I felt I needed to help. I couldn’t imagine how scared they must be. I decided we would do what we do best–dye yarn and start a fundraiser! We picked the Canadian Red Cross, and I thought Red was perfect in representing that organization, Canada, and love! It has surpassed all of my goals, and as of today, We have sold 115 sets! $10 from every set is donated!
You have two advent calendars for 2022, before we dive into the larger of the two, what can you tell me about the 12 Days of Christmas Speckled Countdown?
We have 2 options for the 12 Days of Christmas Speckled Countdown Calendars. A tonal and a speckled. I wanted to offer an inexpensive alternative to the Merry Grinchmas one, and we love dyeing and knitting with mini skeins. Included are 12 mini skeins, and your choice to add a 50g skein to go with the pattern I designed specifically for it. We picked our favorite colorways for each one. So, the yarn is not Christmas-y, but more of everyday colors that you could wear all year round.
Your Merry Grinchmas 2022 advent calendar is such an exciting collection of Canadian dyers! 24 indie dyers from across Canada, plus yourselves! How did you come up with this fun idea?
I have heard of other people designing advents somewhat similar, or with their favorite items, and I just thought it would be so amazing to have different dyers with their own amazing styles and techniques, and showcase them. We all had inspiration photos from the movies, and I cannot wait to see how everyone’s yarn turned out. I am beyond thrilled to be able to offer this! It is a huge undertaking, and I can’t wait to see it all come together!
What was the process for choosing which dyers to include in your advent, with so many wonderful options in Canada?
I’ve met many wonderful local dyers at various yarn festivals, and at our own yarn festival that we host every year, so I approached them, and asked my staff for their favorite Canadian dyers. I was so excited and honored when so many of them said yes!!
Your shop has steadily added more and more fun inventory. Everything from yarns to notions to really neat things like mitten blockers. What have been some of your new additions in 2021?
Carrying knitting needles and crochet hooks and notions, ball winders and swifts made me feel very official, like a real yarn store, but my favorite items are collaborations with project bag makers and pattern designers. Our most popular items are yarn bouquets, and we love dyeing them the most! Our biggest accomplishment was dyeing self striping yarn, it’s so much more work, but it is so fun to design the colorways!
You also have some fun, limited edition items for Spring / Easter this year, can you share some details about that?
We always love to dye yarn to match the seasons. It keeps us feeling creative and inspired. We love to experiment, and that is how yarn bouquets were born. They are all one of a kind, inspired by the seasons or holidays. We have limited edition sets of our spring/easter colorways in 50g sets, 20g sets and mini bouquets. We dye them all before hand, so the numbers are limited. We had plans to do more, but we quickly changed plans to do the Ukraine yarn and fundraiser.
What are some new patterns you have added to your queue?
What’s your most recent finished object?
I’m a sock knitter at heart, so Christmas socks for everyone in my family. AND I actually finished them all by christmas! Recently I finished mittens for my daughters for our crazy winter/spring.
I realise this may be impossible to answer, but at the moment, what is your favourite Polka Dot Creek base and colourway?
I’m not sure I have a favorite…I love antique mauve, spruce and espresso for tonals, and I think Bee’s Knees, Lagoon and Sunflower are my favorite speckled colorways. I love all colors and colorways. Pink will always have my heart, and I will always try to pair pink with anything!