We met in 2009 at our local knit night, and immediately hit it off. Over the next few years we shared knitting tips, yarn, pattern recommendations and trips to shows. By 2016 we had become best friends, texting each other regularly every day and sharing all our happy times and woes with each other. Then in April 2016, I (Jennie) was offered a last-minute spot in Wonderwool Wales, and Zoë was chief cheerleader in the frantic three week run up to the festival! We worked the show together, and since then we have been a regular double-act on the show circuit!
Once our first show was under our belts, confidence grew and we exhibited at many more, including the first Yarningham show (and every year since) plus others from Exeter to Yorkshire. In the mean time, Zoë was building up her podcast and becoming well known in her own right as Pins and Needles Podcast host.
I was lucky enough to go to a couple of knitting retreats in 2016 and 2017, and turned Zoë green with envy at having spent a weekend with a whole bunch of lovely yarn-enthusiasts! She had begun muttering about starting a yarn festival in Cardiff, but I managed to rein her in a little and instead suggested that we start our own knitting retreat with a pop-up marketplace included. And thus the Knit-Tea Retreats were born!
And then in April 2018 I went on holiday with my family for a week. I had no mobile phone signal for a few days and in that time, Zoë hatched an entire business idea. Tadaaah, Cartref Yarn! About four days into my holiday I finally found an internet connection (I get anxious when I’m out of reach in case anything happens to family while I’m away) and I had twelve messages waiting from Zoë! My catastrophising brain was convinced that someone was dead, or mine or her house had burned down, so it was with real trepidation that I started reading! I read the stream of consciousness and then straight away video called her to shout at her for nearly scaring me to death. And then the planning started. By the time I got home, we had the name, the colours and the mill that we would use all planned. And it all just flowed from there. Zoë had the ideas about the wool blend she wanted, I had the dyeing experience and so we launched the yarn at Wonderwool Wales in April 2019. We’re really looking forward to growing the brand in the future with more yarn weights, different blends, new colourways and plenty more patterns.