Hi, and thanks for stopping by! I’m Valentina, I live in Ariccia, a small and beautiful city close to Rome, and I’m the dyer and the one behind SnailYarn.
Everything started back in 2013. I had started knitting few years before, and already fall in love with hand dyed yarn from south America like Manos or Malabrigo, but didn’t know about indie dyers yet. In 2013 I visited my first yarn shop in Dublin, Ireland, there weren’t many yarn shop in Italy at that time, I had always bought my yarns online before. Here there was a small shelf with beautifully hand dyed yarn, of a brand unkown to me (it was Hedgehog fibres, at the time it was still a very small business), I loved the complexity of the colors, and I found out about the indie dyers world.
When I came back home I started researching and found that there were a lot of indipendent yarn dyers throughout the world. But could not find anyone who made it as a business in Italy, so I thought, why don’t giving this a try?
I started with food colors and some old stashed, big distribution, white wool yarn, and knitted with this simply dyed scraps a pair of tiny socks for a friend’s newborn. It was lot of fun dyeing the yarn, and seeing how those colors took life while knitting, but I immediately knew I wanted to try with real wool dyes and beautiful yarns.
I started experimenting, with natural dyes (which seemed to complex to me to work with at the time), with acid dyes, I saw videos, I read books, I started studying color theory, and after long months of preparations I opened my shop in August 2014. I wasn’t happy with my ‘no prospects’ day job, which I had left previously that same year, so since then I put all myself in this adventure, which totally changed my life. Onestly I could have never imagined how far this could have brought me after only three years, with retailers all around the world, even the ones where I used to buy other brands yarns, and an amount of work which is starting to be too much for one person.
I don’t think at this at a finishing line, but more as a starting point. I learned a lot in those years, especially about wool and how it is produced. I only use Merino wool from South America or Falkland in order to avoid the mulesing issues, Bluefaced Leicester bred in UK, and other high quality fibres, all specifically spun for hand knit. I strongly believe in nature, in protecting the environment we live in, in using only the purest and natural fibres, and it is in this direction that I want to continue with my beautiful adventure. I’m costantly trying and looking for new yarn bases, and my aim is to substitute, as much as I can, superwash yarns with untreated ones, to preserve all the beautiful and unique qualities the pure and natural wool have.
Also my color sense changed in those years. At the beginning I used to love more the bright, saturated colors, the ones I was used to, but now I’m loving more the subtle and muted shades, like the ones of my gradient sets. The colors I love are the ones inspired from nature, and the timeless colors, because I want my yarn to be used for projects that will last for a lifetime and will pass the fashion trends. As a nature lover, I dream to include some natural dyeing in my work, so hopefully there will be a new collection of naturally dyed yarn very soon!
I’m so happy to have been able to made my passion my work, and I’m glad that I can share this with knitters from all over the world! I hope you like my yarns and enjoy knitting with them!