Yarn knowledge provides chemistry teacher's company catalyst

One-time science teacher George Stoker has dipped his toe into the business world, by creating a hand-dyed yarn firm

George Stoker, founder of Yarn Garden

Former chemistry teacher George Stoker swapped the classroom for company success after by establishing a business hand-dying luxury yarns.

Stoker founded Yarn Garden with his partner Louise Dodds last August after deciding 30 years of teaching experience should be a catalyst for a change of career.

His passion stemmed from his interest in understanding the chemistry of fibres and dyes during his career, finally becoming “hooked” by the scientific and artistic nature of dyeing.

The pair moved into a workshop and retail unit in Newcastle’s Beacon enterprise centre a few weeks ago, and have already clinched a deal with Cumbria-based Chrissie Day, a respected knitting and felting teacher, designs knitted garments under her Teesdale Fibres label, has enlisted Yarn Garden to hand dye 70kg of pedigree Blue Faced Leicester prime yarn and Teeswater yarn – enough to make about 1,500 woolly hats – over the coming months.

Stoker said: “We saw Chrissie looking at the stalls at the wool show and she spent some time at ours before introducing herself properly. She asked us to dye a sample and now we have this exclusive deal. We are also collaborating with other designers, and we are very happy with how well the business is going.”

Day added: “I had been looking to find an artisan buyer who was running their own business, who had a passion for what they did and who went one step further by also knowing the science. I’m really pleased that I’ve found George and Louise.”

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