Desert Daydream – our 2023 Festive Treat Box revealed!

Suzie Blackman
Tuesday, 26 December 2023

It was a last-minute decision to offer treat box for the holidays this time. We have had a run of bad luck in the last few years with the postal strikes, supply problems and rapidly increasing costs. With so much unpredictability, I now feel uncomfortable offering pre-orders. At the same time, it is nerve-wracking to invest the time and materials in a special product, as well as commissioning other makers, without any pre-sales. By the end of summer I had decided that there would not be a festive box this year.

However, the decision wasn’t sitting well, and despite all the challenges, some time in late October I had a change of heart. I had the colours in my head, and once that happens there is no stopping me. The wonderful makers we commissioned also went the extra mile at short notice, for which I am very grateful. I am also so grateful to everyone who bought one. Not getting them online until 1 December, I knew there was a big risk that everyone had already allocated their yarn allowance, but they sold out within three days – phew!

Desert Daydream Treat Box

The inspiration

The enigmatic landscape of the Grand Canyon and its colourful rock strata had previously inspired me to create a variegated shade and a tonal for our yarn club, but I wanted to return to the theme because there is so much more to explore.

‘Canyon’ (2020) and ‘Sandstone (2021) one-off shades created for Nature Lovers Club

This time, I chose to interpret the theme as a gradient set of solid shades, from the warm tones of the rock fading to the deep blue shadows. I used British Bluefaced Leicester (BFL) wool for this set because its earthy texture and natural ecru hue lent itself so well to this theme. BFL has a lustrous quality, which gives a real depth of colour to the hazy, muted shades in this set. This is not one of our stock yarns, but I find myself using it for sets quite often.

Desert Daydream yarn set

We make a point of including really special extra surprises in our treat boxes, sourced with care to support other local makers and be as sustainable as possible. I think this turned out to be really lovely collection! We have a set of handmade lampwork glass stitch markers from Flame Knits, in beautiful amber tones that complement the yarn shades. As usual, there is delicious chocolate, handmade right here in Walthamstow by artisan chocolatier Saw Chocolate. There is also a wooden needle holder (perfect for storing darning needles), reusable fabric gift wrap made from recycled saris, marmalade and organic spiced tea.

It's a Stitch Up Desert Daydream 2023 festive treat box

The yarn set would be perfect for gradient or striped socks, gloves, fingerless mittens and other accessories. For example, making the Clouds Sock by Rebecca A. (free download from Ravelry) with contrasting stripes, would be a fun way to use the set.

This year we opted not to include a pattern for a couple of reasons: Firstly, with the popularity of yarn advents calendars and gradient sets, there are now just so many fantastic patterns designed specifically for mini-skeins that everyone can find something in their tastes. Secondly, in previously years, only 40-50% of customers have downloaded included patterns, which leaves many customers effectively paying for something they aren’t going to use. What do you think about this – do you expect a pattern with a yarn set? Or, do you prefer to choose your own? What would you make (or are you making) with this set? Let us know!

The author

Suzie Blackman

The dyer, designer, photographer, creative technologist and maker-of-things behind It's a Stitch Up. She lives in East London in a home filled with colour, fluff and house plants.

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