There’s nothing quite as lovely as a yarn-based pun and Becky Robinson has got it spot on with Oh For Hook’s Sake. Becky comes from Teeside where it would be so easy to stereotype her into the cheeky Northern lass role but being funny, vivacious and having a generous heart is it hard not to do so. This is especially true when she admits she loves “trying to get my Mam to drop an F-bomb every now and again, it gives me a great sense of satisfaction” that the personality behind the shop really becomes the shop itself.
“I like everything to be as close to the bone as you can get for any situation,” says Becky, “I started doing markets in Newcastle where they pronounce ‘hook’ as ‘h-oo-k’ and they couldn’t understand the name. I’d reply ‘for huks sake’ and we’d have a little laugh. The name doesn’t always work up here, which is daft.”
Becky produced the pencils for our December boxes. She came up with the idea having been bought a Crochet Project Bible from Stationary Geek as a present and wanting the perfect pencil to work with. Not being able to find one, she created her own. Becky said that “as well as really liking wool, I am borderline obsessed with stationary. I’d ordered some pencils for my sister about 18 month previously so knew I could put anything I wanted on there and took the plunge to order wholesale. I’ve always liked something cheeky with a bit of a pun and I am a bit of a yarn-fondler which I think sounds classier than yarn-squidger. Squidger sounds like you have some sort of fungal thing going on but fondler, well that’s just classier.”
Becky’s plan was to use all the pencils herself if she didn’t sell any. However, they proved incredibly popular and are now one of the most popular items in her shop. She has recently expanded the range to some fantastic neon colours.
While her love of stationary is something she is proud of, Becky also hand-dyes yarn, something she didn’t originally set out to do.
“Since I started dying yarn and selling the pencils I’ve felt encouraged to move away from just making things to sell. I am lucky in that my evenings are my own so I want to spend my time plotting and dying. While I love making things, I love dying yarn and that has taken over just a bit.
“I never thought that when I first bought hand-dyed yarn I would start dying it myself; I just didn’t think I could produce anything and that anything I did produce well, no one would want to buy. I always tend towards worst case scenario but I really enjoy doing it. It gives me a total buzz when someone buys something, even if they have bought it on Etsy or seen it on Instagram and are asking about it. I’ve dyed that myself, in a stock pot, on my hob, at home. I love that it is almost infinite in what you can do.”
Like most dyers, Becky started because she had an idea in her head for a yarn colour that she simply couldn’t find anywhere else and so decided to try create it herself. It became a pink, orange and neon-coral colour that she named after vodka as it reminded her of “the God-awful cocktails” she used to drink when younger. But dying her own yarn has not stopped her stash building and while she knows she can create the yarns she buys herself, she holds a deep appreciation of the effort which has gone into hand dying yarn.
It is this thoughtful side to Becky that has led her to taking part in several yarn ‘pay-it-forward’ projects that are out there at the moment. Fibre Share has found Becky with a firm Instagram friend who just ‘gets her’.
“I took part the second time they had run it. You pay a fee and get matched up with someone. Someone else in turn gets matched to you. You send a parcel of at least 200g of yarn or fibre and receive some in return. The first time I took part I received a package with the most amazing stuff inside, it was as though she understood me and put it all in this big box. I in turn hand dyed some rainbow and purple wool for my Fibreshare. I really love the thought of doing something nice for someone else who I might not ever meet face-to-face.”
It is through online communities such as Instagram that Becky and I found each other. While researching for the interview with her, I realised I didn’t actually know her first name but felt like I knew her on a personal level already from her Instagram account. We’d been chatting on there for some time over the past few months and both agreed that there was really something special about the fibre-community in that it is filled with good eggs. “People are dead lush, yarn people especially,” says Becky.
When not dying wool or lusting over stationary, Becky is also an accomplished crocheteer. While crochet and knitting can look very similar people tend to fall into one craft or the other. Becky explained why she took to the hook.
“I taught myself to crochet because I am left handed. I wanted to learn how to knit and thought it would be easy but I can’t get my head around it; my hands don’t work in that way. Even my grandma, who has knitted forever, tried to teach me but it just didn’t work.
“So, I taught myself to crochet with a book and a mirror to turn the pictures around so I could see what my left hand was doing. It was trial and error at first. I’d bought some wool from the pound shop and thought if it didn’t work then it was no bother. But it did and I am now obsessed. The room I am sat in has got, - well I don’t want to know how much wool it has got in it. I certainly don’t want to admit it.”
You can check Oh For Hook’s Sake over here and follow Becky on Instagram over at @ohforhookssake
Missed our December box? You can still get your hand on one here.