An Interview with Beata Jezek

Considering the ever growing demand for Hedgehog Fibres yarns, we thought it would be great to get the opportunity to get to know a little bit more about its creator, Beata Jezek. From her website bio we learn she’s originally from Slovakia but moved to Ireland a little over 10 years ago, that Jezek actually means Hedgehog in English, and that since she created her own company in 2008 she managed to built a little empire of devoted fans, as testify her 37 700 followers on Instagram and the thousands of projects knitted with her products on Ravelry. 
And when you look at her yarns, there is no wonder why HF is so popular. Not only are the bases super soft and of high quality but the colour ranges are absolutely amazing. Vibrant and extremely original, those variegated yarns really stand from the crowd. 

Beata Jezek, Hedgehog Fibres, Viaduct, Outline

Beata Jezek modelling her own designs Outline and Viaduct © Hedgehog Fibres Limited

Of course Beata is really busy running her own company but has kindly agreed to answer to our questions in a short interview. Here is our conversation; 

YAK: On your website you briefly mention your passion for anything related to yarn – spinning, knitting, crochet, design and dyeing – can you talk about what brought you to those crafts? What’s your personal creative journey?   

Beata: I don’t come from a crafty family, I think my grandma once showed me how to knit as a child, but that didn’t stick. I picked up knitting in my early twenties, learning from Youtube tutorials. I think my first project was a sock that turned out giant, because I didn’t consider gauge at all. Crochet and spinning came later, I like exploring different fibre arts. Knitting is my favourite though!

YAK: How and why did you start your own business and dye yarn professionally?

B: In 2008 the economy in Ireland took a downturn and I was made redundant. I picked up knitting to keep myself occupied and I was instantly hooked. As soon as I got sucked into the knitting world I knew I wanted to create my own line of hand-dyed, soft, squishy yarns. Hedgehog Fibres started as a full time gig right away, there was no messing around. I was pretty broke for a while! I worked from my home for just over a year or so before moving into the first premises in 2010.

YAK: Something striking about your knitwear designs is how cleverly they complement the colour range of your yarn collections. Can you describe the process behind creating new colours and new designs? Where do you get your inspiration from?

B: I love coming up with new colours, techniques and applications. I’m always thinking of the next thing, trying new ways of laying the dye on yarn, new colour combos. It’s always about colours. I love colours and the brand progresses as my preferences shift and evolve.

I also paint, well it’s more like just putting colours on paper, but it’s a great way of getting inspired and playing with colour. I use big brushes and thick acrylic paint, I like how quickly I can visualise ideas.

For my designs I like to showcase colour whilst using relatively simple techniques. I’m not into complicated construction right now, and I enjoy a more mindless pattern, but using great colours.

YAK: Being from Slovakia, how would you described the knitting scene over there? Is it something that influences your work?

B: I wouldn’t say being from Slovakia influences my work. I moved to Ireland shortly after finishing secondary school and I lived here all my adult life. Europe is a bit behind the US knitting culture but it’s only really starting to  catch up with the hand-dyed yarn scene in some countries in particular. The scene here is steadily growing, though!

YAK: How do your source your raw material?  What is your favourite type of yarn/fibres to work with? 

B: I like all wool, but preferably Merino as it’s versatile, soft and white, which is important in achieving bright colours. Blue Faced Leicester is great for durability (our Twist Sock for hard-wearing socks!). I also love mohair (Kidsilk Lace) as a carry along yarn for fuzzy sweaters or held single for shawls.

Stephen West, Starburst, Hedgehog Fibres Sock

Stephen West modelling his own design Starburst, knitted with Hedgehog Fibres Sock yarn – © Stephen West

A massive thank you again to Beata for taking the time to answer to our questions. It is greatly inspiring to hear that you used knitting to fight boredom while unemployed and managed to develop it into a successful, creative enterprise.  This is definitely a personal journey to be proud of. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Hedgehog Fibres! 

Until Next Time… Happy Knitting!