Who is TJFrog?
TJ refers to my first & middle names, Tania Jane and the Frog a homage to my avid & lifelong collection of frogs! Not the real ones, although I do love them & have been known to rescue them crossing a main road!
TJFrog was a childhood name I assigned to myself - as you do! When I discovered knitters 'frog' their work when ripping it back, then TJFrog was an obvious name choice for my creative venture.
Taught to hand knit as a very young child by my Nana, I knitted for one of my Duke of Edinburgh Awards! Cross stitch caught my attention for many years and I returned to knitting in 2008 after taking up an opportunity to do a knitting retreat. And so I entered a whole new world of knitting! I couldn't believe what I'd been missing!
And this is the product of that knitting retreat. A felted needle bag - my first design!
Through knitting I found out about Dorset Buttons, not something I'd heard of during my upbringing in Dorset! A trip to the Dorset History Centre started my research and interest to learn more about their history and designs.
A Business is Born
From my growing research into the Dorset Button history and traditions I realised I wished to help promote and keep alive the story as well as build on some of the historical designs to produce contemporary pieces.
Though I had a business name, the business needed a logo and so I set about creating the TJFrog logo which has quickly become a key and very recognisable part of my championing of the Dorset Button and the wide range of yarns and wools I can source in the Highlands that bring my designs to life.
With a long background in training I love delivering workshops and tutorials in the making of buttons and have found that there is a demand for both Dorset Button kits alongside finished designs.
From Dorset to Skye
Growing up in Dorset I was surrounded by some stunning English countryside and dramatic coastline. Whether at Sandbanks or Studland Bay, on the Isle of Purbeck, or further afield at Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove the limestone hills and Dorset's dramatic jurassic coastline always held a fascination which fostered a keen interest in geology and a desire for greater understanding of the landscape that surrounds us.
This interest was only heightened, in later life, with frequent trips to Scotland and to Wester Ross in the Highlands; to walk in the majestic Torridon mountains. The affinity to mountains and coastline also led to some formal study through the Open University. With my love of craft, dramatic coastal landscapes and a feeling of awe at the forces that created our mountains it was little wonder that I eventually ended up moving to the Isle of Skye - the perfect habitat for TJFrog to grow her embryonic business.
Shorelines & Strata
Shorelines & Strata is TJFrog's own range of British Wool. It was born from a desire of bringing Dorset and Skye together through wool, celebrating their linkage through geology and how both areas have distinctive breeds of sheep that have long shaped the land we see.
The first skeins produced were a mix of Poll Dorset, from Rampisham Farm near Beaminster, and Hebridean, from Croft 29 on Skye. The 85% / 15% mix produced a yarn that was christened 'limestone' and has not only been used to produce some Dorset Button brooches, showcasing its natural grey colours, but has also been knitted and crocheted into accessories.
Shorelines & Strata Limestone was launched at Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2017 and was, in many ways, representative of TJFrog's story from tadpole to today.