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episode 62 – The Border Mill

Welcome back to the podcast after a lovely wee break. I am jumping straight back into the action with a really wonderful tour of The Border Mill. 

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John and Juliet Miller decided to make a career change 5 years ago. They already had a 2 acre walled garden where they kept their growing herd of alpaca and, after long waiting times to have the fleece spun (and often large minimum batch size requirements) they decided they would set up their own small scale fibre mill, specialising in alpaca. John and Juliet take minimum fibre batches of 1.5kg and as soon as they opened it was clear that there were a lot of clients who also wanted to spin small batch alpaca fibre, sheep wool and other fibres.

It wasn’t until 2013 that they started to produce their own alpaca yarn, for the first Edinburgh Yarn Festival and their own range has grown exponentially since then. The Border Mill range now includes a lopi-style yarn, blended with Falkland merino, alpaca and mohair, alpaca and BFL, alpaca tweed and the forthcoming alpaca and silk. The Border Mill also works closely with clients to ensure that the fibre they send to the mill becomes the best possible yarn for their needs. Their clients include Sariann Lehrer, who produces the single breed, single flock Chopped Ginger project and Hooligan Yarns, who sell single sheep yarns – if you have worked with, squished or seen these particular yarns you will be well aware of how special these yarns are. 

John gave us a tour of the mill and the entire process. Please listen in to the episode and join is on that tour – grab your WIP and drink! Read More

The Remakery : Which shawl first?

If you read my earlier post you will know that I’ve given myself the challenge to revisit one or two  beloved projects this summer.

The Remakery is essentially a bit of motivation or focus to cast on again one of those designs that we’ve always promised ourselves we’ll make again. I’d be utterly delighted if you wanted to use this as motivation to remake some of your favourites. There are no rules or requirements, you can remake absolutely anything and there isn’t a cast on date or anything (cos it isn’t a KAL in the trad sense). I’ve got a few things to do before the month is out, so I’ll be starting in May (also cos remakery!)

I want to focus on some of the awesome shawls that I’ve wanted to remake for a long time. But how to choose? Those vying for my attention for remaking are Marin and Ishbel, by Ysolda. Read More

join the remakery

How often have you finished making an item and thought “Ooh, I could make that again!”

Over the years there have been occasions where I’ve perhaps made two or three items from the same pattern (4 Lushes; 3 Crofthoose Hats; 2 Mochs, a couple of crias) and I know there are a lot of you out there who have knit more of the same pattern too. Sometimes though…sometimes, there is a design that we always mean to make again, but never quite get round to it.

It’s there, it’s on the queue, you often look at it and think about casting on… you probably even have the yarn for it, don’t you?!

It’s the kind of project that perhaps we initially made as a gift from someone else (Ishbel) and want one for yourself; or it could be that the design may benefit from a different yarn, or gauge, or a yarn with a different fibre content than the last time (Marin). Perhaps it is a design of a FO that you lost and would dearly like to recreate (Estuary). It could also be a WIP that you couldn’t wait to cast on, a pattern that you so longed for, but it needs ripped out and started again (Hamegaet and Nuthap). Whatever it is, it is a design that has just captured a bit of your heart and you just want to make it again again (Hansel, Snowflake , Lush (Again!) )

If that is the case for you too, and various projects sprang to mind whilst reading that, then the remakery might be the motivation you need. Read More

episode 81 – “We can make anything!”

On today’s episode I’m further exploring themes of value and worth in knitting by looking at  learning and teaching knitting. I’ve got an interview with Kerry Kimber, of Knitting For All, and I visit a knitting class in Edinburgh taught by Maddie Harvey and have a coffee and chat with them. I also review of Croft 29 Hebridean wool!

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You can also listen on iTunes, the podcast app, or search your favourite podcatcher, if you prefer! 

Our Sponsor


Images are from Croft 29 on Instagram

Today’s episode is sponsored by Croft 29!
Stephen and Rachel Varwell produce beautiful Hebridean yarn from their small flock in Skye. Using traditional hand-shearing methods the shearling fleeces are spun by
The Natural Fibre Company into a plump aran yarn.
To find out more visit Croft 29 on twitter, facebook and instagram and visit their etsy shop. 
You can also read an interview with them right here at KnitBritish.

| Show notes

This episode I am picking back up on the topic of value and what it means to have these knitting skills. I looked at the value of our own skills, and the meaning of knitworthy on the show before and I thought it would be good to look at teaching and also what it means to learn craft. Read More

Croft 29 – Genuine Hebridean Wool from Skye

The sponsors of the next episode of the podcast will be Croft 29, a small family business creating wool from their Hebridean flocks on Skye. I think the story behind their business is really special and wanted to share an interview with them here on the blog. Put the kettle on and join us….

croft 29 hebridean yarn

It was almost a year ago, I was in Fluph, in Dundee, and I saw a gloriously sheepy wool. The yarn – the colour of fresh cut peat – was an instant draw to these KnitBritish eyes (and hands) and I had to know more. The wool is described as genuine Hebridean wool from Skye. You can hear LJ introduce me to this yarn, and our first impressions of it,  in a wee snippet from episode 58 (you will have to follow the link to hear the whole episode and the answer to the question hank vs ball)

Croft 29 is a real croft on Skye, on the Trotternish peninsula, and is home to Stephen and Rachel Varwell and their family. They’ve been running the croft for 12 years and, as well as a small flock of Hebridean sheep, they keep a few Dexter cows (Bodan and Freya) and also their (extremely photogenic) sheepdog, Mac.

It’s been just over a year since the Varwell’s launched their Hebridean yarn; the wool – handshorn on the croft – is spun under the expertise of the Natural Fibre Company into a plump aran yarn. I wanted to ask Stephen and Rachel why they took the decision to create their own yarn.

“Crofts have never been full-time occupations and crofters have always had to be innovative to make money from what is a very marginal existence.  I guess that using our fleece to make a valuable by-product has in some ways been a logical and natural step, as we are making the most of the resources we have.” Read More

episode 80 – Why don’t you…? Couldn’t you just…? You should…!

Welcome in to this episode; where I think I may just about have gotten over EYF…maybe!

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This episode is sponsored by our first KnitBritish Woolly Mucker, Christine Perry.
AKA WinwickMum across social media, you may know her from her blog or from Ravelry.
Currently Christine is knitting some socks in the new candyfloss shade of WYS Signature Sock and she is designing in Doulton Flock Border Leciester for an upcoming tutorial.

Listen in to this episode to hear about the first big knitting project Christine ever cast on and much more.

| Show notes

| Post EYF and managing expectations

It may be three weeks later, but EYF is not a distant memory. I feel so much the connections to the community that you will hear a lot of people reporting back on, or having experience of yourself. There is an incredible feeling of being with your own folk – a superhero kinda feeling – that lasts long after. Read More

episode 79 Unpacking #EYF2017

This episode is just a meander through EYF 2017 along with Lacey to my Cagney, Louise Hunt from Caithness Craft. No show notes, no stash photos (you can get them all next time) – we are just going to settle in for an immediate unpacking of my bags and of this wonderful festival. (Podcat fans, watch out for two podcat interruptions this time!)

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You can also listen on iTunes, the podcast app, or search your favourite podcatcher, if you prefer! 

Also there were great images in the Knitmastery photobooth. All images copyright to EYF.

 

| Info

Music: Carefree by Kevin McLeod n FreeMusicArchive and shared under Creative Commons Attribution license. Images are copyright to those attributed (i.e. EYF) otherwise they are mine. Please do not reproduce.

destined to be felled by yarn fumes?

There are 3 more sleeps until Edinburgh Yarn Festival and I’m loving dipping into social media (when I get a chance) and seeing everyone with their venue maps out, making plans and reckoning on spending a good wadge of the yarn budget this weekend. It is also awesome to see the vendors, teachers and VIPs getting ready to come over to Auld Reekie and watching them pack up their goodies. Yesterday I was messaging with my good pal, Lacey to my Cagney, Louise Hunt and we both said that we were already feeling overwhelmed by the choice and we’re not even there yet!    Read More

episode 78 – British stash invasion

Welcome back to the podcast – this episode we are all just a very big bit excited about Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

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| Show notes

(this episode’s show notes are a little shorter down to all the things I need to do pre-EYF, it doesn’t happen often!)

| British Wool at EYF

I’m so excited about the amount of British wool represented at EYF this year. I’m giving you a run down of those I’m excited to be seeking out. If you can’t visit Edinburgh, all of these yarn companies have online shops, so visit the links below.

IMG_0606

Fact: It was Uradale Wool I was knitting with when i decided to Knit British!

Uradale/Aalmerk wool, from Shetland, on stand A9
Ardalanish , from the Isle of Mull, on stand C2
Blacker (obvs!) on stand N1 in the PodcastLounge
Cambrian Mountain Wool, from Wales, on stand B3
Garthenor, organic British wool, on stand M1
Home Farn Wensleydale on stand F5
Iona Wool on stand D4
Uist Wool on stand F4
Update:I mention Black Bat Rare Breed in this podcast, but they are now unable to attend.

What is on your EYF shopping list? I’ve been procrastinating and made a pinterest board! Read More