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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

episode 84 – clear labelling and bumper festivities

Back again – get your WIP, get your drink – I’m talking crochet cast offs and we’re diving into Pom Pom’s 5th Anniversary issue! Listen in for an awesome Pomfest giveaway too.

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Our Sponsor

You will find the very best of British wool, an incredible range of patterns and awesome notions at BritYarn. Isla works to the Woolly Principles at BritYarn so that you can be confident of buying British wool, with provenance from British suppliers. 
Click on the logo to visit the BritYarn website and don’t forget to wish BritYarn a very Happy 2nd Birthday on June 2nd!  

| Show notes

Thanks so much for your feedback on the British wool love in the last episode. It has totally given me food for thought and it has really made me think about my responsibility to you as a reviewer. I do buy and have, in the past, accepted review yarn that is just labelled “British Wool” without any further information about what that wool is. I feel that in a response to the need for clearer labelling  it is not in my or your interest to review yarns with no traceability or content info. Read More

Giveaway Klaxon

There are a couple of lovely giveaways in the KnitBritish Ravelry group that I don’t want you guys to miss out on!

From Dorset, With Love.

Clare Devine has launched a digital pattern collection, which beautifully illustrates how place can leave a lasting impression on you.

Two years ago I went on a road trip – the best kind of road trip – the ‘change your life’ kind of roadtrip! I didn’t realise back then how much that summer weekend away would shape my life in the years to come. So much has come from those 3 glorious days in Dorset.

Clare Devine

There are 6 patterns in this collections which explore the inspirations from that trip. There is the Lulworth Cove hat, deeply brimmed and richly textured; The Swyres Head Mitts in divine yarn from Phileas Yarns; two awesome sock patterns, in Ripples Crafts Sock – Studland and Tyneham and Corfe Castle – a gorgeous shawl, featuring and effortless garter and eyelet design. Also to come is Clare’s first garment design – Kimmeridge!

You can buy the entire collection right now on Ravelry and the patterns will also be available as single pattern downloads too!

As Clare is so lovely, she has offered a copy of the collection as a giveaway and has added three runner up prizes of single patterns. You can find the entry thread over in our Ravelry group.  I will close this on 2nd of June and draw winners by fairly soon after that. Thank you so much, lovely Clare and congratulations on a stunning collection that is going to have all our knitty hands get grabbing for the yarn!

| POM POM is 5

PomPom Quarterly are celebrating their 5th anniversary this year! There is a BUMPER issue which is hitting door mats all over the world right about now and you can listen to me peek between the pages on tomorrow’s podcast! (spoiler: It is pretty incredible!)

There is also going to be a wonderful birthday bash happening in London in July!

On 14th and 15th of July, Pomfest will be held at Studio Spaces, Shadwell. A renovated factory in this fast-developing part of Tower Hamlets.

The Pomfest marketplace will play host to a selection of the finest indie yarn producers and dyers from all over the world, including Viola Yarns and Julie AsselinLa Bien Aimée and Dandelion YarnsJohn Arbon Textiles, Coop Knits and Kettle Yarn Co. will be there too with more to be confirmed! There will also be panel discussions from international woolly speakers, like Clara Parkes! and talks from Pom Pom designers Julia Farwell-Clay, Thea Colman, Veera Välimäki, Olga Buraya-Kefelian, and Emily Foden.
All of this AND a Friday night party! Tickets cost £15 for each day and also £15 for the evening party (John Arbon WILL be your DJ – worth the ticket price alone!) I hope you can go – I reckon it will be a really special weekend!

Pom Pom, so lovely and generous, have offered a lucky winner a pair of tickets, so that they can take a pal and can go to the marketplace and enjoy the Pom Pom party vibe! I am about to open the giveaway thread in the KnitBritish Ravelry group, so that you can enter for that chance! Please only enter if you can definitely make it to London (travel/accommodation is not included) – you can choose which day you want to attend. I will close the thread on 16th June and draw the winner at random. Pom Pom will email the tickets to the winner.

Pom Pom’s loveliness goes on and on! They have also given us a copy of the newest issue to giveaway and (to save confusion in the rav giveaway threads) you can enter to win that RIGHT HERE!

To win a copy of Pom Pom Quarterly, issue 21 – take a look at the designs in this issue (click here to see them all) and comment below with what you would cast on first – its gonna be a struggle as there are SO many awesome designs.
I’ll close this also on June 16th. A winner will be drawn at random.

Good luck and thank you so much to Clare Devine and Pom Pom Quarterly!

| Important info – Please read

Please only comment below if you want to enter the giveaway for the issue of Pom Pom – the other giveaways are in the Ravelry group and the links will take you there. Entries on the blog for the other giveaways mentioned will be deleted, so please read carefully!

Images here are copyright to their owners and used with kind permission. Please do not reproduce without seeking permission from the owners. 


episode 83 – What you love about the indiestry

Welcome back to the podcast! This week, as a bit of a addition to an article I wrote recently, I’m talking about what you love about the British wool indiestry!

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This episode is sponsored by our KnitBritish Woolly Mucker, Emma Goodlad
Emma is Hosut on Ravelry and Goodlasshandicrafts on Instagram and etsy.

Emma has a craft business and is enjoying exploring her Shetland roots in her own knitting!

Listen in to hear me talk to Emma later in the show.

| Show notes

Last episode I hinted that I was going to be visiting somewhere special for the podcast and I managed to keep it a secret right up til I got there.

I visited Uist and, more precisely, Uist Wool and spent a whirlwind time there getting a tour of the mill and chatting with staff about the work they do there. I recorded a lot, so there is a lot to edit – as you can imagine – so you will have to be a bit patient for this episode, but I promise you it will be worth the wait! Thank so much to Dana, Hazel and everyone at the mill who made me feel so very welcome! Read More

bags of remakery motivation!

I just HAD to pop over and post about The Knitting Goddess’s shop update tonight (7pm, be there!) because it features the most awesome remakery-related wonderfulness!

When I told Joy about my remake challenge she thought it would be a great idea to make some bags inspired by that and asked me for some ideas for wording.  I came up with a few silly ones (“Go ahead Punk, Remake my day” or “Take my hand, we’ll remake it, I swear”) but I thought  *Cast on, Knit, Cast off* was a pretty good slogan for remaking, but also a great motto for most of our knitting habits!


These are just awesome – I love the denim and then that pop of bright knit-print lining!  There is also great inspiration here to remake something out of something else! You can use the remake motivation to reuse, recycle, upcycle – to knit, to sew, to crochet, to weave…. However you fancy taking up the challenge, head on over to the KB ravelry group and tell us! 

Don’t forget about that shop update tonight –  there is a brand new sock yarn debuting tonight too! – and sign up to Joy’s newsletter to get an email reminder of every update.


episode 82 strength and significance / community and traditions

This episode I bring you a wee interview I’ve been waiting for the right time to bring you, all about connections to pattern traditions, family, landscape and place. Also we meet this month’s woolly mucker, Alison Mayne and chat a little with her about wool, patterns and community. There is also a review and a giveaway of Zen Variations from Renee Callahan!

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This episode is sponsored by our KnitBritish Woolly Mucker, Alison Mayne!
AKA Bakerstreetgirl on Ravelry, Alison is a doctoral researcher in women’s craft experiences, at Sheffield. As you will hear on today’s show, she always has a pair of socks on the needles. Listen in to hear Alison and I chat and hear a little bit about her craft pursuits and her ongoing studies.

Thanks to Alison for sponsoring our show today!

| Show notes

Let’s Get Cracking Shawl, by Helene Zechner

© Helene Zechner

Our lovely listener Helene has released a pattern and named it in honour of the show! The Let’s Get Crackin shawl is a textured triangular shawl, knit in Mohair Blend from Blacker. This yarn has recently been relaunched with new shades and you should check them out! Thank you, Helene, this shawl is crackin!

| Love your Yarn Shop at Countess Ablaze 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