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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. 

Listen to the podcast

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

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

Bon Voyage, Ethel!

I’m still collecting my thoughts post-EYF and you’ll be sure to hear all about that in my next podcast, but we really need to take a collective moment here at KB, for another event which will affect listeners and readers, that’s the closing of BritYarn .

You will have heard the news that Isla is off on a new adventure and Brityarn can’t go too. It’s really sad, but I know that you will join me in wishing Isla all the very best in her new endeavours.

The Natures Shades Meet up, 2016

I am really proud of our collaborative KALs The Scollay-along and the Nature’s Shades and thankful for all Brityarn’s support as sponsor, over the past three years – not to mention Isla’s support with everything else KB, which means such a lot!

I know we all have handmade items, yarn in stash and a lot of woolly knowledge thanks to Isla!

If you need a further hit of BY before the doors close on 28th, there are still items on sale with the code THISISNOTGOODBYE – use the code at checkout for 20% off everything in store. (bearing in mind that that discount box may not show up on many mobile phones – so use another device)

I’m always talking about the knitter’s library and there are plenty of books and patterns to buy – lots for the crochet library too, The Crochet Project. Rachel Coopey, Kate Davies, Claire Devine and more. There are also a few yarns from Blacker, WYS, Baa Ram Ewe & J&S, etc, so grab a final bargain or two.

I’ll miss BritYarn, but I know Isla will keep her passion for wool and do amazing things with that, and continue to spread the good word about UK wool. Isla, thank you so much.

While the shop is closing it’s doors soon, Isla will still be on social media, and will be changing handle soon. Do follow her on her adventures. I know you join me in saying Bon Voyage, Ethel & best of luck xxx

Woolly Mucker Review: Blacker Jacobs

If you heard episode 102 you would have heard me give a little preview of the newest Blacker Yarn, which is launching at Edinburgh Yarn Fest this week. I promised to bring you some woolly mucker reviews this week and I do my very best to keep my promises (even during the busiest week of the year!).

I’ve been waiting a very long time to bring you these reviews. Sonja sent me samples for woolly muckers back in October and I sent them to some of our listener sponsors – Maz, Barb and Lesley. The fact that this yarn was pushed to be the star yarn for EYF was a blessing for our mucker Barb, as the yarn took over a month to get to her in Canada! So pleased I can bring you these great reviews today.

If you are coming to Edinburgh Yarn Fest, please do have a read of these comprehensive reviews. If you can’t come to EYF, these yarns will be available online after the event and you will be primed and ready for purchasing! And if you are taking part in Wool Exploration this month, or thinking about it, this is a great place to pique your interest further! Read More

Episode 102 – yarn fume smoke signals

Just a quickie! (in as far as I can do a quick podcast) with my top tips for EYF 2018.

N.B it may be later today before this hits iTunes/Podcatchers, please be patient


Forgive me, I’m (unsurprisingly) short on time this week, so your shownotes have a bit more brevity this time! The links are key today. Also, due to busyness, its a bit rough around the edges today. #sorynotsorry

Edinburgh Yarn Festival (15-18th)

| My own list of vendors I’ll be making a beeline for …

I’ve linked directly to the items I mention in the show and what I’ll be popping in my shopping basket! Read More

Wool Exploration: Jacobs

Image: Blacker Yarns

Reminder: we have two wool explorations this month. This is to give those going to EYF a chance to buy their Ryeland at the Sunday event. The deadline for the Ryeland is 23rd March.

We’re about the start exploring the conservation breed Jacobs, which will conclude our first quarter of Wool Exploration!

© Copyright Russel Wills and used under Creative Commons Licence.

As usual I like to kick off with an introduction to this breed from The Fleece and Fibre Sourcebook, by Deb Robson and Carol Ekarius. This really is a great book and cannot recommend it more highly. I am under no obligation from the authors or publisher to say that, I just believe it is the best handbook for your Wool Exploration. Read More

Woolly Mucker Review: School of Flock

As the podcast is now monthly and there are only so many wool reviews that can feasibly be fit into one episode, I will be bringing more on the blog.

I heard about Sylvan Tiger’s custom yarn, School of Flock, just ahead of Leeds Wool Festival last year and knew that I had to visit Katie’s stall there and try some.

It is a blend of 70% Lleyn, from Shropshire and 30% grey Shetland, from Somerset. Lleyn is a Welsh breed, which is a good meat sheep, but which also has a bouncy, kemp-free fleece. Its not a breed you will see on lots of yarn labels, but its creamy deliciousness deserves to be knit more!

This is from Katie’s website. Read More

Wool Exploration: Spring and Summer

I could call this Wool Exploration: Second Quarter. But Spring and Summer wool exploration conjures me images of sheep on a catwalk and I like that!

On episode 101 I announced the next four breeds for our collective Wool Exploration. Jacobs is our next one, of course, and the deadline for your reviews for the Jacobs is 9th April.  It may seem super early, but so many of you are so dang keen!

The next four breed yarns for us to relish are..

Teeswater Read More

Episode 101 – crunchy and grippy, soft and silky

February has rolled around and almost out, so it is high-time for a good old catch up!
On today’s show we have Wool Exploration with the Gotland breed. There are two reviews; The Adventures in Yarn notebook, from Popcorn & Crocodiles, and Whistlebare’s new Cheviot Blue yarn. I also chat about the KB100DECK and I may just have some Podcast Lounge and Edinburgh Yarn Fest chat!

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

| Shownotes

Welcome chums and thank you so much for all of your 100th episode wishes and congrats – it means such a lot. Later in the show we’ll have a few soundclips from the 100th ep celebrations in Edinburgh, but I wanted to just say thanks again if you had your own KB100DECK , or attended Bath, York, London or the Edinburgh DECKs – that was a really special day.

| Wool Exploration: Gotland

– The Breed

(c) JBKjeldsen shared via creative commons

This month we have been exploring Gotland wool an what a great voyage of discovery it has been! Read More

My kindly stash – a love letter

(yes, that is a cat tail in that picture)

I have been naughty. I meant to blog more once 2018 came along, but things got a little busy. I am sorry and I’ve missed it. Currently my time is being happily consumed by Podcast Lounge planning, at EYF and putting together the next podcast, due out later this month. The other day though, I was going through my stash and I have a few skeins that I really wanted to share with you.

When I am admiring friends knitwear and I ask, “what’s the wool?” Sometimes the reply is, “oh! It’s not British!”. This is usually as much as I’m told. Like I am somehow not interested. Other times those words are spoken rather Read More