#NaturesShades is the KAL currently being championed by BritYarn and KnitBritish, with the aim of exploring the fabulous natural shades of wool found in the UK or local to your area. I think this is a brilliant idea as it is so easy to get caught up in the vast palette of yarn colours available from indie and commercial dyers.

The KAL finishes on March 19th, and they are hosting a get-together at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

It seems appropriate then to share a wee peek at some of the natural fibre I’ll have at the Festival.

Jacob Batts - Gradients

I have to admit I am slightly biased, I think Jacob sheep are rather interesting and when I had the opportunity to acquire a fleece a Jacob was the logical choice for me. The fleece came from a small farm in Cheshire. The fleece has been lightly washed (note it may still include lanolin, vegetable matter, etc.) and drum-carded – the finished batts have a wonderful bounce. There are limited quantities of four shades (clockwise from left top: black, dark grey, light grey, white), each available as 50g batts.

In addition to pure Jacob, there will be other natural fibres available as batts (note that quantities are limited, batt size may vary). Fibres and shades are listed below:

  • Alpaca (Brown)
  • Alpaca / Jacob (Brown)
  • Gotland / Alpaca (Brown)
  • Herdwick (Grey)
  • Hill Radnor (White)
  • Merino / Wensleydale (White)

In addition, smaller bags of undyed Angora (Fawn, Grey), Alpaca (Black, Brown) and Gotland Locks (Grey) will also be available.

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2016

Are you going?

I am! And I’m excited (and slightly terrified) to announce that I’ll be there as a vendor this year…

Exhibitor page

Alongside the patterns I’ll have a number of other things available, including fibre, hand-spun, mini skeins and stitch markers. I’ll be sharing previews of the items online via this blog, social media (links in header) and on Ravelry.

There is also a page just for the event here on the blog which will index all the relevant links and images.

Some thoughts on colour work

Over the last couple of years I’ve been teaching introductory classes to colour work knitting. It’s an interesting technique and one which can produce extremely interesting and intricate colourful motifs.

When I started knitting I have to admit I did look at the colour work patterns and conclude that I didn’t see the point of it and would never knit anything like that…

Yeah… you can see where this is going. That opinion didn’t last long.

I was swayed in part by the acquisition of a large bag of the Jamieson & Smith natural colour ways. What to do with it? Well, a colour work sweater vest seemed appropriate. And that was it. I had an addiction. Not only to colour work, but also to Jamieson & Smith 2 ply yarns (but that is a different problem).

It is useful to remember with colour work that there are a number of little tips and tricks to make things easier. Tension issues, yarn dominance and colour switches / catches all can be improved with the application of a little know-how. Importantly, none of these are particularly complicated but can provide great results. Even just trying out different methods of holding your yarn, both single- and two-handed techniques, can change things.

I’ll be teaching this class again at a retreat – the Geeky Puffin Knit Palooza – in Edinburgh in late October. Class choices are included with the retreat package, but you can get more information on the event at the website or via the mailing list.