This is British Wool Week. Not, perhaps, that you’d know – it’s been a little understated so far. Well, except in Glastonbury where sheep invaded Boots (really) and a few other places. Most of the activity has been small-scale and, in our case, thrown together at the last minute.
Our knit and natter group meets once a fortnight and it coincided with the start, so I suggested people brought along some British wool to use. There’s a flurry of sock knitting going on – Christmas is just around the corner, or it is when you’ve ten socks to finish and a wrist operation in the offing – but everyone brought something, and as usual we attracted attention.
Er. We meet in a pub. Attention happens.
It’s part of what we do, I think – spreading the word. And we didn’t attract half as much attention as we did when two of us took our spinning wheels. But the pub does pose some problems. It can be busy, especially in the holiday season, so no wheels this time. And the light isn’t really good enough:
Especially when you’re trying to do a fiddly double moss stitch with dark wool and work out where you might (or might not) have gone wrong, and it’s too wet and windy to take your work outside into what passes for daylight. Every knitter needs a torch in their project bag. Oh, the yarn is a delicious mixture of wool and – I think – camel, and was bought at Wonderwool Wales this year.
I’d brought along some really local wool. This is Lydia, or rather it was on Lydia last year and is being transformed into a simple ruffled baktus, but slowly because of the state of my hands (for which Lydia is partly responsible):
It’s undyed. I was just wrestling with the fact that my spinning wasn’t consistent, and that the ball I’d just joined in was rather different in both thickness and, oddly, colour. Lydia, by the way, is a BFL cross who lives up the valley from the pub. (And she wasn’t really responsible, I can do stupid things all by myself. I didn’t have to ply for an hour without a break.)
Here’s a little more of Lydia, from the other spinner in our group:
From the fluff stage to the spun and plied with some cream Lleyn fleece stage, to the dyed with natural dyes stage. Apologies for the gloominess of the shots, but the flash was just too disruptive. This display did prompt a general discussion with the holidaymakers on the next table about sheep and fleece prices, though, and then we got onto techniques and a lesson in grafting shoulders using the three-needle bind off.
Another of our band of knitters is an avid trawler of charity shops (well, so are most of us) and has had some really good finds. These are, on the right, a whole skein of Trefriw Welsh wool, in perfect condition, and an equally good 100g of an old Hayfield Aran – ‘100% Britsh wool’, it boasts on the label. They’re both natural, by the way, not golden yellow.
It’s interesting how we’ve become more
picky discriminating over time. The person who found these – the demon sock knitter – said there were quite a few balls of wool in the window of the shop, and they looked good together so she thought she would probably buy the lot. But when she got in, the other balls were all acrylic – and that was the end of that idea.
But the star attraction this time, undoubtedly, was The Fair Isle.
It’s the Adelaide Yoke Pullover from Vintage Modern, and is being knitted in the fabulous Jamieson’s of Sandness ‘Shetland Heather’ Aran-weight yarn, bought from Jamieson’s while three of us were on our Shetland pilgrimage. It’s almost finished…
and is wonderful on several grounds. Firstly, the knitter concerned had never knitted a Fair Isle before – and this is a Fair-Isle yoke, not a straight-sided piece – or knitted anything in the round, or used double-pointed needles.
And secondly, she can do it in the pub:
Personally, I am going to crawl away and hide. Respect!
(And, of course, respect for the wonderful variey of British wool…)