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I have been having the most fun!

Since throwing myself head first into the idea of knitting British I have had nothing but fun and joy seeking out local grown, spun or dyed wool.

JEWELS

Have a look at just some of the utter jewels in the British Wool crown that I have stashed so far….

 

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“Seeking out” is perhaps a redundant term as there is just so much British fibre out there, just yearning to be used.

And it isn’t just our sheepy friends either, I can’t believe I have been buying alpaca wool imported from South America when there is an absolute wealth of yarn grown from flocks (packs?) all over the UK, even here in Shetland!
My wishlist is continuing to bust! I really hope Santa thinks I have been a good girl this year. Currently I have coveting this sumptuous green UK Alpaca sock from John Arbon! It just yearns to be squeeshed!

 

I will introduce more of the yarns in more detail as time goes on, but needless to say it is all wonderful stuff and I am really looking forward to working with it.

(I have just realised I have included all dyed in that picture. There is lots of natural too!)

HOW MUCH?

I know there will be some people out there who will simply disregard yarn because of the price. We all like a bargain, especially if you are a prolific knitter! But I am quickly beginning to realise that I would rather pay a little more for a quality item produced here in the UK.

Before I really began to knit with hand-dyed wools, I would baulk a bit at the prices, but look at this beautiful British BFL from The Yarn Yarn …no really, have a good look…

The Yarn Yard BBFL

It’s not a very good photo, but I am sure you can appreciate the different nuances and how each colour plays with the light. Can you imagine how lovely this will look knitted?  You will never buy a ball of wool from your LYS that has detail like this unless it is hand-dyed. I feel this is the epitome of an artisan craftsmanship.

The wool is was grown on the back of a happy British bred sheep and the wool was dyed by a wonderfully talented British based dyeing artist. There is no comparison really.

HAPPY COINCIDENCE?

And as luck would have it two wonderful British designers have just brought out beautiful pattern collection books all made in British fibre!

Ann Kingstone had been releasing patterns in what I can only describe as  salivatory manner;  drip feeding beautiful designs in Yorkshire wool on Ravelry, which lead up to the launch of her book Born and Bred in conjunction with BaaRamEwe (my new favourite online store). I certainly cannot wait to knit this!

Hild by Ann Kingstone

 Kate Davies has published her first collection of patterns Colours of Shetland, all Shetland inspired and using Jamieson & Smith wool. I am a sucker for a yoke and just look at this glorious example.

Puffins by Kate Davies

I am just giddily excited to be knitting with all this home-grown loveliness. If you are on Ravelry head on over to the Woolsack forum. JaneKAL has started a new forum where you can discuss your own ideas for projects knit in British wool.

I’d also (eventually) like to host giveaways, perhaps a blog tour or two and have a gallery of your own projects, if you care to share them.

New website going live soon  so all will be revealed in good time and due course, but needless to say, like Christmas, it will be here before we know it!

Ann Kingstone’s book, Born and Bred, is available from Baaramewe & is priced £12.99

The Colours of Shetland, by Kate Davies is available via her website priced £14.99

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Here is Etterscabs. The last item I will make in non-British wool for the next year.

back yoke

The design is Aftur, by Védís Jónsdóttir and I knit it out of two necessities. 1) I wanted a lopapeysa style yoke jumper and 2) I had a lot of Drops Alaska in my stash that, while a wonderful wool, it was taking up too much space in the stash. Stash space that is needed for British wool for 2013!

I am so delighted with this jumper, as you can see! I haven’t done a lot of colour-work, and I did struggle a little bit with working with only 2 colours (ye gods! should I knit a pattern that requires more!) but I am so pleased with how it turned out.

PD4A0579

I altered the yoke pattern from the original and I made the sleeves a little longer and added just a little waist shaping (as I always look boxy in jumpers) my only slight regret is that I didn’t allow for more…ahem…movement…in the bustular area. But one needs to feel snug in this cold weather.

I really don’t think I have been so happy with a creation in a long time. It had been blocking for over a week (I bent every single pin I had! But Dear Mother is going to lend me my Nannie’s jumper board for the future!)

I can’t think of a nicer project to close the chapter on one knitting year and embark on another.

More news of my 2013 adventures in British Wool soon…very soon. Meantime Lovely Fella – not content with dodging showers this morning to take my picture at Scalloway Castle –  is in the process of KnitBritishing up  a new web-space.

So exciting developments aside, I am about to go and marinade the lamb for dinner!

Catch up with you soon, and keep coming with your British wool suggestions. What breed of wool do you prefer to work with?

Ohh! Before I go, the name Etterscabs. Are you wondering? I don’t think it is an actual word. It was a word chosen  by a writing group I attended as a theme for the following meeting. It was chosen from this book. It was during the course of this meeting that I realised I am not someone who can write something on a time limit and procrastinating this was the most creative thing I had achieved in the allotted time. Hence, Etterscabs.

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   In my last blog I was telling you all about my love of the book, or rather my love of the craftsmanship of old books. I was also lamenting a little at the lack of art (of that standard and detail) in today’s books.  Today, as a happy sequel to that blog, I wanted to introduce someone who sees art beyond the cover and within the words!

 Bronia Sawyer is a British artist and photographer with an amazing talent in book sculpture. I found her work when I was doing a little researching on book art and when I saw her book birds, I was absolutely captivated!

how intricate are those birds, and so fragile! I can imagine so time-consuming and intricate to sculpt!

 Sawyer’s inspiration seems to come from her vivid imagination and the anxieties she suffered as a child…

“For me creativity and imagination go hand in hand. My imagination has always been vivid , it has been throughout my life, both a blessing and a curse. As a child it fed by nightly anxiety, creating faces in the shadows and monsters under the bed, but in the lights it fed my daydreams driving me to create worlds in which I felt safe.” 

As a child, it was discovered that Bronia had dyslexia and while her struggles with words drove her to more creative pursuits then, she feels now she is reconnecting with words and text, and coupling her “old weakness with words, with my artistic strength”.

 

   “I love paper it is so versatile but overall I favour books I love the texture of the paper the discoloured tones and the printed text. There is something warm and homely about a book something I find almost comforting although some find it horrific that i spend lots of time cutting up old books I love getting lost inside the pages and creating something new from something old and tatty.”

…When I look at her work, I feel like I am taking part in the story and Bronia creates different levels of interaction. Look at the last picture above. We can interact with it visually, but I look at the textual element, the dictionary entries defining each subject! Just wonderful!

If you wish to find out more about Bronia and see more of her work then please do visit her in the following places…But please don’t blame me if you get lost in her amazing world of words, books, sculptures, photography and stories…it is a captivating place to visit!

Her Website: http://www.littlebookbird.co.uk

On Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/broniart/

 

 

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