Deliveries, boxes and unpacking: The last weeks have sometimes felt like we are taking delivery of autumn itself – just in a woollen form. Parcels make their long way west across Europe and south from Scotland and the north of England. Our missing colourways are restocked and we finally get to welcome the 3 new yarns we’ve been working hard to make space for. For all three of them, their journey here is by far the furthest they have yet travelled. For each one has been spun from fleeces of sheep that graze on land just a few miles away from where it is scoured, carded and twisted into the balls and skeins that are packed and shipped to us in Clapton. This matters for many reasons – it means the mills are supporting and sustaining local farmers and shepherds, and in turn the land they work on. At the same time, there’s a much lower environmental cost in transporting the wool as it makes its way around the production circle.
Another consequence of these new arrivals, is of course new project plans, as each one starts suggesting itself as an exciting match for patterns we’ve had in our peripheral vision over the last months.
And so by way of welcoming and celebrating our newest wool, Brontë and I would like to share what we’re thinking in terms of our 3 debut yarns. But before we get to the patterns, some introductions in order of gauge..
Cautiva is a lofty, softy, slightly felty-feeling sport-weight yarn (±3.5mm, 22-25sts/10cm) from the wonderful Spanish Wool Dreamers mill, spun from the fleece of local flocks of merino and manchega sheep.
Sheepsoft is a DK (±4mm, 19-22sts/10cm) from Laxtons’ famous mill in Yorkshire. They are blending wool from Bluefaced Leicester and Masham flocks within a 50 mile radius of the mill, to create a lustrous and bouncy worsted spun yarn dyed in a beautifully muted pallette.
And finally Mota is the worsted weight (±5mm, 17-20sts/10cm) sibling of Cautiva, named after the place where the Wool Dreamers’ mill is located.
Patterns suited to Mota
Peninsular Vest by Ailbiona Ailbíona McLochlainn
With a textured nod to nautical motifs inspired by the donegal shoreline, this lovely new tank from Ailbíona is a perfect first cables project, with fabric thoughtfully and carefully designed around the twists.
Niji by Eri Shimizu
It’s the details we love most with the Niji sweater. Plain and embellished all at the same time: enchanting twists and delightful openings in the neck and hem line.
Patterns suited to Sheepsoft
Twinkle by Midori Hirose
It was those Charlie Brown zigzags that first grabbed me, but the fit is also worth a mention as Midori’s endlessly versatile shaping means you can make this one just as you like it, and perfect for playing with the Sheepsoft’s pallette of colours.
JP Cardigan by Ailbíona McLochlainn
Another Ailbíona design I couldn’t leave out: The JP is a cardigan that will go with everything, will suit everyone, and can be made by anyone who knows how to cast on and knit.
High Pines by Jared Flood
Because we’re hurtling into hat-wearing weather, and I know that not everyone who wants a beanie, wants it plain. Patterned with gansey-ish textures so it won’t ever get boring, and you can easilly lengthen the brim if you want a turn-up.
Patterns suited to Cautiva
Elena by Junko Okamoto
Yes it’s a lot of knitting. Yes, there are techniques you haven’t tried before, and yes, the construction is kind of wild. But this was one of the funnest knits I’ve ever made – an espisodic project for knitters who need things to change every once in a while.
Kumo by Eri Shimizu
The guage of the Kumo means you could choose any one of our 3 new yarns, but for my taste the beautiful shoulder detailing in the Kumo makes the lightness of the Cautiva a perfect choice.
Hood Scarf by Lili Tobias
This super simple all-weather balaclave-hood-scarf is made to measure for our ‘what-season-is-this-anyway?’ weather.