John and Juliet from The Border Mill, who once again spun the yarn, very kindly took a wee detour on their holiday to personally deliver the boxes containing this latest batch.

The yarns in this batch (Batch III) come from two local crofts, both of which I have talked about before and you can read more about them here (Fearniewell Croft and Orrinside Flock).  I am really enjoying entering my second year of Black Isle Yarns and building relationships with the people whose sheep grow such glorious wool – visiting the same flocks at different times of year, seeing lambs grow and anticipating their fleece being available at the next clip is very rewarding.

Once again Jane’s very eclectic Orrinside Flock has produced some special fleeces. Batch III includes two new yarns from this summer’s clip (and there’s more to come in Batch IV).  Jane has been really enthusiastic about seeing her flock’s wool turned into yarn and I think this is influencing her choices when she’s thinking about buying new stock.  Earlier this year I had an excited message telling me that she had bought a couple of Cotswold ewes and a Wensleydale tup………..and, now, here is their wool spun up as yarn!

The first yarn is a beautiful longwool blend of 2/3 Cotswold and 1/3 Wensleydale – it is drapey, lustrous and has a wonderful halo (and is approximately 4 ply). I have really been enjoying dyeing with it – the colours are stunning!

Cotswold Wensleydale Blend

The next yarn is a real mix and will have to be referred to as Cross-breed Blend for simplicity.  It is a blend of three cross-breed ewe fleeces – Bluefaced Leicester and Cheviot, Lincoln and Cheviot, and Lincoln and Hampshire. The fleeces were all lovely and I felt they would blend well together – the resulting yarn picks up drape and sheen from the longwool ancestry, softness from the Hampshire genes and a bounce and lightness from the Cheviot influence. It is approximately DK weight and is going to be so good to knit with.
Cross-breed Blend
Dan and Rachel of Fearniewell Croft were the first people I contacted about buying wool last year.   They have a lovely Gotland-ish flock (‘ish’ because have some Shetland genes and aren’t quite pure Gotland).  I have been eagerly anticipating this year’s clip and I am delighted that I was able to select a few more fleeces this year, so there’s a bit more Gotland-ish available this time round. I haven’t yet wound any of it off the cones as there will be a special colour-work pattern coming soon, developed especially for this yarn.  I don’t want to start winding skeins until I know how much of each shade will be required by the pattern, but it won’t all go into kits so there will also be the usual 100g skeins for your own projects.
Gotland Charcoal, Grey, Silver and White small Gotland Shades
I really want to make sure that a good amount of Batch III is available online for those that can’t make it to the shows I’ll be attending this autumn………I suspect they will be snapped up pretty quickly when seen in person.  I have naturally dyed a fair amount both the Longwool and Cross-breed Blends this week and am planning to have them ready in the shop by tomorrow evening at 7pm (Friday 29 September 7pm UK time).  There won’t be much chance for previewing this time I’m afraid – they’re still hanging out on the line drying at the moment so I won’t be be photographing and listing in the shop until tomorrow! I’m hoping for another shop update later in October.

I snaffled one of the Longwool Blend skeins to knit a Lode Shawl (pattern by Clare Devine).  I’m only in the early stages but am loving knitting with the wool and thoroughly enjoying the pattern.

Lode Shawl in Longwool Blend small

Thank you so much for your support for the naturally dyed Cheviot which went into the shop at the beginning of this month – it nearly all sold within 24 hours!  I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate your interest in Black Isle Yarns.

 

Save

Introducing our Autumn 2016 batch of Gotland yarns:

Gotland is an uncommon breed here in Britain with only around 1500 in the country altogether. They are an old breed of sheep having been developed on the Swedish island of Gotland over 1000 years ago.  Fearniewell Croft’s Gotlands have a ‘hint of Shetland’ thanks to a determined tup a few generations ago (link).  Thanks to this adventurous tup the normal range of Gotland greys is increased to include paler greys and a creamy white. The wool is typically soft and warm with a slight sheen and the addition of the Shetland genes, although perhaps reducing the lustre slightly, can be felt in the lovely soft handle of this beautiful wool. The 2016 clip from this special flock has been split into five colours – Dark Grey, Mid Grey, Light Grey, Silver Grey and White.

Save

I have been keen to try both Shilasdair’s naturally dyed yarns and Chopped Ginger Wool Project single farm Gotland for a while now.  When Helen Stewart released her Hill Top Shawl in the spring I thought it would be the perfect pattern for combining these two quite different yarns.  The pattern was straightforward to knit and I liked Helen’s percentage system – at the end of each row you know how far through the whole project you are……I guess it could be demoralising but I liked it!

hilltop-shawl-undyed-gotland-and-naturally-dyed-tansy

tansy-hilltop-shawl  hilltop-shawl-on-monterey-pine hilltop-shawl-in-gotland hilltop-shawl-by-curious-handmade grellow-tansy-yellow-and-undyed-grey gotland-shawl-drape

The Shilasdair DK in naturally dyed Tansy Gold (dyed with tansy unsurprisingly!) is soft, plump and light (a luxurious mix of alpaca, camel, angora and lambswool) while the Chopped Ginger Gotland Fingering is a much more lean and heavy yarn (in a natural undyed dark grey).  Both yarns were lovely to knit with in different ways – the Gotland has lots of character but did require some concentration at times. I absolutely love my finished shawl and am sure I’ll have many happy years wearing it.

Full project notes can be found here on Ravelry

 

Save

Knowing that I would be struggling for time to knit up samples before attending Loch Ness Knit Fest (30 Sept to 2 Oct 2016) I asked mum to knit a Granny’s Favourite Cardigan in my Autumn 2016 batch of Gotland yarn.  Grannie (to my children) has knit this lovely pattern several times for my girls and was happy to help by knitting another.

black-isle-yarns-dk-gotland-in-light-grey grannys-favourite-baby-cardigan-in-black-isle-yarns grannys-favourite-cardigan-gotland-light-grey grannys-favourite-cardigan-in-black-isle-yarns-gotland-dk

She reported that the Light Grey Gotland was lovely to knit with – it is soft and light, as you’d expect from Gotland, and would be so lovely for a baby……..but I’m keeping this one as a sample (sadly, no babies more planned around here!).  If you want to see one of the cutest ever knits come along to my next fair for a wee squish of this lovely little cardigan!

Yarn Details: Black Isle Yarns Gotland

Colour: Light Grey (undyed)

Metres/100g skein: 215m/100g approx.

Weight: DK

Pattern: Granny’s Favourite by Georgie Nicolson

Full project notes can be found here on Ravelry