Hello and a very (belated) Happy New Year!  I do hope 2017 is a wonderful one for you. Mine, so far, has been very busy and very exciting…….I guess that counts as a pretty good start!


I’m a little nervous to tell you this (but really there was no point in having done it if I don’t) – I am on the latest Knit British podcast, out this morning!  I feel incredibly honoured to have been interviewed by Louise especially since it is her wonderful work in promoting British wool that sowed the seeds of my idea for Black Isle Yarns.  I have no idea if I’ll sound daft or make any sense but hopefully there’ll be some chat about how I came to be making yarns that is of interest – and Louise is always fabulous to listen to.  I believe there’s going to be an interview with Joy, The Knitting Goddess, too.  She has been doing some wonderful work in producing local wool for her dye pot.

Here is the link to the podcast, episode 75!

Indigo dyed gradient set

I have a small shop update going live tonight too (Friday 27th January at 7.30pm UK time) – there’s several mini skein gradient sets in 5 shades of indigo.  I really enjoyed bundling up the sets with one mini skein of each shade (100g in total).  I can’t wait to see what you use them for!

I also overdyed skeins which had been previously dyed with madder and cutch. The resulting colour is a stunning warm steely grey with splashes of cochineal pink.  I will have a hard time parting with these and am sure there will be more along the same lines in future.

Warm steel grey - madder and cutch overdyed with indigo (splashes of cochineal)

The final bit of news I wanted to share is that I dropped off the next load of fleeces at The Border Mill earlier this month.  I was down in Edinburgh anyhow, not far from Duns where the mill is based, so took the opportunity to deliver the fleeces at the same time.  They won’t be looked at for another couple of weeks yet but I much prefer to keep the carbon miles as low as possible.

I have some exciting plans for this batch.  My plans and the final outcome will be reconsidered once John and Juliet have had a chance to wash and sort the fleece – at that stage we can have a really good chat about what will suit each grouping of fleeces best.  I’ll keep you updated as things progress though I may not reveal the final plans for a while yet.  All is still on track to be available by mid-March.

fleece collage for instagram

If you’re keen to be the first to know about future shop updates and other news do join my newsletter (find it at the bottom of the home page – here) – I sent one out last night and plan to always do so before new batches go live.  I keep my instagram feed fairly up-to-date too and love hearing from and interacting with people over there……if you fancy some more behind the scenes information and photos that’s probably the best place to head.  I do like to share photos of the beautiful Scottish Highlands as well as my crafty endeavours!





I’ve recently finished this second sample in my Autumn 2016 Zwartbles~Alpaca Blend.  I wanted to knit a shawl that showed off the beauty of this yarn – it’s squishiness and texture – and settled on a simple triangular kerchief design (the Romney Kerchief by Jared Flood).



The pattern itself is simple and straight-forward and I enjoyed adapting it slightly.  I used a garter tab cast-on rather than the pattern’s provisional cast-on and then played around with the bottom edge using some stunning Shilasdair scraps in vibrant pink and yellow.  As ever I do love Shilasdair (the colours achieved by natural dyeing are so stunning) and was very pleased to use almost every last bit of these two small scraps………my stripes weren’t quite to plan as I had so little to work with but I’m happy with the outcome and with having made best use of what I had to hand.  The Shilasdair is 4 Ply and was held double.  This was my first time using a sewn bind-off – it looks great but I did find it slightly tedious!

Yarn Details: Black Isle Yarns Zwartbles~Alpaca Blend

Colour: Toffee Fudge (undyed)

Metres/100g skein: 160m/100g approx.

Weight: DK

Pattern: Romney Kerchief by Jared Flood

Full project notes can be found here on Ravelry



I chose a favourite hat pattern for this sample using the Autumn 2016 Zwartbles~Alpaca Blend – the pattern is Reminisce by Libby Jonson of Truly Myrtle.  I’m not one for anything too fussy and this hats fits that bill perfectly, a little detail to stop it being boring but nothing over-the-top.

The Zwartbles~Alpaca is lovely to knit with and results in a very squishy and cosy hat.  I had intended it to be kept purely as a sample for shows and so on however I have been wearing it quite regularly this winter as it is so cosy!

This photo best shows the warm Toffee Fudge colour of this yarn


Yarn Details: Black Isle Yarns Zwartbles~Alpaca Blend

Colour: Toffee Fudge (undyed)

Metres/100g skein: 160m/100g approx.

Weight: DK

Pattern: Reminisce Hat by Truly Myrtle

Full project notes can be found here on Ravelry