And this year they are co-ordinating with the well-known Campaign for Wool for a whole series of events with ideas on how you can make more of wool. There are links to current activities and photographs from shepherds raising sheep, shops selling wool yarn and crafters using 100% wool.
Today, I am going to feature the Rare Earth Rug and Rare Earth Cushions knitting patterns. These were inspired by the trees outside my studio window in New England the first winter we were living there. I had never experienced a winter in these northerly climes before and was amazed at how early in the season the first snowflakes started to fall.
Indeed the trees still had a wealth of colour in their branches when the first snows arrived, coating every limb with a dusting of white. It was truly magical.
Earlier that year I had purchased a wonderful "bicolour" fleece with shades of black and grey which seemed to echo the colours I was seeing outside. I separated out the colours and carded them separately, then blended them together with some bright white wool to give 5 different shades.
I then sat with my spinning wheel, cozily ensconced indoors while the snow continued to drift down. I wrapped a card with the patterning I had in my mind and compared it with the new vision from the window. Unfortunately, everything was now blanketed with snow! However, I still had the mental image of how it had been earlier.
I love the fact that you can get such a wonderful range of colours in wool without having to step near a dye‐pot! Not only does this make the whole spinning process simpler, but the yarn is so soft and warm without the addition of any chemicals or harsh treatment.
Now, of course, you don't have to do what I did and start with a fleece and a spinning wheel to make these items, as there are great resources available right in your local yarn store. Cascade 220 or Knit Picks Wool of the Andes are both excellent alternatives.
- Sheep were domesticated between 9,000 and 11,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, roughly where Iraq, Syria and Turkey are now.
- Wool can absorb nearly 30% of its weight in water, yet gives off heat when it dries – so hill walkers always prefer wearing woollen trousers to denim.
- Wool is also fire resistant, tending to smoulder or even go out in a fire.
If you would like more details of the Rare Earth Rug pattern please click here, and for the Rare Earth Cushions patterns then click here. Both are available for immediate download from the site.
Until next time ‐ enjoy working with wool!
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Many thanks to my husband Tim for the picture at the top of this blogpost, which shows sheep grazing in the Brecon Beacons in Wales. Please visit his Flickr page to see more of his pictures.