Shetland Heritage Yarn

This is for my knitting friends (or for anyone who just appreciates a beautiful ball of wool) … a new release of Shetland Heritage yarn by Jamieson & Smith.  Absolutely gorgeous!


J&S Shetland Heritage 2



These are in addition to a previous release last July, which …  “were inspired by traditional, hand spun and dyed yarns found in garments in the Shetland Museum and Archives textile collection. These were the first dyed yarns used in Fair Isle knitwear in Shetland and would have been made from whatever dyes were available to the people of the time, including madder root and indigo.” (copied from here).

Here’s a photo of the complete set and a link to Jamieson’s blog post from last year, announcing the first batch (is that the correct term :)?) of Shetland Heritage yarn.



JandS Shetland Heritage 01




Plockton, Glencoe and Hand dyed yarn

Marks and Spencer
Marks and Spencer


I am looking at the date and wondering how an entire week can have swept by and I haven’t blogged.  Thank you to everyone who has dropped by and I’m sorry it’s been a bit of a non-event here.

It was one of those weeks where we had household things that needed fixed, the dog needed the vet and so on and so on.  Ever so boring but all part of Life.


high tea


This will be one of my more random posts but I thought I would just mention a few things I have read this past week.  So, there have been a number of people who have been writing and saying that Plockton is absolutely beautiful.  I had to look it up and I am still a tad confused as to its whereabouts but it looks like it is near Skye.  Can anyone enlighten me?  Is it really as nice as people have been saying? Oh, and the website says “Hamish Macbeth” was filmed there.


If you have seen Skyfall, you may be interested in the NTS site at Glencoe.  This is from their website:

Skyfall Exhibition – Behind the Scenes at Glencoe

Dates between : Thu 28 Feb – Sun 30 Jun 

A behind the scenes glimpse of Glencoe’s starring role in the latest Bond movie Skyfall.  

A new exhibition at the National Trust for Scotland’s Glencoe Visitor Centre gives a behind the scenes glimpse of Glencoe’s starring role in the latest Bond movie Skyfall. Key scenes in the box office smash hit were filmed on land owned and cared for by the conservation charity.

For information on times and dates, have a peek at the website.


And finally … if you are interested in hand dyeing of yarn, there is a wonderful post on the Edinburgh Yarn Festival blog about Helen who lives in Assynt.  Here is where you can find her yarn for sale.



New Lanark Wool Shop

The rattle and noise of a 392 spindle, 120 foot long, 19th century, spinning mule making 4 passes every minute can be heard on the main mill floor at New Lanark.  Within this famous tourist attraction, there is a specialist wool and yarn production unit showcasing how wool is refined and created.  Almost every stage of the yarn production (from blending to twisting) is open for the public to view.

New Lanark produces organically certified yarns with minimal impact on the environment.  The site was originally powered by water with a dozen water wheels and now they have one 24 foot water wheel on exhibition and the water from the River Clyde is used to generate hydro-electricity.  The hydro-electricity is used to power the mill, which has won two Gold Awards from the Green Tourism Business Scheme operated by Visit Scotland.

The yarns come in three ranges:  Donegal Silk Tweed (90% wool and 10% silk);  Heather Mixtures (100% wool, reflecting the colours of the Scottish countryside); Natural Blend (100%  pure wool and made from Merino and Zwarble undyed wool). Variations of the undyed wool are mixed together to create the different colors of the pure, unprocessed yarn.

If you’d like to buy some wool, you can buy it online or in person at the shop.

(these are double knitting – bramble, swinford).

(these are aran 100% pure wool – iris, sandstone).

(chunky 100% pure wool – heather; aran 100% pure wool – aviemore)

(chunky organic wool from Falkland Islands)

(a swatch of the different wool colors)

If you’re interested in getting some patterns, there are a few to choose from including this Celtic scarf:

In the shop at New Lanark, you can also buy blankets, scarves and pick up some learning resources about the site.  If you would like more information on Robert Owen and village life at New Lanark,  I have written a previous post last year.  (all the information and photos here have been taken from the website for the New Lanark Online Shop).


Helen Lockhart

I have been wanting to do a really colorful blog.  The trees are still vibrant in color but the weather is changing and the rain is beginning to break the leaves off the trees.  We are getting into that November time which is just a bit more gloomy and the vibrant foliage from the trees is fading or landing on the ground.  With that in mind, I found this delightful yarn site.  I dug out my own knitting out last night and have enjoyed having the fire on and sitting beside it with my wool and knitting needles.  I’m not making anything profound but I found this absolutely marvellous wool a while back and it seems a sacrilege to have it sitting there in its brown paper bag still as a skein.  As you can see by the picture, I have made a stunning purple scarf and will now endeavour to make the same thing in green.  I amaze myself.

In comparison to my feeble efforts with this fantastic yarn, Helen Lockhart of the Highlands creates some really beautiful yarn and knitting kits.  Helen is a dyer of wool and provides her yarn to Scotland and beyond to Canada, Australia, Finland, Spain, Denmark, the USA, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa.  Fine luxurious alpaca/silk/cashmere laceweight yarn, 4ply wool/nylon sock yarn and UK sourced bluefaced leicester double knitting yarn are among some of her products, in a variety of  weights and bases.

Helen uses the web as a marketing tool.  ‘The website is my main route to market, that’s how retailers find me,’ she says.  Shops in England and Scotland sell her wool and knitting kits for socks, shawls or a hat and gloves.  Her kits are small and come with everything needed to complete a project.



Helen’s business is called Ripples Crafts and has been around since 2008.  She began by selling only from her online blog and at local craft fairs but she decided to expand the business by setting up online as well.

Her creativity is inspired by the views she sees daily from her house in the Highlands.  Helen says “The natural beauty of the area makes it very easy to be inspired. I am constantly being asked by my customers about my life in the Highlands and so I keep an online blog to keep them up to date with life this remote part of the country. It helps customers understand the inspiration behind some of the colours I use.”

“Taking the step of moving to a very rural and remote area meant taking a leap of faith, and we had to come up with a way of making a living. I found I was thoroughly enjoying dyeing yarn, and when selling the yarn at shows I was getting great feedback from people who seemed to love the colours. That’s when I realised it would make the perfect business for me.”  She also says, ‘This one is a mix of summer sky blues, this one is a winter fireside, this is the golden colour the bracken turns just before it goes brown.’

These two hand dyed yarns shown above are for making socks … absolutely fabulous!  Who wouldn’t want a pair of socks knit with this wool? 

Her beautiful work even inspires people to come to Scotland to drop by and see her in Assynt where she lives.   ‘I had someone knock on the door to show me the socks she had made’, says Helen, ‘and one of the members of my yarn club now books a holiday home here for three weeks of year and comes to watch me dyeing!’

It’s not that easy to find Helen’s house.  It is so off the grid that all their electricity comes from solar panels and a small wind-power generator.  She makes her dyes on a small gas stove and the yarn dries naturally.  ‘I use acid dyes, based on citric acid, the stuff used to make bath bombs, nothing at all fearsome.’ 

This low-footprint approach has a big effect on her colours. ‘A lot of dyers use microwaves, but I mostly use immersion dying. The yarns are in water for at least 20 minutes so the colours can get very intense. Alternatively, I soak the wool to open up the fibres and then use dry powders that spread in unpredictable ways, so the colours can be completely different for each hank.’

I leave you with a picture of Helen’s landscape-inspired yarn aptly named “Heather”.

If you live in the Edinburgh area, Helen will be hosting a workshop in November at the K1 Yarns Knitting Boutique

Beginners Cable Workshop, Friday 19 November. £34.99

Cabled hats, scarves and jumpers are the height of fashion! If you have never tried knitting cables then this workshop will get you started and show you just how easy it is! This workshop is suitable for knitters who have basic skills. If you can cast on, knit, purl and cast off then this workshop is suitable for you! You will be taught a variety of knitted cable techniques and the needles and wool are included in the workshop price!

89 West Bow, Edinburgh EH1 2JP – tel: 0131 226 7472