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Episode 123: Hebridean Charm

Well, it’s been quite a while since we sat down together for a new episode!

A disclaimer:  I found it really hard to record this. My heart was not fully in it when I sat down to write words and then record them and I didn’t have my usual mic set up. I enjoyed recording the wool exploration but then I became disheartened again when it came to editing. Its taken a while to get something to put out there.  I hope you will forgive any faltering and the fact that there is no music this time, and that you find what is there distracting, if not as enjoyable as a “usual” episode – whatever that is!


A heck of a lot has been going on since the last episode, way back in December. We moved flat and that was not something we wanted to do…and our new flat has revealed a few horrors which have lead us to decide that we will move again, when we can. I’m not going into that – its not ideal, but its fine. But- slightly more pressingly – the world seems a very different place since the last time I podcast. COVID19 is sweeping about and turning life as we know it upside down. Lots of us are working from home, some of us don’t know whats happening with our jobs, with our childcare, with family and friends. People are unwell, or could potentially become unwell. Social distancing, self  isolation, shielding!  It is – quite frankly- horrific.

I don’t have anything cheering to say other than, let’s grab a WIP, grab a drink and for a wee while, let’s distract ourselves with wool. Read More

WoolWork Rewind: Episode 30 – Jamieson’s of Shetland

Hello listeners,

While I’m on this enforced hiatus, I thought it would be nice to dip into the back catalogue and re-issue a few older episodes. I asked on my instagram stories, which episodes folks would like to hear again and this was one of the episodes which was suggested.  I am delighted to bring it to you once more and I hope you enjoy it.

There will be new episodes of WoolWork at some point soon, but there has been another curve of the curveball for us, off-mic, and things other than this podcast take priority.  I still have to do the prize draw for the Tin Can Knits along (I don’t know where the prizes are at the moment, post move) but have patience and it will all come in good time. Similarly, Wool Explorers – keep  on exploring with your Hebridean, Zwartbles, Whiteface Woodland and Shropshire – they still have a starring role this year on the podcast -but think of this as more exploration time!

Take good care

L x

This episode of the podcast was first released in May 2015, when the podcast was still known as KnitBritish. At the time of recording, all information was correct. Please understand that some of this information may have changed now.

Very sadly, in 2018 Lizzie Simmons died. I will always remember her with a massive smile on her face and ready to share a laugh. She was incredibly passionate about Shetland wool and textiles and someone you could lose hours with , just sheeksin’  about wool and making!

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Original show notes, May 2015

In this special episode I go to Jamieson’s of Shetland to their newly refurbished Lerwick store, to chat with owner Garry Jamieson and Lizzie Ratter, who oversees the running of the Lerwick shop.

Jamieson’s of Shetland (different to and separate from Jamieson and Smith, (but just as woolly!)) have been a family-run business specialising in Shetland wool for over five generations. The business was started in the 1890s in Sandness, Shetland, when Robert Jamieson bought and sold knitwear in his shop. Robert’s son, Andrew, began a wool brokers and shipped the clip to the mainland to be processed. The business was expanded in the 50s to incorporate a retail shop and the knitwear business. In the late 70s it was Garry’s grandfather, Bertie, and father, Peter, who took on the challenge of setting up Shetland’s only commercial woollen mill and for the first time 100% Shetland wool yarn was produced in Shetland.  Read More

Episode 122- Festive, with air quotes

There is some kind of festive holiday afoot – not sure what that is, but if you would like a break away settle in a while with me –  Wool Phasers are set to the ‘comfy n cozy’ setting.


Also available on Spotify, iTunes and wherever you find your podcasts!

n.b. I’ve split wool exploration across the episode as it is a lot to get through in one sitting. For the ease of writing shownotes, I’ve just included a short summary section. Please note that the shownotes does not reflect the running order of the podcast. (Though I’m not sure it always does, anyway!)

Also, last episode I mentioned that I would have Zoe Fletcher’s talk from the day at Fine Fettle Fibres, but Wool Exploration has taken up all the bandwidth for this ep, so that will appear in January. Sorry about that.

| Importance of self-keeping

We can take a mental and physical battering at any time of year, but this time of year particularly. Add to that, that here in the UK we’ve just had a catastrophic (IMHO) election result. Feelings of anxiety, grief and terror are abounding. The UK has been under conservative rule for 9 years and – like the last time they had a strong hold – there has been (i use it again) catastrophic effects to people and to services.  Austerity is crippling people.  Did you know over 2000 foodbanks have been established since the Tories came to power? How many more people will be pushed to poverty as they continue to be in power? Racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, Homophobia and Transphobia are clearly at home in the corridors or power and are leaching further out and higher into society. I could go on about the damage done to our National Health Service, or the damage they’ve caused since the EU Referendum and continued blunders through the Brexit omnishambles.  I feel, like many people do, despondent and despairing. (If that poor excuse of a US president and the poor excuse for a UK Prime Minister get left alone in a room together I fear EVEN more. )  – please know if you feel like this too I am sending a massive hug of solidarity. Read More

Episode 121 – A kind of magic

Hello wool pals, settle in – there is a lot of woolly magic to get through in this episode!

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Also available on Spotify, iTunes and wherever you find your podcasts!

| Wool Exploration 2020

We will definitely be continuing with Wool Exploration next year. There will be slightly fewer breeds in 2020. I will try and do a blog or forum post about this before the end of the year – and there is no schedule at the moment – but I can reveal that we will be looking at : Read More

WoolWork Tin Can Knits-along: Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes…and hands!

Do you need more inspiration for the Tin Can Knits-along? I’ve got some for you right here and who knows how many you may be able to make during our winter KAL (1 Dec-14 Feb)

I’ve knit and re-knit quite a lot of TCK accessories, and here are the ones calling out to me for this KAL, as well as the ones which are calling out to me again.

All images (unless otherwise noted) belong to Tin Can Knits and are used with kind permission. 

| Heads

I made Loch from Handmade in the UK and I gave it away as a present – what a fool! haha! It was in Ripples Craft Sport and I really need to make it again – there are matching mittens too!

Mountain Mist appears in Strange Brew and I think this would be beautiful in natural colours – but you could go mad, couldn’t you? Make them for all the family in their favourite shades.

Read More

WoolWork Tin Can Knits-along: Sweaters

This is the first of my “ooh what will we make?” posts for the upcoming Tin Can Knits-along, which we cast on for on 1st December, 2019.

I think the sweater category is a good place to start, it is certainly where I started –  I made a wee snowflake sweater for a new baby and that was it -I was hooked!

After knitting quite a few wee TCK sweaters I made a Lush cardigan. It was the first time I read a sweater pattern and was heartened by the layout and the brevity of the pattern – simple terms and clear instructions. Whether a new or experienced knitter, those aspects are really appreciated!

This sweater, sadly, ended up in a hot wash, however every single time I think about it, or I see these pictures – I just feel like doing an enormous air punch! I loved the wool I used; I loved the fit and further I felt empowered by the designers! They seemed to know what I wanted to knit, the sort of garment that would look good on a range of sizes (From newborn to 4XL) and the sort of make that would hold my interest. I don’t think I’m alone in those feelings. These have come to be the feelings that I have about all the TCK designs I make.

So, my friends, if a sweater is on the agenda for the Tin Can Knits-alomg – which one (or ones) will you make? From lace, to cables, to colourwork – there is something for everyone. Shall we start with the Simple Collection?

All images are by Tin Can Knits and used with kind permission

Flax,Flax Light and Harvest  are free patterns, which were brought out to celebrate the joy of learning to knit and new techniques and (as with most of Emily and Alexa’s designs) you will find great material on their website with accompanying information and tutorials. These are seamless knits in aran/worsted yarns (with the exception of Flax light, which is 4ply)

| Is lace your thing? 

I’ve already mentioned Lush and Snowflake. I have a real soft spot for how Tin Can Knits let the beauty of lace take centre stage in their designs. Chromatic , appears in the bold and zingy book, Mad Colour. You could have a lot of fun combining colours for this fingering sweater. Prairie Fire has been on my queue for a while – another example of showcasing lace in a different way. You need DK for this one – I imagine a beautiful Blue Face Leicester would be so snuggly.

Love Note and Penny  are two recent releases and I think these would be great picks for those who like to mix it up in terms of lengt/fit, as well as in terms of materials. Love Note can be knit with a strand of mohair – although I think that a fine Wensleydale laceweight would also be extraordinary!

| Cables and Texture more your bag?

How about some tactile, textural sweaters? Wenlock originally appeared in Pom Pom Quarterly, then in Mad Colour. I adore daisy stitch, and love the use of colour in this yoke. Ironheart was designed for the Heart on my Sleeve collaboration for and features a beautiful botanical design. Antler is a real favourite – that cabled yoke! and Caribou – a cabled cousin to the Lush design.

| Colourwork A-plenty

If you want to knit a colour work sweater in this KAL, well…just roll on up, as there is so much to choose from. From allover colourwork in Cartography to incredible yoke design features,  Strange Brew  is going to be the main text for your TCK colourwork needs. It also includes a recipe for you to create your own custom colourwork sweaters.

You will also find beauties such as the Clayoquot cardigan and Spotlight yoke in TCK design repertoire.

Appetite whetted?

What do you think, will you be casting on a sweater in the Tin Can Knits-along this winter?

I dunno about you, but I now feel so cosy after writing this!

WoolWork KAL – A Tin Can Knits-along

You may have heard on the newest episode that we’re having a KAL!

It’s been a little while since we had a KAL (#WoolExploration and #GoodIntentions are, but also different!)  and what better way to celebrate the name change than a new knitalong?!

For a really long time I’ve fancied doing a Tin Can Knits KAL, so this winter we’re gonna do it!

If you aren’t aware, Tin Can Knits are friends and ace design team Emily Wessell and Alexa Ludeman. They are both from Canada, but Emily lives over on this side of the pond. The very fact that they work as a team and create together from across the miles blows my mind.  The other thing that impresses me and makes me love everything they create, is that all garments are from baby to adult and their patterns are always clear, simple, with the minimum fuss upon the page and beautiful photography. Further, they have incredible tutorials, help and advice over on their blog.

I’ve made quite a few TCK projects over the years and you will have heard me say all that stuff on the podcast and blog before, so it is quite ridiculous that I haven’t done a fully-fledged, Tin Can Knits-along before now.

The last couple of my -alongs have been focused on wool and also natures shades and the emphasis has been on making absolutely any pattern, by any designer. I’ve always liked to keep my knit-alongs as open and welcoming as possible, so that anyone can feel that they can come in and make pretty much anything they like. It makes Tin Can Knits the perfect choice because they have so many incredible designs, for all abilities and skills.

all images are copyright of Tin Can Knits

As well as liking to give a really wide choice of items to make for my KALS, I’ve always preferred to do two or three other things; a nice long lead up to the start date; no need to sign up anywhere (although Ravelry is great, we’re not all on it); and a nice loooong time to complete the item (or items!).

We will be casting on on Sunday, 1st December 2019.

You can make as many Tin Can Knits projects, from any of their books or single patterns as you like, in any material you like *

The cast off date will be 14th, February, 2020!

| What can I knit? 

Well, as already mentioned, you can knit any of the designs by Tin Can Knits! I think the beauty of this KAL is that most of you probably have at  least one of their patterns in your library (it appears I have 96!), but they also have their Simple Collection, which features 12 free patterns, from socks to hats and everything in between!

If you are in need of some pattern inspiration though, there is LOTS on their website and blog and they even have patterns grouped in the following categories

What do you think – are you in?  I’ve made and remade a fair few Tin Can Knits patterns over the years myself and I’m really looking forward to planning what to make (or remake) next!

Get yourself over to the WoolWork Ravelry group and let us know if you plan to participate and what you might make!


*  You don’t have to use British wool for this KAL, in fact you don’t have to use wool, you can use whatever you like… but you are encouraged to find your local wool and use it – whatever local may be to you (grown, spun or dyed). There will be prizes for this KAL , which I will mention in good time (cos its not about the prizes, its about the making) however, there will be prizes for items which have used local wool, for those intrepid local wool advocates!

Episode 120 – something new

 Hello and welcome in to episode 120 of the podcast – relaunching after my summer hiatus with a new name – welcome to WoolWork.

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Also available on Spotify, iTunes and wherever you find your podcasts!

| A New Name

MOONCHIIIILLDD! …   sorry, small never-ending story ref there!

Hello to the new name for the podcast! The logo and name should have change across all podcatchers. The Ravelry group names has changed and so have my social media handles. The website will take a wee bit longer to change.

If you need to know the reasons why I’ve changed the name, I suggest having a listen to Episode 119. I don’t mean to neglect anything that KnitBritish has done, stood for or created/enabled,or take away what it means, but this name change has definitely grown from my journey with KnitBritish and WoolWork speaks on a level that I think includes more people. I will still only be buying British and local wool and I will still be talking about it – that’s still my journey! But I need to speak more to the skills, valuable knowledge and artistry in our own hands and the wool world at large.  Read More