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episode 90 – wool geekery

DSC_1047_DK__1200px.jpg July 29, 2017 162 KB 1200 × 799 Edit Image Delete Permanently

(image: Copyright Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop)

Today we have a chat with our Woolly Mucker Mazzy Fautley and I have an interview with designer Francesca Hughes.

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Woolly Mucker

Our mucker this month is the wonderful Mazzy Fautley, aka MazKnitter on Ravelry.
Mazzy describes herself as a keen allotment gardener with caffeine and yarn addictions! Currently she is knitting a Williams Gansey, as part of a fascinating project that you can hear a bit more about in the show, when I chat with Mazzy. Thank you for supporting KnitBritish!

| Shownotes

Today I’m talking to two awesome women, so make pot of tea, or coffee (or cocktail!) and join us for a chat!

Thank you, thank you, a million times for your comments, emails and chat back about the Uist episodes. I know I kept you waiting a good long while for them, but I am so chuffed to hear how much you enjoyed them. I really loved being there and had a ball. And yes, as one of you commented, when Dana suggested having residencies in Uist Wool, maybe there *could* be a podcaster-in-residence! What do you think Dana? Hazel? Guys? !

In addition to them having been so generous with their time and knowledge while I was there, they are extending their generosity to you with a 10% discount on online sales! Use code knitbritish89 at the checkout and you should make use of that before 31st August. Thank you so much, Uist Wool!

New Design from Clare Devine

I’ve been totally inspired to knit and buy all the things recently, but gave in this week when Clare Devine released the Lode shawl – I even took myself off to Ginger Twist Studio, to partake of some of Jess’s Masham Mayhem 4ply for the job! It’s purely fantasy knitting just now, but we all have goals, right?!

Lonk Yarn from Susan Crawford

Susan Crawford will soon be releasing a yarn which is incredibly local to her. The Lonk is a Lancashire breed of sheep and she has found flocks incredibly near to her, in the Lune Valley. This is not a breed you often see in knitting yarn any more, so I’m sure it will be special. Even more special is that Susan has commissioned 4 UK hand-dyers to create one-off colourways for a special shawl kit, proceeds from which will go to Cancer Care, a charity so important to Susan. Follow Susan on social media, or sign up to her newsletter to be kept up to date! 

I've been desperate to share a glimpse with you of my exclusive yarn that four of the best hand dyers in existence have been working their magic on, and today my resolve finally cracked when a box containing this loveliness arrived and I just had to start revealing this stunning, beautiful 100% British single hill breed, one farm lancashire wool from the hill facing our farmhouse. I cannot believe how amazing this yarn is, it's hard to believe it's a British hill breed sheep. I'll reveal more of the story behind it over the next few weeks but you may remember I sent a big blue bale of this precious fleece off to be processed while I was still very ill so it would be ready to mark the anniversary of my diagnosis? Well we're nearly at the anniversary and the yarn and the equally special kit are nearly ready. And I am sooooo excited. Can you tell? So what breed of sheep is this I hear you ask. It is 100% first shear Lonk 2016 clip, all from one flock who live on the moor facing Monkley Ghyll. I've so much more to tell you but right now I'm going to go and fondle my yarn 🙂 #monkleyghyll #growyourown #smallholding #slowliving #homestead #fleece #fleecetoneedle #wool #onefarmyarn #yarn #sheep #slowfashion #sustainable #lancashire #lonk #provenance #fuckcancer

A post shared by Susan Crawford (@susancrawfordvintage) on

Meet our Woolly Mucker

It was awesome to chat with our Woolly Mucker recently. I’ve known Mazzy via Twitter for a wee while now, so it was lovely to chat to her for the first time.  As Mazzy was rained off from her allotment, it was a good chance to sit down and ask  her our Woolly Mucker Questionnaire.

The questions are; What was the first thing you remember knitting and the last thing you cast off?
Which yarn and pattern (not necessarily used together) would you want to pass on for others to try and why are they so special?

Mazzy tells us about her seamed intarsia socks, which were the first project she really wanted to make for herself.

When it comes to the second question, Mazzy confesses that she selfishly wants to keep the yarn and pattern for herself and has transported the question to being Desert Island luxuries. It is a toss up between Jamiesons Spindrift (for a cold deserted island) or Blacker Lyonesse (for warmer climes) and pattern she would choose (for the various colour combos of all those yarns) would be Crazy Stripes Tee, by Atelier Alfa (Maz knitted one for the Natures Shadesalong)

Mazzy’s current WIP sound really exciting too. She is knitting a gansey for the Blyth Tall Ship Project. The project leaders have researched the background of the gansey and have developed a pattern specifically designed for the crew of the tall ship, who are undertaking a historic voyage to Antarctica in 2019. See this link for more info on the gansey project.

It was so lovely chatting with Mazzy and I know lots of you listeners will love hearing from her too!  Thank you so much, Mazzy, for supporting our show.

| Frankie Hughes

I’ve long wanted to chat to Francesca Hughes for KnitBritish – many of you will know her from her work at John Arbon and Frankie is also an incredible designer. Her work has graced the cover of Pom Pom quarterly and Knitting magazine.

(roll over image for credits) Pattern links: Sweet Clementine; Jamboree; Lime Bitters; Velamo; Hebridean sweater; Lemel; Devonia Cream and Ormiston

Frankie talks a bit about her background, her early knitting designs, in acrylic, for her school friends and we get pretty geeky about wool too.

It was while at Unravel, in 2011, that knitting degree student Frankie approached a stall with rainbow gradient yarns and a man in an Hawaiian shirt to ask for work experience! From there she was on a journey of discovery, feeding the need to kn ow more about wool and fibre and getting an in-depth knowledge of what goes into making awesome yarn.  Since working with John Arbon, Frankie has definitely found a few firm favourites of the yarns that are created there and she has designed in them too. When I chatted with her she was resplendent in one of her recent designs, Devonia Cream (not that you can see, but I could!) knitted in the newest yarn range from John Arbon. It was in the British issue of Knitting Magazine (I was in there too!).

Inspired by colour and texture (from rubbley walls to old buckets in fields) in her design, Frankie loves taking on the challenge of new techniques too. Quite excitingly, she reveals that she is currently working on a book of designs in the new Devonia yarn range. We can expect more exploration in colour, and that vintage feel with a real Twenties focus when that comes out next year (hands up, who else is excited about that!)

It was just lovely chatting with Frankie, I hope you enjoy joining us and I’m sorrynotsorry if your ravelry queues and yarn wishlists are now teeming!

Some of the yarns Frankie and I mention!

Links: Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop, Devonia, Zwartbles and Exmoor, Daughter of a Shepherd and Little Grey Sheep Gotland

STOP PRESS! Frankie mentioned a couple of forthcoming designs and two of these were released this week in the Fell Garth II Collection, by The Fibre Co,

| Next Time

I’m taking a few weeks holiday from the podcast! See you at the end of the month and, as ever, thank you for listening. If you would like more people to know about the podcast please consider giving it a wee review on iTunes. Some podcatchers don’t show episode details, but they often show the itunes reviews, so that may be one of the ways new listeners come to the show.  I don’t usually ask for reviews, but I’m always so grateful for the time you take to do it and share the podcast with others. Thank you so mu

| Information

Music: Carefree by Kevin McLeod and Singin’ in The Rain (demo) by David Mumford – Both are on FreeMusicArchive and are both shared under Creative Commons Attribution license. Images are copyright to those attributed in the caption or in the accompanying information. Other images are mine.


  1. Annie says

    Feel a bit of a fraudster coming here and reading your glorious blog because I’m just a wee knitting Nana from the East Coast (of Scotland) and my skills were taught to me by my Nana and my Maw so a bit of knit and purl, some Aran and a little Fair Isle are as far as my skills go (I can crochet too!) so it’s great to see what you Young Guns can achieve with the same basic but finely-tuned skills, for which you would probably be eligible for a degree if they taught knitting at Uni! Thank you for the discount code too. I’m challenging myself to knit one of the lovely sweaters from Uist Wool for my sister’s special birthday in December.

    • louise says

      hee hee! thanks Annie but you need to listen and read more cos you will hear me say very regularly that knitting is all about knits & purls and if you can do that, you can do anything. If you only ever make garter squares, you are as expert as the knitter who makes the finest lace.

      and almost two thirds of knitbritish listeners are in the 40 – 65 age bracket (me too, nearly)
      so all ages welcome here. Enjoy your Uist Wool and please keep listening!

      • Jenny Housley says

        And here’s another Nana sitting in her office in New Zealand and enjoying your podcast. Unfortunately someone’s just sent me proofreading to do 🙁 – will be back!

  2. Susan Blake says

    Hello Louise: Listening to your podcast s always a pleasure, and this one is no exception. I write to say that I think you have been extremely clever to find a way for the Wooly Muckers to really contribute in the best possible way to the podcast. They add an extra element of fun, interest and inspiration. Wouldn’t it be fun to see a photo of all those finished navy gainseys? wow, what an idea! Thanks for the all the fun! Susan from the San Francisco Bay Area!

    • louise says

      aw, thank you!

      I’m sure if you were to follow the project website (links provided above but you can always google Blyth Tall Ship too) then you’ll get to see that, eventually. Sounds very interesting, doesn’t it.

  3. Susan Blake says

    Louise! Thanks much for the tip…. of course you have a link to Blyth Tall Ship… I will bookmark it and keep checking back. It sounds so very interesting, yes! thanks again for all the great listening… Susan

  4. Karen L (chefmom5) says

    So great to hear about Mazzy’s participation in the Gansey project. A woman in my local knitting group (in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada) is also knitting a gansey for this. What a cool experience!

  5. Kaethe Ko says

    I just finished listening to episodes 89 1,2 and 90. I love the energy of these. Thank you so much for introducing me to Uist Wool, and thank you to them for the podcast discount, I can hardly wait for my order to arrive. I know John Arbon socks, well, and it was delightful to hear about the other side of the wool from Frankie.
    San Francisco is on the other side of the world from the UK, but I can pretend I am visiting through your podcasts.

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