casting off, casting on, KnitBritish, KnitBritish Rav group, LushPodKAL, Podcast, Wool Exploration
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Episode 117 – The wool that keeps on giving

Welcome to episode 117!

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| Hellos & Good Intentions Q2 

A quick gander amongst the Ravelry group and looking at what folks are making, or planning to make this quarter in the Good Intentions thread! There is a lot of making good on intentions in that thread!

| Cast on / Cast off

I finished my second Felix sweater by Amy Christoffers/ Savoury Knitting for my sister’s birthday. No image of the second, but here’s my first! Many times over, with lovely pals, at EYF2019. It was also made in Iona Wool.

I have a bit of a rant about the visual inaccessibility of the patterns and layout in Laine magazine. I had got this magazine specifically for the Poet sweater, by Sari Nordlund. I got the yarn that I wanted to use – Bealach Astair from Uist Wool  – however the pattern was not laid out well in the magazine. As well as the page being grey/beige, the magazine editors had decided to edit the chart so that it was for all sizes. This included colouring cells for different sizes, in low contrasr shades, and making recognisable symbols stand for something else in those squares.

Laine did respond that they were working on these issues for future magazines, which is something, but I really don’t think aesthetic should take priority over a good layout, sensible keys and a visually accessible pattern! The fact that Laine doesn’t have a digital copy is also problematic for many users.

Anyhow, the fantastic Sari Nordlund gets a big ten for having a beautifully laid out single pattern, and if you are also interested in making this beautiful sweater, I recommend you save some bucks and save your eyesight by getting the pattern via her on Ravelry!

also mentioned…

Did you see Tin Can Knits have a mini-collection out? 

Love Note Sweater, Posy Shawl; Penny Sweater and Penny hat are all available now on Ravelry and if you add all 4 to your ravelry basket you will get 25% off. That is valid til the end of this month, so hurry, hurry! Images here are © tincanknits

I also mentioned the Elibelinde sweater pattern from Pom Pom Quarterly, Autumn 2017. I will be looking at this pattern, by Ellinor Siljeström, for a future make!

© Nicole Mlakar

I also mention the Untangling Knots annual outfit-along, which kicks off on 1st June. This year the emphasis on the knit and sewing-along is on WIPs and the scope is broad, so check out the blog post and see if you can join in. I have the yarn for the Salal cardigan ready to go, and I have matching wool tweed for a skirt, so I may join in!

Life of a Wensleydale Cardigan…so far

If you a regular listener of this podcast you will have heard me talk about my Wensleydale Lush cardigan, and you may have also seen me wear it…a lot. I would say that it is my most worn piece of knitwear. By ‘worn’ I mean that I wear it a lot, but I would also say that it has really “worn in” – you can’t really have one without the other, but I don’t mean worn out, I mean that it has continued to look and feel great.

I’ve long used this cardigan as an example to those who think that Wensleydale is not soft against the skin – of course we know that everyone feels different wool in different ways, but I’ve always been keen to show that just cos a yarn has a halo doesn’t mean it is going to be too crisp to wear. The micron range of Wensleydale sheep is 30-36, so it is in the range where fibres are less bendy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that its a yarn we should discount out of hand.

This is my description of knitting with this wool for the first time and how I found it as I worked my Lush

The wool has a slight crisp feel to the initial touch, but is quite soft to work and – contrary to some reviews – it is not an abrasive yarn. Some people who do not do well wearing wool next to their skin may want to avoid, but as I said on the podcast – wool isn’t made of nettles – you may have an aversion or wool allergy but if you can why not give different breed yarns a try, you might be surprised!

I love how it is knitting up. I also really like that slight woolly halo on the yarn. I think this is going to make a very snuggly garment! I had heard someone comment that they thought their Wensleydale wool felted as they knit with it. I am not sure if this is down to the kind of twist or ply of their particular yarn, but I couldn’t spit-splice this yarn for love nor money! I know all wool does felt, but I have had no trouble with this particular brand. I will let you know how the FO washes.

(August 2014)

Well, listen in as I chat about how it looks today and check out my images below. While there is certainly a little thinning of the halo in the underarm area, and light feathering in places that see a lot of friction – bottom hem and top of button band – it is looking really great five years on!

| Wensleydale Wool Exploration

We have Rosehip71; PracticalCat; EricaEckles; BeckiP; DrSazMac; DryGardening; Dreynold1 and WoollyElly testing Wensleydale this episode ! My thanks to them and to everyone who talked about this wool in the KnitBritish ravelry group.

Yarns use this month: Black Bat Rare Breeds; Wensleydale longwool Sheep shop, Ikletshall Wensleydale; Blacker; Homefarm Wensleydale and Wychwood spinner

Listen in for the full reviews and find out how Wensleydale wool explorers found this lovely longwool, but here are a few things that everyone found – Wensleydale has an amazing lustre and halo but it tends towards light and “ticklesome” and is likened to an aura! Worsted spinning benefits the long locks of Wensleydale most, but some found where the yarn was too loosely spun it was quick to feather up, and where it was too tightly spun it made it very in-elastic. Wensleydale a great yarn to show us that from fleece to spun yarn, a single breed wool is different every time!

Thanks for listening!

The next wool exploration will be Castlemilk Moorit and I hope you can join in with that!

The podcast will be back in June and I look forward to sitting down with you all then!

Thanks for listening and take good care!

Important Information

Music this episode is Doctor Turtle – Doctor Talos Opens the Door and  David Mumford – Singin in The Rain This are available via freemusicarchive and shared via CC-BY. Images are copyright to those in the caption or accompanying info, otherwise they belong to me. 


  1. Kate says

    I haven’t listened to the episode yet but on reading the notes I have to post straight away to agree with you about the Poet chart. A few of us commented on its unhelpful layout on the Ravelry forums in the Laine group. A digital download would make it easier to annotate. Such a beautiful design, I am still determined to make it.

  2. Julia says

    Another interesting episode, thanks Louise.

    I found a bit more information about the black Wensleydale sheep on the Wensleydale Sheep Breeder’s website:

    “Some white animals carry one recessive black gene and mating two such sheep can produce coloured lambs from an apparently all white flock. These lambs are registered in the coloured register and the dam and sire must also be transferred out of the white flock. When the demand for wool was at its peak it was common for black lambs to be culled to prevent the valuable clip becoming ‘polluted’ with coloured fibres and to protect the reputation of breeders. However, these lambs born out of white flocks have now become very important as they widen the gene pool for coloured breeders – in 1999 breeding rams were registered from 13 flocks but by 2009 this had declined to 6 flocks.

    Although referred to as Black Wensleydales – the colour will vary from silver to jet black. Lambs are generally born black or charcoal grey. The darker fleeces have a tendency to ‘grey’ with age as a result of the appearance of white fibres and the tips of the staples weather to a golden brown or beige. This variation in colour within each staple is particularly valuable to hand spinners and textile artists making the wool highly sought after and of premium value.”

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