Podcast, Wool Exploration, Wool Work
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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.

I’ve not quite got a regular show in me and I don’t have a great amount of vim as I sit down to do this, but I’d really like to do some wool exploration today with you,

Hebridean Wool Exploration

I have to start this with a caveat, which is that I have not unpacked my books (we’ve just decided to only unpack the essential and everything else is packed in boxes in the office) so I don’t have any of my usual reading. However, our woolly mucker and WoolWork group Mod Mazzy has done us a solid and has sent me the page from the Fleece and Fibre Sourcebook for Hebridean! Thank you, Mazzy! I also make use of material from the Hebridean Sheep Society.

As I have not done my usual amount of research, I also want to point you to further reading and listening in the WoolWork/KnitBritish Archives:

You can read my interview with Stephen and Rachel Varwell\, who own Croft 29, a small family business creating wool from their Hebridean flocks on Skye;

Croft 29 – Genuine Hebridean Wool from Skye

I reviewed the Croft29 yarn in Episode 81

episode 81 – “We can make anything!”

You can also read my interview with Rachel Atkinson just ahead of her launching Daughter of A Shepherd, back in 2016.

Wool Journey: Daughter of a Shepherd – part one

Wool Journey – Daughter of a Shepherd – part two

You can listen to my podcast from The North Atlantic Sheep and Wool Conference 2018, in Uist. There you can hear me give a rundown of talks, many of which focused on the Hebridean sheep and the primitive breed group, to which they belong.

Episode 110 – North Atlantic Sheep and Wool Conference

Images from our Wool Explorers –

all images are copyright to each explorer, as noted in the accompanying information.

WFCornwell – Daughter of a Shepherd Lace weight (Woollen spun)

After the first wash

After the second blocking

WoollyElly’s handspun – fibre from Wychwood Spinner

© woollyelly

ACraftyScientist – Gam Farm Rare Breeds DK (woollen)

© acraftyscientist

AFatPieceofWool – West Highland Wool

© fatpieceofwool

Myrtle28 – Crowkeld Farm

(C) Myrtle28

SilverSpringKnit – Daughter of a Shepherd Original batch (not available in 100% Hebridean any more). DK Worsted spun

© SilverSpringKnit

My swatches

Natural Yarn from Wimpole Hall

Daughter of a Shepherd – as above

Handpun from The Bairn, the Hebridean sheep from Shankend Farm.


Thanks for listening, if you did make it through! The podcast will be back again at some point. I hope you’re well and being looked after if you’re not well. All my good wishes to you.  Jeremy Jean joined me at the end of the episode for a wee purr, and she sends lots of head boomfs your way too

| Important Information

There is no music this episode. Purring is provided by JeremyJean. All wool explorer’s images belong to them and have been used with kind permission.  The Hebrideans in the header image were pictured by me at the Small Holder’s Festival in New Lanark.




  1. Carole says

    Thank you Louise for taking the time to put this podcast together – life felt normal again for an hour!
    Stay safe

  2. Rose MacLeod says

    Thank you so very much for this podcast!! It was a joy to hear your voice and, of course, Jeremy Jean’s soothing contribution. Sorry to hear of your moving woes. I hope your next home more than makes up for the disappointments of the current accommodation.

    I spun and swatched 50 grams from Wychwood Spinner. The darker fibre spun up a bit courser, but was still quite soft; the fibre with more grey in it spun up as a finer yarn and is beautifully soft and squishy. I wish I had a lot more of it.
    Do keep yourself safe and be well. This too shall pass and we are all in it together – You and your podcasts are one of the very bright spots in the journey.

    • louise says

      aww thank you! And thank you for sharing your experience of spinning too. I’m very taken with hebridean.
      Keep safe!

  3. Janet says

    So good to hear from you. The wool exploration was a little period of ‘normal ‘ in this strange world. Stay well!

  4. Cat says

    Dear Louise,

    I started listening with Episode 100 and have spent most of the time since then catching up from the beginning. It’s lovely to hear your voice again and know that you (& JeremyJean and the Lovely Fella) are okay.

    Please don’t feel you need to have any answers about the global situation; none of us do, and it is really helpful (at least for me) to have spaces that aren’t dominated by discussion of C-19. A drink, a WIP and an hour of wool talk are wonderful. Thank you.

    With all good wishes,

    • louise says

      Thank you so much!

      I know what you mean, I do.
      I also feel i need to address it too. I can’t separate my life from the world, so it does have an impact on my podcast – even if that’s me saying “I don’t know what to say about this, other than it affects me and everyone else and that’s really tough” Ha! I paraphrase myself, of course. Of course, wool and knitting most often, but I will also continue to hold a relatively small amount of space to the effect of global affairs. It’s my own way of coping.

  5. Margaret Johnston says

    Hi louise Aunty Margaret just a peerie note hoping your well en joy your posts and the lovely wool you show . You’ll be like us all in lock down lthink about you wondering how your keeping save I here from Leigh and Karen as the bairns photos on . Just love this podcast you do Am just scared for everybody so do keep save 😘

    • louise says

      Aunty Margaret! 🧡 So good to hear fae you. I sent you an email x

  6. Deb D’Luna says

    I’m a new listener in California and sat outside this AM with a cuppa drenched in the warmth of your voice. Thank you for the peace it brought me. I adored your reading of Barbara Kingsolver. Thanks for that uplift too. What a crafter of language and imagesma she is.

    Last evening I cast on Isabell Kraemer’s ‘Cloudesley’, a pullover in fingering weight (which is pretty much all we can reliably expect to wear with frequency) and am excitedly looking forward to the long-lasting pleasure of it. I’ll make it long sleeved for our inevitably cool evenings.

    Sending you a big hug of consolation and encouragement,


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