Category Archives: Uncategorized

guest dyer for daughter of a shepherd

My dear friend Rachel Atkinson of Daughter of a Shepherd (for whom I make pouches in her beautiful Hebridean tweed) asked me early this year to participate in her Guest Dyer series and I was thrilled to be part of this lovely project, alongside friend and fellow dyer Helen of Wool Kitchen (and others coming up in future)! It was a joy to have the opportunity to dye Rachel’s Ram Jam base, whose gradient of natural shades is made from fleeces that would otherwise go to waste, including natural black from Hebridean, Zwartbles and black Texel, white from a mixture of BFL/Cheviot Cross, Texel Cross and various other mule crosses and even fleece from the naturally black and white coloured Badgerface sheep! From the raw fibre, to the scouring, spinning and skeining and even the delivery of the final yarn, every aspect of this yarn is from Yorkshire, something that Rachel, as a proud Yorkshire lass, is very proud of.

Rachel and I decided that a blue, dyed with indigo, would sit beautifully with all the sheepy shades of Ram Jam and, after some sampling and swatching, we came up with a deep, heathered blue with indigo highlights. It was a colour she immediately named Quink, which I, as an Australian, had no reference for so had to go and research! She was right- it IS the perfect name for this deep, inky shade…

A limited run of Quink will be available from Daughter of a Shepherd from 7pm this evening, Wednesday December 11. Although Ram Jam, as a woollenspun yarn, is super flexible in both gauge and application, it is particularly suited to colourwork and, paired with other natural shades of Ram Jam, would make a lovely Bouquet Scarf, Hawkshaw Pullover or Tundra Toque!

Whatever you might make with it, we really hope that you enjoy working with it!

dye retreat at garter stitch farm

Hello! I’m currently in the midst of deep preparation for this year’s Edinburgh Yarn Festival but am just coming up for air to let you know that I’m teaching a 3-day dye intensive at my friend Kat Goldin’s farm in Stirlingshire this summer! I love teaching day-long workshops but there is nothing like being immersed in dyeing over a few days and I’ve been looking for the opportunity to run another longer workshop for a while… it’s always felt to me that that amount of time allows for much more exchange and for participants to get a deeper grasp of the process and their hands really into the doing of it all. The workshop covers all aspects of transferring the colours found in natural dyes onto yarn and fabric- full of practical skill-building and joyful exploration, it should give you the skills and confidence to develop your own dye practice!

We’ll cover all the steps involved in dyeing; exploring the potential of the flora found in our landscape and our pantries and sourcing exotic, traditional dyestuffs; preparing and mordanting fibre; setting up and working with both a dyebath and an indigo vat; overdyeing to create complex colours; keeping records of dye experiments; safe dyeing practice and other tips for dyeing with plants and other natural materials.

Beginning on Friday at 4pm, we’ll settle in, get our bearings around the farm and meet for an evening meal. We’ll also begin the weekend’s dyework by exploring fibre selection and preparation and setting up mordant baths to prepare yarn and fabric for dyeing and some of our dyebaths to help release their colours.

On Saturday, we’ll fire up the dyepots and head out to find and collect local dyeplants around the farm. Over the day, we’ll work with numerous dyebaths made from local and imported raw material to dye a range of colours and, using the first and subsequent baths, a range of shades. We’ll also explore overdyeing and the use of modifying agents to expand our set of beautiful colours. On Saturday evening, we’ll enjoy a campfire feast, hopefully under the stars if the Scottish weather allows…

Sunday begins with indigo! We’ll follow the steps involved in creating an indigo vat and then, while it rests, look into the history of this old and venerated dyestuff and explore shibori methods of folding, clamping, binding and stitching fabric to create patterning. We’ll dip our fibres multiple times to achieve good depth of colour and overdye shades dyed on Saturday to make greens, teals, purples and other complex colours. We’ll end the workshop by collating and labelling our yarn and fabric samples and looking at some helpful dye resources. We’ll then spend the evening relaxing together by the fire, with plenty of opportunity to discuss questions and make plans for summer dyeing… And, after one last farm breakfast on Monday morning, we’ll say goodbye…

If you’re interested, you can find all the details in Kat’s shop– tickets go on sale on today, Monday 18th February at 10am GMT. I hope to see a few of you there!

trunkshow at sunspun

I’m writing this in the dusk of an Australian summer day as Scotto and I begin our annual holiday in Melbourne to see our family and friends… it’s always so lovely to be back among loved ones and in our beautiful landscape and I’ve been reacquainting myself with all the plants that I love here- getting to enjoy the freshness of these early summer mornings is jet lag’s silver lining!

I just wanted to let those readers in Melbourne know about a small trunkshow that Amy of Sunspun and I are holding next Friday November 30th! I’ve brought a small selection of plant-dyed yarns pouches, kits and samples with me and will be hanging out knitting and catching up with my Melbourne community from 3-7pm at Sunspun in Canterbury. Please feel free to pop in for a quick look or an afternoon of knitting with Amy and I- it would be lovely to see you!

And there’ll be some lovely new things coming up in the shop before Christmas- a new design collaboration with my dear friend Anna Maltz that combines a gradient of my Masgot Fine with the natural shades of Garthenor’s Ronas (I’ll be adding kits for the design and a whole range of colours in Masgot Fine) and a small run of pouches embroidered by Lorna Reid of Chookiebirdie. I’ll send out a newsletter closer to the time to confirm the date and details of the update but just wanted to let you know in advance about these! 

Wishing you a lovely weekend…

shop update

It’s been a bit quiet around here of late as we’ve had both our mothers in Europe! I spent a couple of weeks travelling with my mum, both in Spain where I joined her to walk a small part of the Camino (she walked a good third of it- amazing and inspiring at 77!) and then in London… it was so lovely to see her and six days of walking was a perfect way to both catch up with what we’ve both been up to and on news from home but also to get to know each other in different ways- I’d really recommend it! (in case you’re interested, I only took my phone camera with me but you can see a handful of pictures on my Instagram feed)

And then Scotto’s mum came to spend a week with us- we had a lovely time showing her our new neighbourhood and then spending a few days on the west coast of Scotland- we based ourselves in Oban and explored the surrounding coastline, including a trip out to Mull and on to Iona… It was just an introduction to this stunning region and we are planning a trip back in a couple of weeks to visit Staffa and Lunga to see the thousands of nesting seabirds, including PUFFINS! (I’ll definitely post photos from that trip!)

Yesterday’s shock announcement that the UK will exit from the EU has left many people here reeling and I must say that I feel very sad about the decision and unsure about the shape and colour of the future for the UK, Europe and the world in general… It’s already an uncertain time for many and that is surely only going to increase now. In light of that and having been away from work, I’ve found myself feeling a bit disconnected from what I’ve been working towards- so it is definitely time to get back to it! There is so much to catch up on and I’m working on quite a few little projects which I’ll be revealing over the next few days but, for now, I just wanted to mention that I’ve added some pouches to the shop… they’ll be available tomorrow, Sunday 26 at 12pm Glasgow time, but you can have a sneak peek now if you’d like!

This is a soft little group of colours and, as usual, a mix of Harris Tweed and other fabrics and a variety of sources….





Lovely vintage lilac and pink twill from my friend Anna

A subtle dark tan and oatmeal wool

A subtle dark tan and oatmeal wool

This is the last of this lovely vintage wool tweed

This is the last of this lovely vintage wool tweed

Beautiful fabric from Ted Baker trousers found by my friend Jeni

Beautiful fabric reminiscent of night cityscapes, originally Ted Baker trousers found by my friend Jeni

Wishing you a peaceful weekend and, wherever you are, community and a sense of purpose xx

classes at fluph and the craft sessions

I’m really excited to be able to announce some new teaching gigs this week… There’ll be one more later in the week but I have two for today… First up, from May, I’ll be spending a Saturday most months teaching at Leona’s ace yarn shop, fluph in Dundee. This Leona is one of the most enthusiastic and giving people I’ve met in ages and I was thrilled that she wanted to include me in her community! I love seeing what classes people chose to run and she’s very cleverly picked a diverse range that should catch the eye of her customers. I have to say, I’m especially happy that she’s chosen to offer my steeking class as it’s a technique that many people are a bit daunted to try on their own and yet is pretty straightforward, once you get the tricks and confidence. And it makes so many new designs available to you, like all those heavenly Icelandic lopis and Kate Davies designs… That combination makes it a super fun class for me to teach! You can find the dates on my classes page and more details and bookings at fluph

Steeked mug cosy

Frankie Mug Cosy, the project for my class on steeking

And I also wanted to let you know that registration opens tomorrow (April 21) for this September’s Craft Sessions retreat in the Yarra Valley, Australia! Do try to get there if you can- you don’t want to let the opportunity to take part in this beautiful event slip by… When Scotto and I decided to move overseas for a while, one of the first things I did was to let organiser Felicia know that I’d come back to teach again at the drop of a hat if my skills fitted with this year’s program! Luckily for me, they did and I’m really looking forward to combining it with a couple of weeks with family and friends. I’ll be teaching three new classes: darning (both practical and decorative), knitting for speed and comfort and fisherman’s knits. You can find all the class outlines and registration details at the Craft Sessions.