WOOL FROM THE NORTH
Knitting and, more precisely, makings with real wool, has become my fascination for these last few years. The more I look for ideas and yarns the more I look to the Islands and producers from the north. I think it is the way in which the keeping of sheep and other hide and fleece bearing animals has been central to the culture as well as the whole livelihood of northern peoples.
Perhaps at the moment when rural and island communities felt they had lost the wool market for good – with centralised fleece buying making it uneconomic even to transport shorn fleeces – a welcome revival in interest and demand for real wool is spurring people to revitalise their home production. A new spinning mill in the Uists, Shetland Wool Week going from strength to strength (serious plans to make it there this October), Alice Starmore’s amazing pattern books, natural dying ideas and knits from Isle of Harris and a particular favourite from the Faroes (see below).
I have been knitting with some Icelandic wool that a friend is thinking is spun as a single ply. Although it is thick and sturdy equally it is silky and easy on the fingers. Here’s the cuff of a sock on the pins for The Great Welly Sock Challenge. http://atlasarts.org.uk/projects/spincycle-skye/
AND the truly amazing the mission – row stkilda and Facebook page
From the Shetland Wool Week pages I linked to by The Island Wool company which promotes wool from the Faroes. And not just that – they are translating traditional Faroese patterns into English and sell the patterns on line via pdf. There is much much more. Do visit this fascinating site at The Island Wool Company- Faroese By Design – Nordic By Nature – Faroe Islands, Faroese wool, Faroese yarn, Faroese, knitwear. I have my pattern and my wool is winging its way island-to-island as I write.
These patterns resonate across the northern latitudes but the identity is in the detail, I’m sure. Is this Faroese snowflake different from a Norwegian one?