Welcome to Wovember

buttonWell, it seems a long time since I first wrote about Wovember way back in 2012 and it’s great to see how it has grown and become a feature of the knitters calendar. Over on Instagram I keep spotting photos tagged and shared which celebrate Wool (and for this month only, I’m talking about wool from sheep, not animal fibres in general). Back then, readers of Baking and Making might remember the ongoing conversation with the Wool Marketing Board about the labelling of British wool, I have to say things haven’t got much better and still, the best way to to be sure the wool you’re buying is 100% British wool is to ask the producer or retailer.

In some ways things have got easier, the Woolsack is still a great resource for anyone looking for stockists of British wool and there is the fabulous online retailer BritYarn, where you can check out the fibre content and provenance of some amazing yarns (and Isla is super helpful too). Some of my favourite independent dyers have also added a specific British section to their websites, making it even easier to choose British (special mention here to Eden Cottage Yarns). I would still love to see the major yarn producers show a real commitment to British wool, but at least most of them have at least one British blend or pure breed wool in their range these days.

You can read all about this years competitions, what hashtags to look out for  and information on the background over on the Wovember website. There is also a dedicated Ravelry group. I am really interested in Louise’s Knit British British Breeds Swatch Along, which is a fantastic opportunity to explore British (or local) breeds and to share knowledge about single breed wools – do check out her podcast for the full details of how to take part.

wendy ramsdale scarfAs my commitment to Wovember this year I’m going to focus on British wool and I’ll be sharing some of my favourites here on the blog. To start the ball rolling here’s a photo of the simple granny square scarf I designed in Wendy Ramsdale. This a 100% British wool distributed by Thomas B Ramsden (it’s marketed as “born, bred and made in Yorkshire) and you can find it online and in lots of “bricks and mortar” shops. One of the things I love about this wool is how all the colours work together, making it great for colourwork. It is also incredibly soft and easy to work with.

I’m going to try and post a new yarn at least once a week in Wovember, so look out for more beautiful wools, British breeds and new projects celebrating all that is great about wool.

New Pattern: Ramblers Scarf

20151012_102844Here’s my latest accessory. Knitted in fabulous Ramsdale from Wendy. I fell in love with this wool for several reasons, first of all the colours are beautiful, it has a soft haze that you lose with superwash wools and it’s incredibly soft. The yarn is British – “born, bred and made in Yorkshire” – so it appeals to my preference for British wool. Finally, the price –  it retails around £3.69 a ball – which makes it exceptionally good value.

Each shade is named after a Yorkshire village or town, most of which Mr T and I have visited on our annual trips to North Yorkshire. Settle, Malham and  Richmond all feature in the collection, but my favourite is Malton, a rich plum which I adore.

At first, I thought about making a striped blanket. But knowing how quickly my enthusiasm for crochet blankets wanes, I decided on a simple scarf and granny square motifs seemed to fit the bill. Each motif is made from two rounds, following the traditional granny square, then joined “as you go” using a simple slip stitch.

20151012_114727Nine balls may seem a little excessive, but there are plenty of “leftovers”,  allowing you to make a hat or wrist warmers to match. To be honest, at just under £30 (I used a discount voucher) I think it’s great value. My scarf goes with everything and will last for years. This is going to be my “wear it every day” accessory this winter! Wendy Ramsdale is widely available, so do look out for it, plenty of online stores stock it and I have seen it several “bricks and mortar” yarn stores too.

If you can make a granny square, you’ll find this pattern very easy. And, if you’re new to “joining as you go” I have included a few photos to illustrate the method – not a full tutorial – that would take far too long and ultimately affect the price. Like many granny square projects, this would also make a great “stashbuster”, simply choose a selection of colours from your stash and follow the instructions. The circles embellishments are a bit of whimsy, you could easily add a traditional fringe if you prefer. Or, why not live dangerously and sew the two short ends together to make an “eternity” cowl instead!

With so many good things in its favour what are you waiting for – at the bargain price of £1.50 there is no excuse!  You can buy the pattern for this simple scarf from my Love Knitting designer page  or from Ravelry If you have tried Wendy Ramsdale I would love to know what you think.

Happy crochet x

 

 

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