My good friend, the old maiden aunt better known as Lilith, is away on holiday and yesterday I went down to West Kilbride to look after her workshop. What did I spend my time doing? Did I pet her handdyed yarns or fondle the abundant piles of spinning fibres?
Of course I did, but actually I spent most of my times winding yarn. You can see the result on the left hand side. My arm hurts ever so slightly today (Lilith needs to get an electric ball winder, I should get myself a ball winder or perhaps I should just stop buying so much laceweight and 3ply).
Here are some of my favourites:
This one just glows, doesn't it?
It was a birthday present from Therese, my creative, funny and amazing friend from Sweden. The yarn is 1-ply organic Gotland wool painted with organic dyes for the Färgkraft co-op. The wool has that rustic, rough handle which I love with all my heart and the colour .. well, my favourite colour in the whole wide world happens to be moss green.
In other words, this is the most perfect yarn in the entire history of wool.
While I am tempted to cast on for yet another Laminaria, I think this wool doesn't need fancy Estonian stitches or super-complicated patterns. It has so much character that I think we are talking garter or stocking stitch here. Any suggestions are very welcome - right now I'm leaning towards a Faroese style shawl or something similar. You can take a girl out of Scandinavia but..
.. and then this beauty which was a thank-you gift from Lilith for my help. I got to choose any yarn I wanted in her shop which was an absolute treat. I ended up with a 50% suri alpaca/50 % merino laceweight (shock, horror) dyed in the Bracken colourway which forms part of Lilith's Homecoming collection.
I really like the subtlety of Lilith's dyeing. Lilith gets that colours need to work together in order for the knitted-up fabric to work - something many indie dyers forget. This colourway is green but also beige and a bit gray and a touch of light brown with juuust a hint of creamy yellow-green. I don't know how she does it, but it looks stunning and elegant. I might just use this yarn for a very special birthday that's coming up next year.. or another Laminaria for myself?
Finally, a little treat for myself.
West Kilbride promotes itself as Craftstown Scotland which means the high street is littered with interesting little workshops. Lilith's workshop is one; Lorna's Chookiebirdie studio is another.
Lorna' s work is handstitched and handfinished using vintage fabrics. She works a lot with tartan cloth, tweed and Scottish lambswool and does very embellishments with beads and buttons. The first time I encountered her work, I spent a long time drinking in her style and flair. I'm not a handstitcher, but I can definitely draw inspiration from the way she uses embellishments in her projects.
And then I commissioned this little needlecase from her. I love the owl and the moon - and the craftsmanship is astounding. I know a certain widely-read Scottish crafts blogger has been told by Lorna not to blog about her work until Ms Chookiebird comes back from holiday, but seeing as I'm a completely obscure bloggerista, I'm risking Lorna's wrath..