Sue Blacker is our interview guest on Episode 43 of the Fruity Knitting Podcast. Sue is owner of Blacker Yarns but also of The Natural Fibre Company, a small specialist spinning mill in the UK. By working closely with sheep farmers, Sue has gained a lot of knowledge and experience of different breeds, and Blacker Yarns has developed a name for producing breed-specific yarns. In the interview Sue tells us about the qualities of different yarns and how we select the best yarns for our projects.
Our guest on Knitters of the World is Jamie from Alabama, who goes by the name Knitosophy in the knitting world. New Releases features a little lace from Anna Dalvi, originally from Sweden but now at home in Ottawa. Our tutorial covers finishing your steeks, and we see the winning projects from the Fruity Brioche Kal. And we have some footage of a Yarn Art project from Western Australia.
Sue Blacker of Blacker Yarns
Sue Blacker was once a stockbroker working in the heart of the financial district in London. This is not the obvious background for a passionately organic and environmentally active sheep farmer. Sue strongly believes in buying and making locally and creating things to last. She is the owner of the Natural Fibre Company which is a specialist woollen mill in Cornwall where farmers can send small quantities of fleece to be spun into yarn. Sue has gained a wealth of information and experience through working very closely with sheep farmers all over the U.K. and through developing yarns for her own brand Blacker Yarns.
Finding Blacker Yarns
If you’d like to find out more about breed-specific yarns, check out Episode 23 with Deb Robson.
Patron Discount – Blacker Yarns
Blacker Yarns is offering Fruity Knitting Podcasts a 15% discount on all Blacker Yarns until 31 December 2017. Details at Patreon.
Daffidini by Anna Dalvi of Knit & Knag Designs
Daffidini is a triangular shawl knit on a bias. It uses a combination of seed stitch, Shetland lace and stripes to create a fully reversible lace shawl. The colour changes are blended with the use of seed stitch, so it looks the same on both sides of the shawl.
Finding Anna Dalvi and Knit & Knag Designs
Jamie from Alabama – Knitters of the World
Meet Jamie, an avid knitter with a great fashion sense who loves to do things in her own way. One of the projects that Jamie is most proud of is her beautiful Heart Blanket shown above. Jamie doesn’t do floats, instead she twists the two yarns around each other in a very similar way to the twined knitting method. You can read about her special method on her blog post here. Another very special piece of knitwear is her Matins Dress (below), each section of lace is a different pattern.
Åsemors Kofte by Sidsel J. Høivik
I have completed my Åsemores Kofte by Sidsel J. Høivik. I had a lot of fun and learnt a lot both through working with Sidsel’s pattern as well as changing the pattern to suit my style. There were a few different things in Sidsel’s pattern which I had never done before; the lining on the inside of the body and sleeve cuffs and the button bands done in a combination of stocking stitch and crochet. I really love how it looks in a cropped version when worn over a long shirt and I’m particularly proud of my little collar which I added. I knitted the collar flat in garter stitch which gave it a thicker texture.
You can find the kit for Åsemors Kofte at sidselhoivik.no. (There is an option to switch to English in the footer of the website.)
Tutorial – Finishing the Steeks
I have been doing a series of short tutorials on steeking as I’ve worked on this garment. I have a final tutorial for you on how I trim and finish my steeks and pick up for the button band.
Ningaloo Reef Yarn Art Project
Christie Wareham-Norfolk was our guest on Knitters of the World in Episode 32, with Romi Hill. Christie lives in Exmouth, a remote resort town on the western tip of Western Australia, around 1200 km or 750 miles north of Perth. I suspect it is fair to say that this town only exists because of the pristine Ningaloo Reef and the surrounding coast itself, which attract both tourists but also research scientists, both coming to see the diversity of marine life. Christie introduced us to the Ningaloo Reef Yarn Art Project, which she initiated and coordinated.
The Ningaloo Reef is located close to the shore, making it easily accessible to divers and snorkellers. Apart from the reef itself, the area is known for its population of whale sharks, and is also on the migratory path of species such as dugongs and humpback whales. There have been tensions around the development of the area, and the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and several universities are conducting research on the impact of tourism on the environment to ensure that any future development is sustainable.
Yarn Art Reef Ningaloo
The Ningaloo Reef Yarn Art Project, consisting of around 500 pieces created by 70 volunteer knitters over a period of around 18 months, was put together into 2.5 meter display for the Exmouth Cultural Arts Centre. Temperatures in Exmouth go above 40 degrees Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit) in summer and average around 25 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit) in winter, so just getting together so many crafters was a feat in itself!
The display is a feast of color and textures, and has succeeded in capturing the incredible richness and diversity of a reef and surrounding marine environment. It is over thirty years since I visited the Great Barrier Reef with my family – my first interstate trip – and I have never forgotten the intensity of color and life in those waters. I love the idea of the Yarn Art Project, both for the art and creativity itself, but also because it brings a little of the reef experience to those who are not able to get out to the reef in person. After an initial display in the Exmouth Cultural Arts Centre, the exhibit has been moved to its permanent home in the Department of Parks and Wildlife’s Milyering Discovery Centre.
Bravo Christie and all contributing crafters!
Andrew was wearing
St Brigid by Alice Starmore, made in the Selkie colorway of the Virtual Yarns Hebridean 3-ply.
- J. S. Bach, The Well Tempered Klavier, performed by Kimiko Ishizaka, used under Creative Commons Attribution license
- Prelude No. 2 in C minor, BWV 847
- Prelude No. 10 in E minor, BWV 855
- Beethoven, Symphony No. 3 in E Flat Major Eroica, Op. 55 – IV. Finale Allegro molto, Public Domain
- Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky, SouvenirDeFlorence, Op. 70, 1 – AllegroModerato, performed by US Army Strings, Public Domain
- Claude Debussy, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (ensemble arrangement), performed by the Natalia Ensemble, used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license
- Montana Skies, The Edge of Night, used under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license
- Henry Eccles, Violin Sonata in G minor, performed by Thrax, used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license
- II. Courante
- IV. Vivace
- Blacker Yarn images copyright Blacker Yarns, used with permission.
- Boreray Ewes by Gibbja, used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license
- Electron microcope images by CSIRA, used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license