Episode 43 – Blacker Yarns and some Yarn Art

Sue Blacker is our guest on Episode 43 of the Fruity Knitting Podcast

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.

Sue Blacker is our guest on Episode 43 of the Fruity Knitting Podcast
Sue Blacker is our guest on Episode 43 of the Fruity Knitting Podcast

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 of Blacker Yarns, with her Gotland Sheep
Sue Blacker of Blacker Yarns, with her Gotland Sheep

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.

Blacker Yarns British Classic
Blacker Yarns British Classic

Daffidini by Anna Dalvi of Knit & Knag Designs

Anna Dalvi with her Daffidini Shawl
Anna Dalvi with her Daffidini Shawl

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

Jamie's Noro Hearts Blanket, pattern by Bonnie Franz
Jamie’s Noro Heart Blanket, pattern by Bonnie Franz

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.


Matins Dress by Alex Capshaw-Taylor
Matins Dress by Alex Capshaw-Taylor

Finding Jamie

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.

Finishing the Steeks
Finishing the Steeks

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.

Trimming back the steeks
Trimming back the steeks

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.

Ningaloo Reef Yarn Art Project
Ningaloo Reef Yarn Art Project

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!

Ningaloo Reef Yarn Art Project - under contstruction
Ningaloo Reef Yarn Art Project – under construction

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.

Music Credits

Image Credits

4 thoughts on “Episode 43 – Blacker Yarns and some Yarn Art”

  1. Elizabeth Rutledge

    Hi Andrea and Andrew- what another fabulous episode! I’ve long been interested in Blacker Yarns and it was lovely to meet Sue on the screen- I love the connection between Launceston in Cornwall and Launceston in Tasmania where I live- the River Tamar and all that! May I take this opportunity to thank you both for all your hard work this year in bringing us such wonderful inspiration and information ? Have a fabulous well earned break and I look forward to seeing you both in 2018- Merry Christmas from Elizabeth in Tasmania ??

  2. Pingback: 2017 Gifting: The (Sock) Hat – Reclaimed Craft

  3. I have recently found your channel and love it! Thanks for sharing your inspiration, techniques and projects and for the cosy atmosphere you both bring to the show. Love the format ❤️

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