Yarn review, interview & giveaway: Isle yarns
Today I'm so happy to sit and chat with Sue, the lovely owner of the Isle Yarns, a yarn company that she created using the fleeces of her Poll Dorset sheeps that are raised on her farm, on the Isle of Purbeck. I first got acquainted with the Poll Dorset yarns last year when her nephew Benjamin, released the first batch of the Hole & Sons yarns. I was lucky enough to grab two skeins to add to my collection before they all disapeared and ended up in the stashed of hungry knitters.
Sue contacted me a little while ago to ask me if I would be interested in "reviewing" the colors that she created for the Winter collection. At that time I was still swatching and playing with stitches for my Art Deco hat. I made a swatch with the cuddled colorway, and immediately loved the way the stitches were behaving with the yarn (such a wonderful stitch definition!). Following that, I started "helping" her choosing the colorways for the Spring and Summer 16 collection. It was so interesting to see the very first shadecard samples before the dying process actually happened and how different the final colorways turned out, creating the most beautiful and muted tones. The Winter & Spring collections are now available on the Isle Yarn website in 50g balls or 100g skeins and in 7 different colorways.
Sue was generous enough to answer a couple of questions about herself, her work on the farm and her yarn of course!
How is life like on the Isle of Purbeck/ Can you walk us though a day in your life?
Everyday is different which is what we love about farming!
During lambing I'll start at the lambing shed first thing for a couple of hours then head off to my fabric and wool shop for the day. At teatime I'll be at the lambing shed until supper then after supper my husband Andy and I will spend a few more hours on lambing duty. That's our favourite time of day as the hustle and bustle of the day is over and we can reflect on our day and plan our days ahead whilst keeping an eye on the ewes that are lambing. Other times of year are still busy as farming is seasonal and heavily dependent on the weather and I try to reflect that in my Instagram photos.
Where do you see the Isle yarns in the future? Or any projects that you are working on and would like to share.
I'd like to see Isle Yarns become an established small brand, to extend our colour range, build on the relationship I have with the designers like yourself who design beautiful patterns to compliment the wool and introduce a collection of hand made knits to sell alongside the yarn.
Anything else that you might like to share?
Farming can be an isolating way of life and we sometimes joke that my husband Andy rarely leaves the farm but since I've been sharing photos of our farm life on Instagram we've had such a positiveresponse from folk all over the world, full of encouragement and respect for what we do. As they say - Instagram is full of the nicest people you'll never meet!
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I grew up on the Isle of Purbeck with 3 brothers and 1 sister. My father was a vicar in the small village where we lived. My husband is a local farmer so when we got married I moved just 5 miles up the valley!
We've got 4 children, two them farm and our eldest daughter has two sons so we are blessed with 2 grandchildren. Our youngest is a trainee chef at the Dorchester Hotel in London and loves the city life although her roots are here in the countryside.
Can you tell us the story of your yarn, from the fields to the yarn.
My nephew Ben first had the idea of using the wool from our pedigree Poll Dorset sheep to produce knitting wool in 2014 and as I have a fabric and wool shop in our local town, I had some of his wool to sell. Ben has been too busy on the farm to keep producing more at present so I've started producing it from the same breed under the name Isle Yarns
What are the qualities of the Isle yarn/ What kind of project is it good for?
The knitting wool from the Poll Dorset sheep is rustic and hardy - just like the sheep! It is firm to knit with and the stich definition is excellent. When it's hand washed and blocked the wool softens and blooms beautifully.
So far I've seen hats, mitts and jumpers knitted with the wool and we enjoy seeing projects shared on Instagram with the tag #isleyarns
Are you a knitter yourself or a crafter?
I am! I love to sew and knit and have recentlybrought a second hand knitting machine which I am having great fun leaning to use.
The giveaway is nos CLOSED. Thank you so much for participating and congratulations to Serena!
Isle Yarns is offering two balls (50g each) of their new colorway Dromemead to one lucky winner. To enter simply follow @harpstone on Instagram and tell me in the comments below which color you like the most or which project you would like to create with the yarn. Make sure to enter some contact info, so I can reach out to you! The giveway is open until Wednesday 2sd March 16 midnight Riga time. Good luck!