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Spin: HilltopCloud Handblended Club Yarn January 2013

This was one of my Christmas gifts, a 3-month subscription to the HilltopCloud Handblended Fibre club – 200g of handblended yarn delivered to your door.

This was the first month’s fibre – a scrumptious blend of Merino, Bluefaced Leicester and Cotton.

DSCN8285I opted to spin this at my usual weight, aiming for a heavy fingering / light sportweight 2 ply. And I suceeded. 514m of fresh green yarny goodness. It was this fibre which got me thinking about the fibre:yield ratio blogged about previously (see here for the original post, and the related page on yields from the Fibre & Spinning section). Now I jsut need to decide what to knit with it.


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Spin: HilltopCloud Whitefaced Woodland

This was the December 2012 Best of British club yarn. 150g of Whitefaced Woodland. A breed I’d never heard of before, and apparently it is on the Conservation list of British Breeds.

It is an interesting fibre, it doesn’t felt, which has obvious benefits when knitting up hardwearing items such as mittens. It also had an extremely spongy texture. When it came to spinning it up, I decided to let the fibre decide how it wanted to be spun. I didn’t want to loose the bounce and springy feel to it, so I tried to keep that.

What I ended up with was 180 yds (165m) of a lovely springy Aran weight.

DSCN8283_medium2I’m currently planning out what to knit with it.

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Fibre: Cheviot

CheviotCheviot Ewe and Lamb (From here)


The earliest reference to sheep from the Cheviot Hills dates to 1372 which refers to ‘a small, but very hard race’.[i] During later centuries it appears that both Merino and Lincoln bloodlines were added to the original Cheviot stock, records state that there were 3000 Merinos brought to England in 1480, a similar number were introduced in 1560.[ii] In the eighteenth century, further improvements were made to the breed  which increased both the meat and fleece production.[iii]

The breed has subsequently introduced to the United States (1838) and Australia (1938) – although it appears the breed is in decline in Australia.[iv]

The Fibre

  • Staple length can vary from 4-5 inches, some Australian examples see staple lengths reach 6 inches.
  • Diameter of the fiber tends to fall between approximately 27-33 microns, though 24 are know.
  • The fibre should spin up well, and works well in blends.

My Cheviot Spinning

Cheviot was my first spinning experience, and I used a drop spindle to create about 40m of super-bulky/art yarn. This is certainly a breed I would spin again.

[ii] The Cheviot Sheep Society – History; D.Robson & C. Ekarius (2011). The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, p.54.

[iv] Oklahoma State University, Breeds of Livestock (Sheep: Cheviot); Rare Breeds Trust of Australia – Cheviot 

Useful Links

The Cheviot Sheep Society 

Oklahoma State University Breeds of Livestock, Sheep, Cheviot

Cheviot Sheepbreeders’ Association Australia 

Rare Breeds Trust of Australia – Cheviot 

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Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2013

A new event aimed at all yarn enthusiasts in Scotland and further afield. It is being held in Edinburgh at The Drill Hall on March 16, 2013.

Edinburgh has a thriving community of knitters and crocheters, not to mention designers, hand-spinners, artists and artisans. Within Scotland we have a wealth of talent and we feel it is time to celebrate this, at a time of year when winter is still a reality, and warmth, colour and inspiration are needed. We are three keen knitters who have been travelling to yarn festivals far and wide for too long. The time has come to organise a yarn festival right on our doorstep here in Edinburgh. The aim is to host a fun day out and a sociable gathering for yarn-enthusiasts of all flavours and levels of experience, wanting to buy something lovely, browse at leisure and perhaps learn a new skill or simply meet with like-minded people over a coffee for a chat.
Our primary aim is to create a buzzing marketplace offering all things yarn and fibre related. Yarn shops are few and far between in our part of the country and we want to offer visitors a chance to browse and buy a wide variety of yarns, fibres, related tools and haberdashery.

We also aim to offer a small selection of classes in knitting/spinning/crochet techniques. Work is in progress here, but we will reveal more information soon.

Edinburgh Yarn Festival will be located at Out of the Blue/Drill Hall on Dalmeny St, easily accessible from the centre of town via Leith Walk. We’ve chosen this venue as it has excellent light from its glass-panelled ceiling, a great vibe and – importantly – a fine café with a lunch menu as well as cake, tea and coffee.

They have a website which has all the information you need to find out more about the event.

Some quick links: