A New Year, New Yarns

A belated happy new year to you. The newsletter is a bit sparse this time because, you know, Covid! We have managed to escape the virus (touch wood) up here at Moulin Yarns Towers and life went along at a slow pace over the last few months.

2021 saw the opening of Moulin Yarns Studio Shop at Kinnaird near Pitlochry. It was not what I’d planned, but with very few Yarn Shows happening it was a worthwhile decision to open the studio to customers last summer. Autumn and winter naturally reduced the number of visitors so the shop went into hibernation at the end of October. Now, at the beginning of 2022, I am planning to provide some new yarns, including mohair, something that seems to be very popular at the moment, (often held together with another yarn).

The plan is to open the studio again when it gets warmer in April, in time for Easter, and the new yarns will be available then. Meanwhile I will be busy looking for inspiration and dyeing yarn. Something I am thinking of doing is using some more natural dyes, using things found in the garden. I have walnuts, nettles, tansy, mahonia and cherry wood, the latter as a result of Storm Arwen!! That will be dark brown, green, yellow and orange I think, but as they are natural materials they will be available in limited editions. What do you think?

I mentioned Storm Arwen, well it brought down a large Gean tree (Prunus avium) and parts of an Oak and a Purple leaved plum tree in the garden as well as damaging a couple of apple trees. It has kept me busy the past few weeks clearing the branches and sawing logs. Not that I feel much fitter after all that exercise, but my joints certainly complained!!

Storm Arwen damage

I’m knitting a sweater just now, the pattern is called Sjobris by Drops Design (https://www.garnstudio.com/pattern.php?id=10266&cid=19) . It is an enjoyable knit with a simple pattern of knit all stitches on one row and alternate knit and purl stitches on the next row. A simple pattern that is creating a nice texture. (I think it’s called a broken rib pattern). As you can see It has broad stripes of light grey and teal.

Sjobris Sweater

I treated myself to an advent calendar of fibres for spinning from World of Wool https://www.worldofwool.co.uk/ and intend to try different spinning techniques, although it is difficult to train your hands to do something other than a consistent short draw which is my main go-to spinning method. There are some lovely fibres to spin so I’m looking forward to more spinning in the year ahead. Pop into the studio for spinning demonstrations if you can.

Floof Advent Calendar

In other news, I have helped with a kickstarter for a fellow yarn dyer, Katie Seal who runs Sealy MacWheely https://sealymacwheely.com/ to help her get her bricks and mortar shop of the ground in Kirkintilloch. The reward for the kickstarter was two lovely zodiac inspired skeins of yarn and a pin badge.

Sealy MacWheely Zodiac Yarn

We did manage two holidays at the end of 2021, Ironbridge in Shropshire, with a visit to Shrewsbury and Wool@J13 among the highlights, and Bellingham in Northumberland for a New Year getaway.

Ironbridge

I hope to post towards the end of every month, but I’m not going to make any promises. So until next month, happy crafting.

February, almost a Month of Snow!

Hello there Yarny people, how was February for you? We are still in Coronovirus lockdown here in Highland Perthshire, like most of the country, Europe and the world! The weather has been a bit crazy this past month with freezing temperatures for almost a whole month, with a fair bit of snow thrown in. Loch Faskally was frozen, something that doesn’t happen very often. We got a delivery of logs which was very welcome but it takes a good few hours to move and stack 3 cubic metres of logs!!

A Frozen Loch Faskally, Pitlochry

Now, at the end of February the weather is decidedly springlike, with bulbs starting to flower and the birds singing and begininning to build nests. I have been able to keep busy in the garden pruning, digging over the veg patch and cleaning and preparing the greenhouse for the season ahead. A new wildflower meadow has been prepared and sown where there was previously a scrubby patch of ground. I’m looking forward to it flowering later in the year.

Filling the bird feeders has been an almost daily task, house sparrows are in abundance, but there are also robins, bluetits, greenfinches and goldfinches constantly emptying the various feeders.

In crafty news I’ve been mainly knitting, with a bit of tapestry thrown in, and finished several projects over the past year, learning new techniques along the way. I particularly enjoyed knitting a shawl and hat that both used German Short Row Shaping in them. The shawl is ‘Ropedance’ by Melanie Berg and the hat is Azula by Wooly Wormhead.

Ropedance Shawl, pattern by Melanie Berg.
Azula hat, pattern by Wooly Wormhead

My current project is a colourwork sweater by Isabell Kraemer which is coming along fairly quickly, and with a few rainy days to stop me getting in the garden I will hopefully have it finished to show you the next time I talk to you. KnittingMayhem keeps nagging me to do some more spinning to reduce my stash of fibre, but to be honest there are unlikely to be any physical events before summer, although the good news is Perthshire Open Studios will be going ahead from 4th to 12th September where you will be able to visit me (and lots of other crafters) in our studios. In the meantime, if anyone is wanting to give me an excuse to do more spinning and dyeing I will be offering a discount of 15% of all purchases during the month of March from the online shop by using the code BLOG15 at the checkout.

Finally, I am pleased to announce that a small selection of yarn is now available at Handam Refill Station in Pitlochry and Aberfeldy.

Until next time at the end of March, whatever your particluar craft is,

Happy Crafting,

David

2020 – What a Year That Wasn’t

I thought I would try and write a blog every month, and this first one is going to look back on the last year.

At the end of 2019 I took delivery of a custom spun yarn produced from fleece aquired around Perthshire and thought, properly marketed, this would do well selling to tourists visiting Perthshire. Little did any of us know what 2020 would bring.

I was lookin forward to participating at a number of yarn shows, as in previous years I registered for Aberdeen Yarn Fest and Loch Ness Knit Fest along with a first time at Wool@Portsoy and Woolness. First off, Aberdeen Yarn Fest was cancelled due to a problem with the venue being sold, then Loch Ness Knit Fest was cancelled as they lost a major sponsor. Oh well, that still left Woolness and Portsoy. Wolloness became the next victim, I think due to personal issues. All of this happened at the very beginning of 2020 but there were still regular monthly craft fairs to look forward to, Dundee Ministry of Craft, Aberfeldy Arts and Crafts, Dunkeld Craft Collective and Logierait Farmers Market. Aye right! Logierait decided to cancel due to some problems that occurred in 2019. Instead I applied to the Pitlochry Outdoor Market.

That should keep me busy at least, but before that there was a short break to be had in Argyll at the end of March, 23rd to be precise. During March there was a lot of talk of a virus that had come to light in China at the end of 2019, and it was appearing in the north of Italy. The first cases started to appear in the UK and the governments began closing things down, schools, and gatherings then the announcement on the 23rd of March that the country would go into lockdown for a mininimum of 3 weeks. That put any ideas of going to Argyll on the back burner.

Fortunately we were enjoying a period of good weather and we were allowed, and actually encouraged, to go out and get some excercise, the road past the house has never seen so many people walking . The good weather encouraged me to get out and about and get into the garden and big plans were hatched to build a studio. Lockdown was extended at 3 week intervals with eventual easing at the beginning of July, a full 3 months after it started. In that time a pond was emptied and relocated, the old pond filled in, and area cleared of shrubs, leveled and prepared for the studio. The studio arrived in kit form, a log cabin construction and I built it over a period of 4 days, in June when the temperatures soared into the mid 30 degrees celcius. If anyone wants to lose weight, just saying!

With no events happening in the first half of 2020 there was little dyeing taking place, the only new thing was sets of rainbow mini skeins. These proved to be popular once markets started and I participated at the Pitlochry Open Market.

Colourwork sweater using rainbow mini set (Knitted by Lindsay Robertson)
Colourwork cowl using rainbow mini set (Knitted by Lindsay Robertson)

I hope that you have enjoyed this first blog and I look forward to bringing you more musings in the coming months.

Bye for now,

David

Kinnaird Farmhouse, Pitlochry, Perthshire, PH16 5JL 07756797411 davidw.kinnaird@btopenworld.com April and May: Open to visitors, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11am to 3pm. June to September: Open to visitors, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11am to 3pm. except when there are craft fairs (see Events listings) or by appointment. See events listing for other locations where we will be selling. Closed October to March.