Here Comes The Sun

March was the chance to get away for a week before the busy summer season begins and we were lucky enough to have spectacular weather while we relaxed in a lovely house in Durham. On the way to there we stopped off in Galashiels to see the Great Tapestry of Scotland in its permanent home. While in Durham we did a bit of touring and visited the open-air museum at Beamish which was very interesting showing life in different times, from the 1820s to the 1950s.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland, Galashiels

We also had a trip to the seaside at Seaburn where we just had to have an ice-cream as we walked along the beach, although the real reason for our visit to Seaburn was to visit the lovely Lucy Locket Land where, naturally we had the urge to buy some knitting kits!!

Ice-cream by the seaside

In the opposite direction we paid a visit to Barnard Castle, made famous by former Government advisor Dominic Cummings for his road trip to test his eyesight! We sat in the sun and knitted in public beside the river.

Knitting in public

As I said, the house was lovely and had floor to ceiling windows looking out on the surrounding countryside which made it ideal for watching wildlife! As if seeing Roe Deer 20m outside the windows wasn’t exciting enough, we also saw a Hobby perched on a post but the highlight was a Barn Owl that was hunting as close as 30m from the window in the early evening.

Breakfast visitor in the garden

Back home and I treated myself to a new spinning wheel, A lovely Majacraft Suzie folding spinning wheel which I will be busy spinning on when not knitting!! As the clocks changed at the end of March the evenings are lighter for longer so I expect to be in the garden more as well.

Majacraft Susie spinning wheel

As easter approaches it is time to open the studio for visitors who are looking for hand dyed yarns, so I’ve been busy with dyeing yarn and booking events for the coming year. After two years of almost no craft fairs and markets this year will be a bit more normal with monthly events in Aberfeldy and Pitlochry.

Starting on Sunday 3rd of April I will be selling at the Aberfeldy Arts and Craft Fair in the Birks Cinema in the centre of Aberfeldy, then the first Sunday of each month. I also hope to confirm that I will also be at the Pitlochry Market on Easter Saturday, then the third Saturday of June, July and August.

I will have some new yarns for you this year including Zebra stripe sock yarn and 50g skeins of Mohair and Silk lace so come along to the studio if you are in the area, or visit me at Aberfeldy Arts and Craft Fair and Pitlochry Market. After all, I would like someone else (other than me) to be able to admire the new wheel!!

Studio opening times for April will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 11am and 3pm opening from Friday 1st April, apart from the market days, check the events page on the website.

I hope to see you soon,

David

February Frolics

It might be a short month but February seems to have been a busy one! It was book-ended with snow and storms but was also quite productive here at Moulin Yarns.

A little bit of snow in the garden

A fair bit of DIY happened this month. So did lots of seed sowing and pricking out of seedlings in the greenhouse, looks like I will be eating lots of vegetables this year! Tomatoes, Brussel sprouts and Cauliflower in abundance, as well as herbs and salad leaves.

I had a lovely message from someone in Somerset who had knitted a scarf using some of my yarn during the month, the first thing they wanted to know was if there was anything special they needed to do when blocking because it was hand-dyed yarn. But the really nice thing was it was yarn she had received as a Christmas present and they were so happy with the way it turned out. The yarn in question is called ‘Remember, Remember’ and is the colours you would find in a bonfire, with yellows, oranges and reds with black for the ash. And it sparkles!!

Shawl knitted from ‘Remember, remember’ by Louise from Somerset

In the middle of the month I was contacted by a former work colleague who is nanny to twin girls. One of them has started to crochet and she wondered if I would show her a bit of spinning and dyeing, so we arranged a date. They came, spent about 3 hours and went away with some mini-skeins that she had dyed herself. First of all she chose some colours and we dyed a nice tonal fuschia pink together. We then tried speckled yarn which she was happy to do almost all on her own. I liked the results myself and may even reproduce it as colourway named after her – Paige turner!!

Applying sprinkles to yarn
Happy with the finished rusults
The Paige turner colourways

Of course, once I had shown her my dyeing techniques she wanted to see how yarn is spun, so over coffee and biscuits I explained the process, something that they will get the chance to try the next time they visit.

Because I had the dyes out anyway I dyed up some of the yarn stock for myself, some mohair silk-weight which will match other yarns in my stock when the shop reopens in spring, in time for Easter.

Mohair silk coming to the shop soon.

In other news, unfortunately there won’t be any Perthshire Open Studios this year as they couldn’t find enough people willing to step up to run it after the current committee were retiring, but it isn’t all bad news, we will be at craft fairs again this year!! The Aberfeldy Arts and Crafts Market will be happening along with the Farmers market on the first Sunday of the months from April to October. On those days the studio will be closed but I’ll keep you up to date with the dates on the website.

Until next month, happy crafting.

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.

Spring has Sprung

Hi again. Another month goes by and it’s time for me to put on my thinking cap and try to remember what has been going on in the life of Moulin Yarns.

Last month it was all about the icy weather, this month there is a bit more colour in the world as first the snowdrops, then crocus and finally daffodils all burst open. Lovely big queen bumblebees are buzzing about finding food and places to build their nests. The birds are also active with nest building, blue tits and sparrows are making homes in the nest boxes, and all the birds are eating me out of house and home!!

Other signs of life in the garden that I came across were a couple of amorous amphibians who were bound together for at least three days in the pond, although there is no frog spawn left behind!

May be an image of nature

The vegetable patches are dug over and weeded ready for planting, potatoes are chitting and seeds are germinating in the greenhouse. The garden furniture has all had a lick of paint or teak oil as necessary and my neighbour’s gardener actually cut their grass this week!!! Spring has definitely arrived. Which reminds me, the clocks go forward this weekend. YAY! one less hour in bed!

On the yarn front I’m glad to confirm that Perthshire Open Studios will be a physical event from 4th to 12th September and I will be in my studio ready to welcome customers and other visitors over that week, all within Covid guidance of course. I also hear that some other physical events, such as music festivals are planned to go ahead in September, so fingers crossed that we are getting back to some kind of normal.

Before Perthshire Open Studios I will be trial opening the studio a few days a week to see how things work and give me time to sort out any glitches. More information will appear here, and on my events page in the near future, with non-essential shops being opened from 26th April I am aiming to welcome customers from May.

https://www.perthshireopenstudios.com/

In other news, the Pitlochry and Moulin Heritage Trust that runs a small local museum will also open from the end of June, and I can be found there most Monday afternoons giving spinning demonstrations. (Moulin had a busy linen industry back in the day.)

https://www.pitlochryandmoulinheritagecentre.co.uk/?fbclid=IwAR0ACy10d8P4LDaqIIw3o6EYved-w72AVMZLI8VeQNPGvmYjz2NlkiLLE8s

As I write this the snow has started!! So I will sign off with the news that I will extend the offer of 15% discount in my online shop until April 26th, the date that shops can reopen, to allow you to grab a bargain.

Until next month and my next ramblings,

Happy crafting,

David

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

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.