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.

SOS

Not a distress signal, but September Open Studios.

Perthshire Open Studios took place between 4th and 12th of September with artists and craftspeople in 143 venues across Perth and Kinross and I opened the studio to visitors over the 9 days. The last time Open Studios took place was in 2019 so it was great to welcome the public back to the studio. I had more than 30 visitors and was satisfied with the number of customers and sales over the period. One of the things that I was most pleased about was that some were returning customers, so it gave me a happy glow knowing that they like what I am making. 😁

Interestingly, for me at least, was the make up of my customers, 30% of the total were new customers because of Open Studios, 40% were returning customers and the other 30% were either passing by and saw the signs or had searched online for local wool shops while in the area on holiday (This is certainly something we check out when we are visiting somewhere new!). I think a major factor in the low numbers of Open Studios visitors this year was the decision not to produce a printed brochure, this was mentioned by several of my visitors. What do you think?

One customer kindly sent a picture of a shawl they had knitted out of my DK in the ‘Forever Autumn’ colourway. She has kindly allowed me to show you the finished shawl. The pattern is called “Skoosh” by Amanda Clark (shutter monkey) and used a couple of techniques new to the knitter, namely garter tab cast on and Russian bind off. Thank you Jill Brown for letting me use your photograph.

Overall I think Open Studios is a useful event but I reckon I have done just as well this year by opening the studio 4 days a week during the summer months. Although, now that we are into October and the temperatures are dropping, I will be reducing my opening hours to Friday, Saturday and Sunday until the end of October. Feel free to drop in if you are in the area. (Open between 11:00 and 15:00)

In other news I will be at the Aberfeldy Christmas Market in the Locus Centre beside Aberfeldy Square where the Farmer’s Market will also be taking place on Sunday December 5th between 10 and 2. So if you need any last minute inspiration for Christmas come along and see what other crafts are for sale beside my wool.

What else have I been up to? Well, I have started taking part in Parkrun, a 5km social run, jog and walk in Faskally Forest just north of Pitlochry. It’s good exercise for all abilities. I’ve run 5 events so far and have been getting better week on week. There is a good way of judging performance using age grading which allows comparisons with other runners of the same gender and age group. I am in veteran male 60-64 and based on my times, compared with the fastest in the same age group my personal best time is currently 46.31%, (the fastest person in all Parkruns is on 100%), and would like to get above 50%.

At the end of September we had a few days away in Glasgow, @knittingmayhem had a birthday. We stayed near the SSE Hydro and had a lovely meal in a small bistro called Fanny Trollopes (YES REALLY!!) and I have to say the food was delicious the atmosphere was relaxed. We also spent a couple of hours in the Glasgow Science Museum which was very interesting until it got very loud, and difficult to get near the hands-on exhibits, as it filled up with little people. Don’t get me wrong, it was good to see how much the children (and their parents!) were enjoying it. I would certainly recommend this if you have kids, or even grandkids, who need entertained

I think I have rambled on for long enough now so, until next time, happy knitting, crochetin, felting or what ever craft you are doing, enjoy!

Cheers,

David

Kinnaird Farmhouse, Pitlochry, Perthshire, PH16 5JL 07756797411 davidw.kinnaird@btopenworld.com Open to visitors, 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