Author Archives: sylvantiger

Join the School of Flock!

The first batch of School of Flock yarn is now ready for you to buy, pop along to the Etsy shop.

Yarn in detail

100% wool, British bred, spun, and dyed
70% Lleyn – from my friend’s flock in Shropshire
30% grey Shetland from Somerset
Worsted spun, 4ply weight

50g/175m/191yd per skein
£8 per 50g skein undyed, £9 per 50g skein dyed
Suggested needles 3 – 4.5mm

The bulk of the fleeces come from my friend’s flock of Lleyn sheep which roams the rolling Shropshire hills along with Texel and Suffolk sheep.  I wanted to use the Lleyn as it’s not one of the usual British breeds used for yarn, such as BFL or Shetland.  But, there’s no reason for it not to be and I’d like to help expand the palette of British Breed yarns out there. It’s not BFL soft, nor is it Herdwick coarse, it’s got a similar hand to Shetland and it’s produced a wonderful bouncy, lofty, sheepy yarn with great character.

The Natural Fibre Company processed and spun the fleeces for me, and their help was invaluable along the way, so a big thank you to Sonja, Lara and Annette.  The NFC suggested we add the Shetland yarn to soften the Lleyn slightly and give a good bounce.  We decided to add the grey Shetland to give the yarn a bit of extra character and depth for dyeing.   The yarn is worsted spun to 4ply weight and is constructed of 2 plies, it’s lofty and light and wonderfully warm.  As I was knitting with it, I could feel the warmth in my hands.  It will make great shawls, hats, scarves and gloves.  Enough words, some pictures!

Group in a row

Both the Lleyn and Shetland are matt yarns and take the dye beautifully with really saturated shades.  Just after the yarn arrived back with me, we went on a walk in the Yorkshire Dales, it was a very grey February day, but still there was colour to be found.

Of course, for a yomp in the Dales, you need a good pair of boots:

Double purple

Even though it was a grey day, we came across some sunshine:

Double yellow

And plenty of moss on the tree stumps and walls:

Double green

There was multi coloured lichen on the trees:

Double teal

And bright pink stems on some dogwood:

Double pink

Even though there was plenty of colour, we were still dreamy of blues skies!

Double blue

So there we have School of Flock, custom spun, limited edition British yarn.  Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  I’ll be releasing batches on Etsy, and I’ll have some in real life at Leeds Wool Fair on 3 June at Armley Mills Industrial Museum and in September at Yarndale.  Enjoy!

School of Flock

My new limited edition, custom spun, yarn will launch this week. I’ve been working on this project for over a year now.

The Yarn

Is 100% British, the fleeces come from Shropshire and Somerset, and were scoured, prepared and spun by the Natural Fibre Company down in Cornwall.  Once back in the Yorkshire, the finished yarn has been dyed by me using natural dyes.  It will be available in six hand dyed colours, as well as in it’s natural state.

The story so far

The yarn has a 70/30 split of two British Breeds of fleece, I’ll tell you more about them later in the week.  The bulk of the fleeces come from a good friend’s flock down in Shropshire.  Having been at university together I’ve known the flock in passing for quite a while, I wasn’t knitting then like I do know, so I never dreamt I’d be asking for some fleeces to be spun into yarn!  But, I broached the subject back in December 2015 and the response was an enthusiastic yes. The flock was clipped in May 2016 and we went down to visit in July 2016 to collect some fleeces from the shearling ewes. It was a hot day, in a black car, with two large bags of raw fleeces, but luckily there was only the faintest whiff of sheep!

Fleeces in car boot2

I then hand sorted the fleeces to remove the muckiest bits and any guard hairs or coarse fibres.

Fleece sorting13

Finally it was bagged back up and sent off to the Natural Fibre Company for processing.  The post man was slightly bemused when I asked to take a picture of the bags next to the van. I assured him it wasn’t that I didn’t trust him, I just wanted to record the occasion for posterity!!

Bags to NFC

The finished yarn finally came back to me in January, and I’ve been test knitting it and dyeing it ready for release.  I’ll be releasing it in batches, just to keep things manageable for me.  The first batch will be released on Thursday 11 May, sign up to the newsletter (over there on the right hand side) to be first to hear when batches are released.

Check back later in the week for more details of the yarn itself.