Those of you who, like me, enjoy books on the order of Clara Parkes' The Knitter's Book of Wool and Sue Blacker's Pure Wool: A Guide to Using Single-Breed Yarns have a new collection to check out: Ann Kingstone's Born & Bred: Yorkshire Sheep, Yorkshire Style (the extra links go to Ann's other collections, also good to peruse).
I'd describe Ann's accomplishment here as succinct, sweet, and a little bit sassy—while well seasoned with elegance. She published this collection in conjunction with yarn shop baa ram ewe, from which all the yarns are said to be available. (I also found some kits. Nose around the site and see what you discover, too.)
I love the way Ann has designed for a variety of styles and situations and yarn weights, producing nine projects, all of which I find appealing enough to cast on for. I found myself wishing that I'd had the hooded jacket pattern to knit for my daughter when she was small. I knitted her a hooded jacket that she wore for several years (handknits seemed to fit for longer than commercial knits did), so we didn't miss out, but what a sweet garment that is (lower right on the cover, above).
Among other things, I greatly enjoyed the connection Ann made between a number of sheep of the area (of course!) and the designs. The sheep she talks about, and some of whose wool she uses in her patterns, include Wensleydales (both white and colored), Swaledales (those are the sheep at the top of the contents page, just below), Whitefaced Woodlands (a really old breed), and Mashams, which are a traditional crossbred (composed often of Wensleydale × Swaledale, or very similar breeds). Yorkshire is where the annual and famous Masham Sheep Fair is held (it will be September 28 and 29 this year). Both Wensleydales and Whitefaced Woodlands are rare breeds.
Because this is how I think about collections of knitting patterns, here's a summary of the patterns, with quick notes about the designs, the yarn weights, and the specific yarns Ann used:
- Wetwang, a pullover sweater (jumper) with graceful black swans around the yoke and lovely, subtle detailing - DK weight, Wensleydale Longwool yarn from the Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop
- Roseberry, the wee one's coat - bulky weight, Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds Chunky Undyed in the shade "Light Masham"
- Betty, a tea cosy named after some tea shops I've been told are wonderful - bulky weight, baa ram ewe's "Rare," which is Whitefaced Woodland (yay!) combined with Hebridean (lovely stuff, too)
- Ilkley Moor, a tam - fingering weight, from baa ram ewe "Titus" (Yorkshire fibers: 50% gray Wensleydale, 20% Bluefaced Leicester, and 30% alpaca—yes, the alpaca connection is explained)
- Baht 'At, fingerless mitts - fingering weight, from baa ram ewe "Titus" (same as Ilkley Moor, above; the two designs are related in concept as well as yarn and patterning)
- Hild, a pullover hoodie - aran weight, "Jarol Pure British Wool Aran" from Masham sheep
- Wharfe, boot toppers (not just pretty but practical: keep the wellie tops from chafing legs!) - bulky weight, from baa ram ewe's "Rare" again (Whitefaced Woodland and Hebridean blend)
- Little Tyke, a color-patterned vest for small people - DK weight, Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop yarn
- Swaledale clogs - aran weight, felted, from British Breeds "Swaledale Aran" (which may later be in stock at baa ram ewe, but I can't find it right now although I did find this)
The names of the designs come from places, a saint, a song (okay, DON'T miss that link! it's just over a minute, and goes really well after the longer clip at Baht 'At above), and more, all with Yorkshire ties. Even though the accompanying text is short, it strikes me as perfectly suited and it's personably informative.
I haven't done giveaways much before, but Ann tells me we can do one and I opted for the digital edition. If you'd like your name thrown in the hat (probably a hand-knitted cap, actually), let me know in the comments. I'll figure out how to do a giveaway. I'll probably make my daughter do the drawing, so: (1) all names in by April 2, (2) drawing the weekend of April 6 and 7. Please remind me if I forget (see note about the days getting away from me in the post from two releases ago).
Oh, and I almost forgot. Yes, I did already cast on for one of the patterns and it's a fun knit. This one still needs finishing of the ribbing around the hand (in process) and on the thumb opening. I'd hoped to have it done in time for this post (well, I'd hoped to have a pair, but I always want to do more than is quite possible), however . . . I got most of the first one completed!
Baht 'At (check out the song, or Ann's book, for the meaning of the name):
Not entirely off-topic:
While I was finding links for this post, I discovered Moorland Pottery, which has a number of items I enjoyed looking at, some of them relating to sheepdogs, Herdwicks, other Lake District sheep (which look a whole lot like the Scots sheep, but then we're not talking representational art here), and what caught my eye first, the chickens in the wooly jumpers. . . . And yes, Yorkshire-themed items, including some that are "born and bred," which was how I ended up on the site.