SunShine, Lollipops and John Arbon

This weekend I had an adventure to Devon…… well the sun was shining;  I had booked a visit round the mill weeks ago and there wasn’t much on the telly so …………..

I closed up a bit early on Saturday and off we went.. himself like to drive so I get to admire the scenery. Lots of spring flowers and suddenly lots of flies but the swallows are back!!! (It is really summer when the fly catching birds are back). Off we went to South Molton, one of Britain’s small places you have never heard of until you have… an overnight (or two) in a nice little Georgian B&B. It was a shop visit to see the mill – a small modern shed tucked away at the back of an industrial estate, not a glamorous setting for a wool mill. The point of John Arbon is/was to save unloved wool making ‘mechanicals’ (wonderful Victorian and later, spinning machinery destined for the furnace of reuse). Loud clacking things, which are re loved with names like Kevin and Clint (that reminded me of minions) and given continued purpose — to produce yarn with a bit of character and uniqueness. The once a year Tour de Mill should be seen by everybody. Every machine has a different job in processing the wool from clean fleece to yarn. Everyone who works there, know how it all works, – small team thinking – so people can take holidays and the work keeps going. I learnt that: worsted wool is a process using long staple (fleece depth) and can be spun finer than woollen spun.

The majority of the worsted yarn the mill produces is sold direct from them (see here) or at yarn shows, RedApple has sold their Exmoor sock yarn and I want to buy more. Sadly for me the new range is starting production this week and will be available in September/October!!! Twitch Twitch ……So well I had to buy something to knit didn’t I?? Harvest hues in thistle, some Alpaca for a shawl, a lonely sock skein and some open day special spin.  Oh and I got some fabric in Hereford on the way home.

Blue blue blue ………..

I have finished working on some new cushion covers based on double cloth patterns, after last years Chunky success. The New Lanark Mill yarns are so nice to work with and have a nice tweedy effect. In a hunt for bag handles to go with, I came across Peter and Ali at the Leather Handle Company on etsy. They are based just down the road and offered to bring in a sample for me to try. As we chatted I asked about leather buttons….. Anyway it has led them to producing these and they go great with Aran cushions covers!!!

They sell for £5 as a price for the double button which I think is fair based on the the quality of the product and the range of colours. They make great brooches too.

The latest cover pattern has linen stitch flaps and a simple fairisle pattern body. It worked up quickly in the round.

The last effort this month has been with the linen cotton mix Linen Lux from woolyknit.

It took 100g of the green and 50g each of the 3 other colours. I increased at both end of the row on every row and in the centre on every alternate row. The shawl has long drapey tails which curl up when worn. The yarn feels quite stiff in the hank but softens as you work it and again when washed (in the top larger picture). The shawl did go on a bit and casting off the picot edge took nearly 2 afternoons!!

There is some of the gold colour left I might be tempted to make a T top with it.