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Neighbo(u)rhood Sheep Society 2017 and the Alpaca Down Under

This post was written by Clare Devine of Knit Share Love.

When Jess and I embarked on our Neighbo(u)rhood Sheep Society adventure almost three years ago our big dream was to have some yarn spun specifically for this project. Back then we could never have imagined that we would be putting together a package with two custom spun yarns from opposite sides of the world!

As we know life ebbs and flows, back in early 2014 when we started chatting about sourcing small batch yarns, adding our own creative flair and sharing these designs with the world, I was living in Edinburgh. Fast forward to 2017 and I am sitting in my studio in Melbourne listening to the birds sing and gazing out at a blue summer sky.

When we decided to move to Australia I knew that I wanted to find a way to keep our Neighbo(u)rhood Sheep Society going. Jess and I are passionate about beautiful yarn and supporting local businesses so it made perfect sense to pair up a Scottish wool with some fabulous fibre from ‘down under’ as our first global NSS!

This is the story of when the Neighbo(u)rhood Sheep met the Neighb(u)rhood Alpaca…

The Yarn Story

When I started looking for small-batch yarn in Australia I knew I wanted something local, grown and spun in Australia, from a local business that was passionate about what they do. As there is very little wool spun in Australia on a small scale I thought it might be tricky to tick off all the things on my wish list, but I was pleasantly surprised when I came across Adagio mill in Orange, NSW. From the very moment I started to chatting to Nadine I knew I had found my passionate local business. From start to finish it has been a wonderful experience and I am sure you will love the yarn they have produced for this special design collaboration.

From the beginning Jess and I knew we wanted a soft grey yarn with a beautiful handle. Nadine knew just who to ask …

Let me introduce three fabulous black alpacas; Poetic Jack, Merlin and Layla. These cute little creatures live on a farm in Mudgee, NSW (about 200kms away from Adagio mill in Orange, NSW). Dale and Melanie Brown from Ravenswood Alpacas started working with alpacas in 2005. Until recently they had a relatively small plot of land so decided to specialise in breeding Black Huacaya, a decision I am very happy they made because the black fleece we have used for this yarn is utterly gorgeous.

Copyright Dale & Melanie Brown – Ravenswood Alpacas | Used with permission.

To get the soft cloud like grey we were aiming for we needed to blend this rich, luxurious black fleece with a soft creamy white. Nadine found the perfect white fibre from a collective of Alpaca Studs based on the Granite Belt and New England Tableland, an area of the Great Dividing Range that straddles the NSW and Queensland border.

The two batches of fibre came together and were processed and spun at Adagio to create the perfect companion yarn for our beautiful Scottish wool.

I have so much more to tell you about these wonderful yarns but I am going to save that for another day because I want to share a little bit about the kits we have created.

Neighbo(u)rhood Sheep Society 2017

To celebrate these fantastic fibre stories we have created a unique kit, packaged in one of our famous yellow Neighbo(u)rhood Sheep Society tote bags.

You will get 150g of Neighbo(u)rhood Alpaca, a deliciously soft and buttery 100% Alpaca yarn, grown and spun in Australia. This will be teamed with 100g of Bluefaced Leicester, grown and spun in Scotland. The Scottish yarn has been carefully dyed by Jess from Ginger Twist Studio. Drawing on her Scottish surroundings Jess has picked three stunning colours for you to choose from.

Opt for steely greys, inspired by Edinburgh cobble stones, rich burgundy tones, inspired by the colours from Outlander or something a little brighter, beautiful sea green tones, inspired by the ocean. These yarns combine beautifully in the Lammermuir shawl. A code will be included in your kit that allows you to download the digital PDF pattern.

Just click on the image below to purchase your kit today, very limited numbers left!

Copyright Design Seeds | www.design-seeds.com

Kits are available to pre-order and they will be sent out by Monday 13th March to coincide with Edinburgh Yarn Festival celebrations.

If you are coming to EYF2017 there is an option for you to collect the kit from the Ginger Twist Studio stand too!

Kits cost £49 (plus postage where applicable)

UK postage £4, Europe £10.50 and Worldwide £13.

Live in Australia?

I will be arranging local postage for any kits ordered within Australia. Local Australian postage costs £5.50.

Please select worldwide postage and Jess from Ginger Twist Studio will refund you the difference via paypal. Local parcels will be posted when I get back from Edinburgh on the 23rd March.

The Design

With these two fantastic fibres running through my fingers the inspiration flowed and I created one of my favourite shawl designs to date. I loved every single stitch. Lammermuir is the perfect balance between relaxing knitting and that rhythmic knitting where you find that happy balance between simple stitches and colour play.

Designed for Neighbo(u)rhood Sheep Society 2017:

where Neighbo(u)rhood Sheep meets Neighbo(u)rhood Alpaca.

This striking shawl is deliciously warm and beautifully easy to knit. Get acquainted with the gorgeous Australian Alpaca as you gently shape the body of the shawl. The simplicity allows you to enjoy every glorious stitch – this snuggly yarn has a marvellous handle and is a delight to work with.

Next you welcome the Scottish yarn, a little bit bouncier, beautifully spun and dyed to a rich wondrous shade. The two yarns dance effortlessly together as you create the feature colourwork panel. Slipped stitches keep the knitting interesting without being complicated.

As you near the end of your shawl, you bid farewell to your Aussie Alpaca and have a quiet moment with the hand-dyed Scottish beauty, simple stitches mean you can really enjoy every last moment with this wonderful yarn.

Every row of this shawl has been carefully designed to give you maximum knitting pleasure; always allowing these stunning small-batch yarns to take centre stage. The pattern is clear and easy to follow. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned knitter this shawl is bound to bring you hours of knitting delight.

 

Thank you for joining us on another Neighbo(u)rhood Sheep Society Adventure.

Copyright Dale & Melanie Brown – Ravenswood Alpacas | Used with permission.