As we head towards summer here in Yorkshire, I thought it would be good to do a round up of what’s been happening at ECY Shedquarters over the past month. I’ll go through it in chronological order.
We started out with something we’re particularly proud of which was a donation of £960 to Sarah Holmes’ Flower Power Fund, which is an ongoing fundraiser for Marie Curie. Sarah’s been doing the Flower Power Fund for a few years now and I think we’ve been involved every year so far, usually dyeing an exclusive flower-inspired yarn and selling it over the course of the month. This year we did Water Lilies inspired by Monet’s painting of the same name and we sold it throughout April. In all honesty with the recession (or ‘cost of living crisis’ as they’re calling it) and retail at an all time low I wasn’t sure what to expect but our trusty fans were out in force and sales went really well. Yarn Undyed kindly supplied the yarn for free which was a huge help and meant that we were able to donate 50% of the takings to Marie Curie. The Flower Power Fund is open for donations all year so if you would like to donate you can do that HERE.
Next up we had a big hand dyed yarn update of Oakworth 4ply. This is a 100% superwash Polwarth wool yarn with 400m/100g so it’s a standard 4ply thickness. We have a blog post about the wonderful sheep this yarn comes from HERE. A projects and patterns post is in progress and will be added in the future. If you have any project pics for any of our yarn galleries please do send them to us!
It was quite a long time since we last did Oakworth 4ply and I’m really pleased at the reception it received. It’s not the softest yarn if you’re used to our extrafine merino but it’s certainly soft enough for next to skin wear and it’s nice to have something a bit different. It’s also sturdy enough for pure wool socks which is pretty cool. You can find Oakworth 4ply HERE. It does also have a DK sibling but I’m going to carry on with restocking our lighter yarns during the warmer months before I go back to thicker ones. Not that I don’t want to do them yet but I just don’t have time to do everything all at once so I have to choose carefully what’s coming next.
There was an extra motive for doing this yarn though: Rachel Illsley’s Kismet sweater pattern was released and it calls for Oakworth 4ply as one of the yarns in her original sample. If you haven’t seen it the pattern is available on Rachel’s Payhip HERE as well as on Ravelry. It’s a colourwork top so it has stranded colourwork from the yoke down to roughly the waist, and there are three background colours plus a more contrasting fourth colour. The advice for choosing colours is to go for a sort of fade (light at the top, dark at the bottom) plus a pop. We put together a selection of hand dyed yarn packs for it - it was overwhelming trying to decide initially so I decided to do one for each of the four seasons. We named the original colour palette Winter, and put together Spring, Summer and Autumn too. There were some variations on a couple of them because it was too hard to choose just one option!
We also put together lots of Milburn 4ply Kismet sweater packs: these can be permanently stocked because of Milburn 4ply coming in much bigger dyelots. They’re also a bit more budget friendly compared to hand dyed yarn, as you might expect. You can find all Kismet yarn packs HERE.
Next up we had a few more pattern releases using our yarn! Little Theorem Knits released her Dairsie Aran Cardigan which calls for Bowland Aran - that’s our 100% superwash Bluefaced Leicester; a lovely woolly and quite lofty yarn. Dairsie Aran Cardigan is available on the Little Theorem website HERE as well as on Ravelry; she had a discount on the pattern and the yarn in her newsletter so if you’re interested it would be worth signing up for that. I appreciate that there’s not much Bowland Aran in stock right now (see my previous comment about lighter yarns!) but there’s lots of Brimham Aran which is a newish addition to our collection and is superwash extrafine merino/nylon. The cardigan - which has deep V on the back and front and an all-over lace pattern - uses four to nine skeins depending on your size. Did you know you can browse our website according to how many skeins are in stock of each yarn? So if you need say five skeins for Dairsie you can go in the Yarn menu and hit the link ‘Five or more skeins available’ to browse what’s available.
Talking of aran - our next pattern news is that our Swainby Hat pattern is at the end of being test-knitted and should be released soon. It uses one skein of aran and the texture works just as well with variegated yarns as semi-solids. Although variegated yarns do hide the fabric texture a bit the payoff is that the texture breaks up the colours in a variegated yarn really nicely (or at least it has done in the samples I’ve seen). Anyway, watch this space for the pattern release! If you’d like to browse our currently available patterns you can do so HERE - there are lots of filters in the Patterns menu too which should be useful.
The next pattern release was Leafy Socks by Justyna aka Lete’s Knits. These are part of her Socks Yeah! collection (not to be confused with the collection and yarn of the same name by Coop Knits/Rachel Coopey) and they call for Oakworth DK. As you already know, there’s no Oakworth DK in stock at the moment but you could go for Milburn DK instead, or you could even go for Hayton DK for a soft and more luxurious pair of socks. The pattern for Leafy Socks is HERE and on Ravelry; and you can browse all of our DK yarn HERE.
Whilst this lot was happening we were busy preparing our next update which was Tempo 4ply. This is our proper socky sock yarn which I have been dyeing since 2008 (ECY was born in 2011)! It’s superwash merino/nylon but it’s not the extrafine merino that’s in most of our other merino yarns, so it’s a bit more coarse. That means it’s extra-hardwearing and tough, however it is also still soft enough for next to skin wear and I am wearing a sweet little one-skein shawl made in it as we speak (Spindrift by Curious Handmade). I had WAY too much fun dyeing up this update and produced 40 (!) colourways to choose from. If anything it was hard to tear myself away from it and call it done. You can find Tempo 4ply HERE.
As if all this wasn’t enough, we’re not done yet. There was another pattern release towards the end of the month which was Flock Socks by Hanna Gough aka Germander Cottage Crafts. These socks call for Oakworth 4ply (which was handy seeing as we’d just restocked!) And they have a memorable stitch pattern which looks like little butterflies IMO. They’re really pretty. You can find the Flock Socks pattern HERE.
That brings me nicely (almost as if I planned it!) onto my next item - new blog posts! We have a few. I know it’s maybe not that outwardly obvious but we publish new blog posts fairly often. They tend to go into the various different sections though rather than the main ECY News section so you need to go looking for them. I’ve never really liked the layout or functionality of the blog on our website but we have no choice in the matter and we do our best with it. It’s a big and valuable resource though - we have absolutely all sorts in there!
Anyway, so the new blog posts are: an interview with Hanna (HERE); Tempo 4ply Projects and Patterns (HERE); and Pendle Sport intro (HERE). Hanna’s interview is so worth a read - she provided us with really thoughtful and insightful answers. The Tempo 4ply Projects and Patterns post is long overdue - adding blog posts for every single yarn base we have has been a huge project and it’s ongoing, so there are still some other ones missing. The Pendle Sport post is an introduction to this yarn added to our range this year and includes projects from our trusted yarn testers!
Finally.. the Shedcast is back! That’s our YouTube channel which is accurately called The Wholly Irregular ECY Shedcast. I’ve been trying to return to it over the past 18 months and it keeps not happening because getting everything set up, recording for an hour or so, putting everything away, uploading the video, attempting to edit it (which I’ve never got to grips with) and then finally it’s ready and I’ve wasted loads of time that I could have spent dyeing.. So my latest decision is that I’ll do short weekly updates where I just talk to the camera. No faffing about getting boxes of yarn and samples out then having to put them all away again, and with short videos they’re much quicker to upload too. My latest (short) episode is HERE although this week’s is due shortly too; and I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Do you prefer long or short Shedcast updates? Does a shorter weekly one work for you?
On that note, I’ve now spent all morning writing all this so I’d better go and rinse the yarn that’s currently stewing and get on with setting up the next batches!