Bowland DK is one of my longest-stocked yarns and has been with me since the very beginning of ECY in 2011!
Like the other siblings in the Bowland range, Bowland DK is pure superwash British Bluefaced Leicester (BFL). This wool is quintessentially British and isn't produced on a commercial scale anywhere else, so with a limited supply and ever-high demand it can be pretty costly. However, there's a reason it's always in high demand - it is so soft as well as being lustrous and shiny, and hard wearing too.
As with many other types of wool, there are varying grades of BFL wool which means the quality that suppliers use in yarns can be quite variable. We use the best quality we can get hold of because it's the softest and strongest. It is of course more expensive but I believe that you'll get more years of wear out of it so it works out better in the long run - that's my experience anyway.
One thing that I have noticed over the years is that BFL seems to vary from year to year. Some years it's been less or more lustrous, and some years it's been more creamy-coloured than others (and it's already more creamy than merino for in example). My guess is that it is affected by the year's weather and other variables, which shows through in the fleeces. This also means that the dye can take differently on the yarn, with colours looking a little different sometimes. the more yellowy colour of the yarn can warp the colours a bit - if you notice they look different on Bowland DK compared to say Titus DK (merino/silk), that's why.
We have a really interesting interview with Leigh from Hilltop Farm who has a variety of sheep including Bluefaced Leicesters HERE.
There's more info on BFL and how it differs from merino HERE.
Bowland DK knits and crochets to what I would call a standard DK tension, so I find that it works well on a 3.5mm hook or needles up to a 4.5mm hook or needles. Below you will see close up stitch detail for a knit project (Vodka Lemonade by BabyCocktails) and a crochet project (Bothel by Tracey Todhunter).
Bowland DK is a very versatile yarn; with good drape, stitch definition, wearability, and softness. I've used it for all manner of projects and 11 years later I'm still constantly wearing those items which barely even show any sign of wear.
For more pattern inspiration and to see how Bowland DK has been used check out our Projects and Patterns blog post HERE.