Base Hunting

What’s in a base ? Yarn weight, spinning method, handle, staple lengths, blends v single breed, eventual use, provenance. The head starts to spin and respect for mill folk rises.

So it takes time to make these decisions. I have tried not to be lazy and instantly order what many dyers seem to use, although many of these bases are excellent.

After a year of experimenting I have come to the conclusion that I have to stock what I am passionate about knitting and spinning and what sits well with my thoughts on provenance and animal care.

The exploration into silk and silk blends continues, as does mohair. I love a mohair blend…and a silk-mohair blend, but provenance can be hard to establish.

But my first definite (limited edition) base is 100% Shetland light DK woollen spun yarn from Coldicott Shetlands. The sheep are raised half an hour from my house in Plymouth and the wool is spun half an hour the other way in Cornwall.

It is a beautiful yarn: soft, elastic and squashy. It is blended from black and white fleece, giving a steely grey which is fantastic to overdye resulting in increased depth and vitality in the final colour.

My first sample project is INSULATE! which I knitted on 4.5mm and 5mm needles to achieve the largest size. This is a free pattern, combining my love/terror of graphic patterns and Daleks. The yarn, dyed with Brazilwood and Old Fustic, is perfectly suited to colourwork.

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