I started knitting about 4 and a half years ago, for all sorts of reasons. I think firstly it was to challenge myself to learn a new skill and craft. In doing so I was keeping my mind and body busily active. The result of creating something with my own hands was the by-product, which itself brought lovely feelings of satisfaction . The pleasures of knitting do delve deeper into the psyche of course, which I wasn’t myself purposely seeking out (as far as I’m aware!) However, I have and do continue to reap the rewards of those mindful endeavours, even if not consciously realising it.
So those early days of casting on and patiently trying to decipher the codes in front of me, were I have to say the main focus of my attention. I was always drawn to working with natural fibres of pure wool or plant based yarns, however I had in truth never given much thought to where the yarn was coming from and the standards of animal (and human) welfare involved in the production. I just picked a nice looking yarn and KNIT!
Gradually though over time, I have become more aware, and thus more driven to seek out yarns which have been produced ethically. A few months ago, I had also started romanticising about how good it would be if I could find a local yarn producer, to use 100% wool and support the industry on my doorstep. No air-miles, less ‘footprint’ and of course supporting a business in my locality. You can see where this may be leading!!
Would you believe it I found one! Literally 15mins down the road at that! Doulton Border Leicester Yarn is proudly owned and run by Ellie Stokeld. Ellie owns a beautiful flock of Border Leicesters, which are a rare breed of British sheep. Her journey from owning two Border Leicester’s 23 years ago to now owning the largest flock in the country (of over 300), is a story of love, passion and dedication. Ellie knows all of her sheep individually and all of her flock will live out their lives in full, never to be slaughtered. I have been lucky enough to meet and spend some time with Ellie and her flock, where I have been able to see first hand how much these animals mean to her.
And after meeting the sheep…..I met THE WOOL!!
And what wool this is. A stunning array of colours with most names inspired by the countryside of North Yorkshire. I chose to try the stunning Uschi Pink in a DK weight, and set about making the Rainy Day Mitts from The First Yorkshire Moors Collection pattern book.
Such a pretty pair of fingerless mittens, the wool really is a treat to work with, and has such wonderful stitch definition.
I made two pairs from the 100g skein and was able to send a pair off to my sister for her birthday…. I think she likes them!
In every sense of the word this is a feel good yarn, which has given knitting a whole new perspective for me. I can’t tell you how special it is to knit with the wool from a sheep that I have seen with my own eyes. I know I am certainly looking forward to many more collaborations, with another who I can proudly call my local. Now which colour to choose? You can find Doulton Border Leicester at www.doultonborderleicesteryarn.com, on the Ravelry group Doulton Border Flock, ETSY and on Instagram – doultonborderleicesters