From fleece to finish
I’m fortunate to live in an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ in the North Pennines in the United Kingdom. It is here where I take inspiration for writing and designing ‘CDDesigns’ using fleece from the local sheep with whom I share this upland environment. I see the sheep around me, hence my byline ‘100% British from Fleece to Finish’. Knowing the provenance of the materials I work with inspired me to create my own yarn range.
The two special fleeces I use are Blue-Faced Leicester, and Zwartbles. It was the Zwartbles farmer who started me down this path. She told me the fleeces were burnt because there was little value in them from her small flock at the British Wool Board prices. Later, I saw the same farmer earning extra money in the local café. The next step (to help her) was simple: buy her fleeces and process them myself. The next step was to select and send to a mill that would handle the smaller quantities of fleece and have then returned to my chosen specification.
I followed a similar path with the marvelous Blue-Faced Leicester. With both breeds, all the yarn is from the same flock and same clip, and this adds to the beauty of these fibres. This is one of the most important facts regarding high quality wool in my mind and I adhere to this practice I adhere. Zwartbles add the chocolate-peat colour to my palette and if I mix the two fleeces prior to spinning it gives me the gritty grey color that is my trademark. This is so pleasing in my landscape as with any fiber I get my lovely earth color. Then I have the palette of three colors.
A finer two-fold two-ply has been added in Moorland Memories. The colors are Snow, Powder Pink, Berry, Grey and Dusty Blue, to match the colors that surround my North Pennines home.
By adding textures created during knitting and numerous striped ideas it really gives a huge amount of choice. I am constantly in touch with the mill to ensure I am producing the yarn that is right for my work and with the strength and softness I need. I use worsted spinning and once these skeins are delivered back to me they are twisted, labeled and ready to go into the studio or the shop. Until this autumn I only sold in my studio or online, but they are now available in Copenhagen, Denmark at Knitwork. I can ship this high provenance yarn worldwide.
I am the author of several knitting books and an avid 'Doubleknitter ‘, which is knitting a two-faced piece of material in either single or multiple colours. I teach this technique and have taught throughout the UK and Europe, and at many knitting festivals I am a regular returning teacher.
For more information and yarn ordering please refer to www.chrissiedaydesigns.co.uk.