Calling all yarn adventurers and those in search of soulful stash and place-based yarns!
Black Isle Yarns is the culmination of adventures in wool by my friend, Julie, owner of Black Isle Yarns. She lives on the Black Isle just across the Moray Firth from Inverness. My family live in Inverness and my grand-dad lived on the Black Isle, in Fortrose, so I know this beautiful part of Scotland, and I can attest, the fields are full of sheep! Julie is working with various farmers around the Black Isle to come up with blends of wool which she then has made into yarn at The Border Mill located in the Scottish Borders. I chose the Zwartbles with Cheviot blend because Cheviot is a quintessentially Scottish sheep, and the Zwartbles lends its bounce to the yarn making it lovely and woolly, resulting in a very Scottish skein.
This is only the second time I've been lucky enough to source yarn from Julie. She operates with small clips and has a thriving business based on the Black Isle. I am grateful to Julie for letting The Woolly Thistle enjoy her yarns and to share them with you. If you would like to see more of Julie's work, visit her website: Black Isle Yarns.
Meet the sheep and read more about the Black Isle on Julie's website Black Isle Yarns:
The farms where Julie sourced her wool for this yarn are: Hedgefield Zwartbles and Orrinside Croft, both on the Black Isle. Julie writes...
of Hedgefield: Hedgefield is the show name for Jim and Linda’s award winning flock of pedigree Zwartbles. Their sheep are a very handsome bunch! The flock is based on the edge of the small town of Beauly – set at the head of the Beauly Firth (just a few miles inland from the Black Isle) it earned the name Beauly after Mary Queen of Scots exclaimed ‘C’est un beau lieu’ when she visited in the 16th Century (or a slightly less romantic version suggests that the name comes from the French Monks who set up the Priory in 1230).
Jim clips his best youngsters early ready for the coming show season which means we are able to benefit from these ‘shearling’ fleeces. The wool has a softer handle than that of mature Zwartbles and the fleece is a beautiful rich bitter chocolate brown with less of the bleaching that comes in with age.
of Orrinside Croft: Jane is someone who is passionate about livestock and the land – not only does she work in a farm related role but she has a huge range of animals on her smallholding, including some very lovely sheep. Her land is on the edge of the Black Isle, not far from Beauly, and has beautiful views inland to Glen Affric and Cannich – a very lovely area with hill after hill on the horizon.
Her core flock consists of North Country Cheviots which are the main sheep around here. They’re not generally thought to have particularly exciting wool and it is often written off as being fit for carpets only. This is most definitely not the case with the fleeces from Jane’s flock!
Alongside her Cheviots Jane has some really special mixed breed ewes. You can tell from their names how much she loves and enjoys them! The ewes whose names I particularly love are Horse’s Daughter (Bluefaced Leicester-Cotswold-Cheviot cross), Monkey Face (possibly Gotland-Hebridean cross) and Frankenstein (Bluefaced Leicester-Cotswold-Cheviot cross).
Black Isle Yarns are gently and minimally processed by The Border Mill from real animals who enjoy an outdoor life (in beautiful surroundings, lucky beasts!) – consequently you may find the odd bit of vegetation in your yarn, these are easy to remove as you knit and, if you’re lucky enough to find some, I hope will remind you of the special animals who have grown your yarn!
- Fiber: 50% Zwartbles/50% Cheviot
- Farm: Hedgefield Zwartbles Farm & Orrinside Croft
- Clipping Year: 2017
- Color: Gray
- Skein Weight: approx. 100g
- Yarn Weight: DK
- Yardage: approx. 175y/100g
- Recommended needles: 3.00-5.5mm
Your yarn should be gently hand washed in cool water using pH neutral wool wash.
Please remember that every effort is taken to represent the true colors of the yarn and that monitor settings will vary.