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yarn from the meadow - february

snowdrop – hoo | sock (100g)
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#YarnFromTheMeadow takes inspiration from the small hay meadow that we live next to. A few acres of tussocky grass, grown to be cut for hay or silage, depending on the weather, and occasionally used as grazing for the cattle that are raised on the fields all around us. Bounded by an avenue of sweet chestnuts on one side, ancient oaks on the other and with a scruffy hedgerow bordering the lane, it's home to rabbits, mice, shrews, and voles; a hunting ground for a beautiful barn owl and untold kestrels and buzzards. Adjacent to fox earths, and badger setts, and criss-crossed with the well-worn tracks of the muntjac, fallow, and roe deer that pass through, I walk it with the dog, with Chris, and sometimes just to breath in the air and turn my face to the sun. And I take photos, endlessly. Of the views, the sky, the weather, the flora and fauna, the changing of the seasons.

I'll be using all of the above as inspiration for this year's limited-run series. Two shades each month throughout 2024, dyed on a variety of fingering weight yarn bases, using the dye technique that creates our gorgeous ~flash~ shades.

February – So far this month we've had a lot more rain and a fair amount of grey gloom but the mornings and evenings are lighter and there are already signs of spring if you seek them out. I spotted the first blackthorn blossom yesterday – always a truly mood-lifting moment – but the snowdrops have been putting on a glorious show for a couple of weeks already! At the edge of the meadow, where the bank slopes down into rough scrub, covered with last year's bracken, there are little clumps of these delicate flowers that are the first harbinger of a new season. Chris took the photo that inspired this shade on one of his morning strolls, when the light was perfect, and I've simply called it snowdrop.

While we are busy seeking out the light and the first signs of spring, one of my favourite glimpses of colour is more evident when the days are overcast and the hedgerows are bare. The zingy ochre/lime/citrine Xanthoria parietina lichen that grows on the blackthorn, hawthorn and hazel that surrounds the meadow is supposed to be evidence of clean air, although I think it can also be a sign that the local farmers are being heavy-handed with their nitrogen-based fertilisers! Whatever the reason, I love this particular shade of yellow and the contrast against the bare grey/brown wood is perfect and always a welcome sight when the skies are grey! It has lots of common names; yellow scale, common orange lichen, shore lichen, but it's also known as maritime sunburst lichen, so I've called this shade sunburst.

Both these shades are dyed on hoo | sock - our stalwart sock yarn with 425m per 100g skein and a blend of 75% upcycled merino wool and 25% nylon.

We use professional acid dyes with good light and wash fastness and do our best to exhaust every dye bath and reuse water wherever possible to reduce any further environmental impact. Occasionally a small amount of 'loose' dye may remain in the yarn after rinsing (most likely with deeply saturated shades) and we always recommend hand washing in very cool water and pre-washing your yarn separately if you are intending to mix light and dark shades in a single garment/project. 

We recommend hand washing your finished projects in cool water to preserve the vibrancy of the dye and, as with all small-batch, hand-dyed yarn that doesn't have dye lots, we also recommend knitting alternate rows from two skeins when working on larger projects to avoid noticeable changes between skeins.