yarn from the meadow - january
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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.
January – It can be a dull, grey month and the hedgerows have been stripped bare of hips, haws, and berries by the birds and squirrels, so there are few obvious splashes of colour as I walk the perimeter of the meadow. A closer look, however, reveals the trees are busy preparing for the next season and the sweet chestnuts that arch above the track running alongside the field are already dotted with plump buds. Tinged with rich, deep red and warm ochre, in sharp contrast to the bark and the grey sky framing them, and filled with promise.
Another day, another walk, and the light couldn't be more different! The low winter sun is welcome, even if it barely manages to rise above the hedgerow and as it grows in strength, by mid-morning the ancient oaks on the east side of the meadow are glowing, bathed in gold. I try to soak up the amazing light as I walk along the treeline, and it is almost intoxicating.
Both these shades are dyed on pightle | fingering/4ply - and one of the changes to this year's limited-run series is that I'll be dyeing both shades on the same base each month, but it'll vary through the year across all our favourite fingering/4ply weight yarns, and I'll introduce some new ones too!
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.