Why British Yarn?

I choose to dye only British Yarn for various reasons.

  1. We have 57 native British sheep breeds, 25 of which are considered rare. Supporting the British yarn industry helps to support the continued survival of these breeds so we don’t lose them forever.
  2. British sheep have a huge range of woolly characteristics, from the soft and squishy Bluefaced Leicester through the lustrous Wensleydale to the more rustic and hard wearing Herdwick. All of these characteristics have their use, and I’d like to provide options for all of them.
  3. I am a strong believer in supporting the environment wherever possible. Using British wool ensures animals are treated with high standards, as well as significantly cutting down the miles the wool travels to get to us.

British Yarn Bases

I use various sources for British yarn bases and am always on the lookout for new ones. It can be difficult to source many of the rarer wools due to their scarcity, so many of the bases I use are fairly well known.

I use the bases listed below on a regular basis, but special one-off British yarn bases are available from time to time.

  • BFL Masham blend – 4ply and DK
  • British Falkland Merino – 4ply and Laceweight
  • BFL Silk blend – 4ply
  • Corriedale Mohair blend – 4ply sock (read more about this blend here)

The yarn I sell requires gentle handwashing as it has not been superwash treated. You can read more about care of your yarn here. To create superwash yarn, extensive chemical treatments are used and often the yarn is coated in a thin layer of plastic. These processes destroy the natural characteristics of the wool. You can read more about the subject here.

Dyes

I use various makes of acid dyes to dye my wool. ‘Acid’ makes the dyes sound nasty and dangerous. However, the dyes themselves contain no acid, the name just means they require acid to work. The acids often recommended are vinegar or citric acid. I choose to use the latter to avoid the strong smell of vinegar, and also cut down on packaging as less is required to achieve the same level of acidity.

The acidic water required to dye with acid dyes has the advantage that it can be used many times. This reduces the amount of waste water significantly.

I reduce waste as much as possible by choosing my dyeing methods carefully. This means that I don’t use plastic wrap, single use cable ties, plastic bags or disposable trays, and I cut down on waste wherever possible.