Vintage Knitting, Retro Dressmaking, Make do and Mend, Original and Vintage Inspired Knitting Patterns, Vintage Inspired books

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Home and Away

Autumn has arrived in this part of the world, the days are getting shorter and cooler and the mornings often begin with a mist laying heavy over the valley. It’s a beautiful place to live and work, but at the moment, I’ve had little time to contemplate those lovely views.  We are hard at work knitting, finishing, writing, pattern sizing etc all day every day often through to the early hours to make the Vintage Shetland Project the best it can possibly be. 

Last week, we began a series of photoshoots which are going to be taking place over the coming month.  This first shoot included some of the garments from the Project. 

There were also new versions of favourite designs which are being relaunched as single patterns very soon.

Here's I am in photographer mode photographing our fabulous new house model Becky wearing 'Diamonds are Forever' (in a range of suitably sheepy shades) and surrounded by some of our sheep. You can see the 'rear' of our gorgeous new Icelandic ram as he's being fed by Becky. And below, you can just see me going to any lengths to get just the right shot! You can also see 'It Cannot Fail to Please' knitted in Excelana 4ply Damson Wine again being modelled by Becky, braving the brambles and nettles to harvest some of Monkley Ghyll's very own Damsons.

Here I am styling the lovely Becky in the beaded yoke jumper from Vintage Shetland Project with a spectacular 'skirt' created using 8 metres of Vaila Organic Shetland Tweed.

I was so pleased with the photos from this shoot and can't wait to share more of them. In fact if you come along to the Yarndale show at Skipton, North Yorkshire, this coming weekend more of the images will be on display along with some of the finished items from the book. There will also be the opportunity to pick our new promotional brochure with images and previews from the book itself. With so much to do, Gavin and I won't be manning the stand this year, but our wonderful friends and colleagues Tracy, Tess and Jo will be there to help everyone visiting our dedicated Vintage Shetland Project stand. So if you are coming to the show make sure you call at stand 100 to get the chance to see these beautiful pieces from the book and don't forget to pick up a preview brochure.

Due to the huge demand for Fenella during and since the pubslush campaign our stocks are extremely limited until more undyed yarn arrives in October ready to head off to the dyers. Therefore at Yarndale we are only taking orders for Fenella not selling it at the show. There will be lots of information about yarn quantities and colours for the patterns along with the chance to pre-order kits for the likes of the Rose Cardigan

Along with your brochure you can also pick up the new Fenella shade cards featuring all 25 of our gorgeous colours, including the new colours - Sloe Gin, Alta, Melancholy, Balado, Rannoch, Verdigris, Caramel and Dolly Blue (my favourite) - more about these very soon. Kits for designs made using Jamieson & Smith yarns and our other limited edition yarns will be available to order on the website before Christmas.

As I mentioned in my last blog post we've been welcoming many new family members to the farm and just this week we have had a very exciting new addition - Iris. Iris came to live at Monkley Ghyll only last week and has already made a huge difference to efficiency on the farm. Here she is. Our fabulous International 784 vintage tractor. She may look a bit rough around the edges but she's a hard worker and we love her.

When I revealed her on instagram a few days ago I was directed to the The Mike Sammes Singers who sung the jingle for a new version of the International tractor - it was for the 'hydrostatic' which is a much fancier version than ours, however the jingle is well worth a listen :)

Thank you to Felicity Ford for sending me the link to this.

Straight after the Yarndale show I’m heading off up the country to Shetland for Shetland Wool Week. I have a lot of non-wool week work to do for the book whilst I am there but will be hosting the Vintage Shetland Project Trunk Show at the Shetland Museum on Thursday 1st October from 1pm-4pm. There is no booking required and the event is free. I do hope to see some of you there.

For now,
Susan xx

Sunday, September 13, 2015

So that was the month that was...

I mentioned in my last blog post that things would be quiet around here whilst I got on with the myriad tasks in hand for the Vintage Shetland Project, as well as all the other tasks that go on anyway. But I didn't expect it to be a whole month between posts.

August has indeed been incredibly busy. In addition to the research, knitting, finishing, writing, planning etc that is going on just for Vintage Shetland Project alongside the general running of our business, there is an endless list of farm tasks to do as we try to ensure we are ready for the oncoming winter. For the first time we will also be putting our ewes to the tup so come next Spring we will have our first lambs born here at Monkley Ghyll.

Despite the loss of fleece in our barn fire we are lucky to still have a number of Zwartbles fleeces sourced from local farms which will soon be going off for spinning and today we head off to collect a batch of Shetland fleeces from another nearby farm which we hope to turn into yarn very soon too. So although it won't be fleece from our own sheep this year, it will be fleece from sheep who live all around us and I am very, very excited at the thought of these yarns getting spun and what they will be like when they return.

We have added a number of sheep and goats to our little family here at Monkley Ghyll, with some very exciting yarn ideas in mind.

Poppy, Molly, Aretha, Etta, Nina and Simone joined us recently. These beautiful Herdwick sheep have settled in very well, the steep hills and stony ground of our farm seem to appeal to them! Known for their less than soft fleece I am experimenting with a number of ideas enabling us to make good use of this unique fibre.

Alongside them are our two Angora kid goats - Jake and Ellwood - these two boys will produce kid mohair for around three years. Their coats grow at such a rate they can be clipped twice a year and will provide 10kg of mohair each per year.

There are a number of other new arrivals who I will tell you about next but I will leave it there for now as there is much to do as the days grow shorter and the air begins to smell of autumn...

And the autumn mists come rolling up the valley

I'll be back soon,

for now,
Susan xx