Born and Bred is a pattern book that uses Yorkshire yarns and is designed by Yorkshire designer, Ann Kingstone. When I first spotted this book at the end of last year I thought it was a wonderful idea, educating knitters on different yarn varieties and supporting local businesses.
I’ve known Ann for several years now and I’ve watched her go from strength to strength in her designing. This book is a collaboration between Ann and Baa Ram Ewe and it works beautifully. The casual layout with typewriter style font and a textured beige background create the perfect backdrop for this collection making it a pleasure to read. There is a huge range of projects and knitting styles in the book from stranded colourwork to cables with a felted project added in for good measure along the way!
I love the unique factor in this book that links the yarn, project and designer so tightly together so I wanted to find out a little more from Ann about this.
How did this booklet start for you and Baa Ram Ewe?
Last February I did a talk at baa ram ewe’s new season launch, after which I stayed to chat with Verity and Jo (owners) about developing my business, especially my branding. They gave me a lot of feedback, particularly emphasising how my branding should truly represent who I am and what I do. An obvious theme we discussed was my identity as a Born and bred Yorkshire lass. The next day Verity rang and suggested that we do a book together with a Yorkshire theme, using Yorkshire wools. I was instantly enthused!
Was the process of writing and designing this book and education for you in Yorkshire yarns?
Actually, I was already familiar with Yorkshire yarns, especially the Wensleydale longwools. I have been on woolly pilgrimages all over Yorkshire in search of true Yorkshire wools. It’s a passion that began for me as a teenager when I learned to spin. It was wonderful though to work with the new yarns that baa ram ewe have created – Titus (a Wensleydale and alpaca blend) and Rare (a Whitefaced Woodland and Hebridean blend).
Do you have a yarn favourite after working with the different yarns?
baa ram ewe’s Titus is a beautiful yarn with a very lovely handle, and I love it! They’ve just brought out naturally darker and lighter versions, and have also had a range of colourways produced in the yarn by The Knitting Goddess. It is very deservedly popular!
It looks like you used 4 different sheep varieties, Wensleydale longwool, Masham, Whitefaced Woodland and Swaledale. How do the different wools compare?
The Masham yarns I used (Rowan British Sheep Breeds chunky and Jarol Aran) have a lot more spring than the Wensleydale yarns. These are the two fibres most suited to jumpers. The Whitefaced Woodland is a little rougher, though still appropriate for most knitwear. The Swaledale is very rough though, with lots of kemp in it (wiry hairs!) and is truly only suited to outerwear. It produces beautiful felt though, and would make fabulous felted bags and accessories. I love the Swaledale Clogs I made with it – so cosy!
Did the qualities of the different wools influence your design decisions?
To some extent, eg it was obvious the Swaledale was inappropriate for a jumper. However, the qualities imposed by the spinning method and finishing made more difference to my design decisions than the inherent qualities of the actual fibre. The bulky character of ‘Rare’ (Whitefaced Woodland wool) begged for large cables, while the Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop yarn was at that time the only one with a colour range appropriate for stranded designs (this was before baa ram ewe introduced other shades of Titus). And the Jarol ‘spoke to me’, demanding to be made into a something resembling a Celtic nun’s habit! Truly it did: the subdued colour and rustic quality of the yarn were so evocative of this theme.
So if you want to get your hands on this book just leave your Ravelry name below and let me know what your favourite project from the book is! I’ll draw a winner on Friday.