Last week I posted a picture of special yarn that had arrived at the Treehouse just a couple of days before. My hands were itching to knit with this gorgeous yarn. I started this hat and two days later I, during the opening of the Olympic Games, I was binding off this special project.
About the yarn, like some of you guessed it was indeed a picture of Shetland wool. But it isn’t “just” Shetland wool, it’s Foula wool! Foula is Shetland’s most remote island. It is a teeny-tiny Island, with under 40 people living there. Post only arrives here once every few weeks and many of the inhabitants don’t even have electricity in their homes. Their main source of income is crofting, at least up till now…perhaps it will change in the future, since the island’s inhabitants have started a new venture recently. Instead of keeping sheep and selling them for the meat, Foula is now a wool-producing island. They decided to send some wool samples to a spinning mill to see whether they could venture into the wonderful world of yarn. When the spun yarn came back from the mill the results were even better than they dared hoping! They knew from the start that they wanted to make yarn for knitters, because “These were the people who would be able to appreciate all the care and effort that goes into creating something.” Why yes. We do indeed!
Foula’s remote and rugged landscape contribute to the character and quality of the wool. Throughout the years foula’s sheep have stayed the same and were not subject to cross-breeding. So Foula’s sheep are still much like the first Shetland sheep on the island. Foula wool is one of the last yarn producers that completely shears all the wool by hand. You can see the process in this video that Foula wool put on youtube, and wovember wrote an article about it.
Now, about the project itself. This hat combines some of my favourites; my favourite designer, favourite yarn, favourite colours (I’m going trough a major sheep/natural colour phase) and my favourite drink of all time: tea. Ever since its first appearance on Kate’s blog I knew it was inevitable that one day I would make this pattern. I made this into a more fitted beanie, not because I didn’t like Kate’s slouchy version, but because I recently made quite a few slouchy hats and thought it was time for something more fitted. I achieved this by going down a few needle sizes.
There are many, many ways to categorize people and one of them is whether you are a coffee or a tea kind of person. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve got my feet firmly planted on the tea side. I’ve been drinking unhealthy amounts of tea (is there even such a thing?) ever since I was a wee girl, and I can get very cranky if I miss my morning tea. My boyfriend on the other hand is very much a coffee kind of person. He didn’t even drink tea when I first met him…*gaspdramagasp* It’s an obstacle we’ve since then overcome 😉 Now I have a hat with jolly tea pot on it…so nobody can doubt my love of tea leaves any more!
Anyway, this was a fun project to work on, and it just flew of my needles.I loved the natural, rugged foula wool. I love and support these small, independent companies who do things their own way in their own time. Now I will now continue my epic quest to find, and try out wool from every small and remote place I can find. My next obsession is the Faroe Islands…and yes they do make yarn!