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far fields


One of Suzie's favorite things about traveling in the UK is the opportunity to look out over the countryside. She revel's in quintessential English landscape - market towns, stone church spires, climbing wisteria, clematis and roses, occasional thatched roofs and most especially herds of sheep grazing on green fields. Suzie lives in the southwestern US. Her hometown lies just where the desert meets the mountains. It's an arid landscape, populated by desert scrub, dry canyons, jagged mesas and distant mountain ranges. To see sheep grazing in rich, green fields (that don't require irrigation) feels like a miracle! Plus, since she knits and loves to spin yarn, she feels a special affinity for sheep. How could she not love an animal that offers up a yearly harvest from which we may make all manner of useful, beautiful things? This garment is inspired by - and is my ode to - those fluffy beasts. To sheep! Long may they grow wool for us!

about the yarn

Whistlebare's Yeavering Bell 4 ply yarn (fingering weight, 380 yds/350 m, 100 gr, 80% mohair/20% Wensleydale wool) 2 skeins OR 700-800 yards of similar weight (fingering/4 ply/sock/sport) yarn. For longer length, add a third skein or 200-300 additional yards of similar weight yarn. Shown in the colors Sheep's Chomp (green) and Cuthbert's Rest (yellow).

About the yarn: There's something very, very special about fiber farms that care for animals and land, gather the resultant wool and produce yarn from their own flocks. They are shepherds in the fullest sense of the word. Located in Northumberland, the northernmost county of England, Whistlebare is a perfect example of this type of enterprise. We are inspired by the attentiveness, integrity and high standards exhibited in every step of their process. The family-run farm keeps pedigreed flocks of Angora goats for a harvest of fine quality mohair. They also keep Wensleydale sheep - a magnificent old British breed that produces long-stapled, lustrous wool. By combining the two, Whistlebare has created a yarn with fantastic hand, drape and color saturation. It's called Yeavering Bell. If you've tried knitting, weaving or crocheting with and/or wearing mohair and have not been very successful (or even very enthusiastic about your experience), you are in for a big surprise. Just 20% wool added to the mohair makes a huge difference in the characteristics of the yarn. Yeavering Bell is truly unique. And in our opinion, a showstopper of a yarn.

about the designer

Suzie Briddsang is a guide and tour manager for Rowan Tree Travel. She designed this shawl while picturing herself wrapped in it at home, in front of the fireplace, and also with it draped across her as she tries to sleep during long, international flights. As a designer, Suzie is adamant that wearables incorporate craftsmanship, utility and joy - in their making and then in the wearing. In the words of William Morris, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." Suzie would say that sentiment is appropriate for our closets as well. Clothes that work hard, suit many situations and are a joy to make and wear - well, that's where the magic lies. The Far Fields is her second pattern offering in collaboration with Rowan Tree Travel. Suzie is also an avid travel writer and loves visiting fiber animals at every destination. Travel along by visiting her blog.

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