My North Ronaldsay Arrow Shawl

Goodmorning, I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend. Yesterday I took myself off in my car to Haxby which is a village north of York city in search of real bread so very little knitting took place. I did, however, finally decide which Hap I was going to knit for the Knit British Hapalong that’s hap-pening (gotta love a pun eh?) on Ravelry right now. Anyway, I shall post properly about that next week. This week I want to post about my Arrow shawl because I never posted about it as a FO and whenever I wear it I get lots of lovely comments about it.


I knit the arrow out of two skeins of North Ronalsay 2ply that I got from Baaramewe years ago. Knitting this was an absolute joy because the yarn was so beautiful to knit with and the different options to decide how your shawl will turn out. I loved how it took the whole idea of knitting something personally unique one step further without having to actually do maths yourself. Totally brilliant! Ysolda has been one of my favourite designers since I joined Ravelry and this has to be my favourite of all her patterns so far.

My final choices for the clues were 1B, 2A, 3B, 3A, 3A, 3A, 4B, 5A. This enabled me to use up all of the two skeins that I bought and gave me a lovely big shawl to keep my neck and shoulders warm. I actually needed to spin some North Ronalsay roving to complete the last 6 rows because I ran out and the yarn was out of stock.


North Ronaldsay yarn has a lovely rustic look to it as you would expect from a primative Breed of sheep that live on the coast of North Ronaldsay eating seaweed for most of the year. There are fine black hairs that run through the yarn that almost look like guard hair but they aren’t stiff or scratchy or noticeable on the skin at all. It’s lovely and soft and light and snuggly with lovely stitch definition. Seriously, if you get the chance to buy some of this, don’t pass it up.



Despite being worn almost continuosly since I knit it, it still looks good as new, no pilling or other signs of wear. I know it’s a shawl and not a garment but it really has been worn and worn. I will definitely be buying more North Ronaldsay yarn in the future, maybe for a Hap shawl in all the various natural shades. Mmm, Hap shawls…

Black Welsh

So I decided to spin the Welsh black tops next.  Because I don’t have to make any decisions about dyeing it before or after spinning or decide how I’m going to spin it and subsequently learn any posh techniques, I’m thinking about the Shetland here and how to get the best out of it.  Also it has been in the fibre stash the longest after the Wensleydale so really  it has to be first in, best dressed and all that.

Anyway, I have become completely in love with it.  It spins like a dream and the singles are turning out to be very beautiful and not what I expected at all.  Welsh black is often describes as quite a coarse yarn and not one you would wear next to your skin.  But while the tops are definitely not merino soft they are also not at all carpet harsh and have a rich, demi-lustre to them that is very appealing, I also think it smells pleasantly sheepy.  It is delightfully easy to draft and so far I have managed to create lovely even singles.

I’m going to spin up 2 singles and ply them, again I’m working on even-ness in thickness and of twist, not that I’m trying to achieve mill-spun regularity because that’s absurd and I don’t want to lose the charm of hand-spun-ness.

One thing that spinning this yarn has done though is to get me thinking about buying a wheel again.  The reason is, I can absolutely see me very happy to spin a jumpers worth of Welsh black, I’m loving it so much and that’s not easy on a spindle.  In fact I used to own a Welsh black cabled jumper some 20 years ago, I bought it from Freemans catalogue but it got inadvertently felted.  I know Blacker yarns do aran weight and chunky weight in Welsh black but it would be heaps more fun to spin my own jumper.  I’m thinking an Idlewood by Cecily Glowik MacDonald or Vivian by Ysolda Teague would be lovely.  Anyway those are projects for a later date in the meantime I have to actually spin this yarn.  The weather is being very obliging and we are having thundery rain at the moment, perfect spinning and knitting weather.  I shall put the kettle on and get to it, I’ll talk more when I have something finished to show you.

ttfn Melanie x

3rd parcel

My 3rd parcel arrived yesterday while I was out at work.  I’m sooo happy, squeeeeeee!

It’s 113g of Wensleydale top from .  I fell in love because of the beautiful colours and also because the fibre is Wensleydale, we had many a wonderful day out in Wensleydale and the Wensleydale sheep are super cute.

All I have to do now is find me a drop spindle and have a go.  I was hoping to start a beginners spinning course this weekend with the Handweavers and spinners guild but they are full so I shall have to wait patiently till October for the next one.

In the meantime, I have booked next week off work so I can knit to my heart’s content and hopefully explore some yarny and handmade shops around Melbourne.  Hopefully I can pick up a drop spindle and some advice and some ingredients to start my dyeing adventures, I also need some fat quarters to play at making buttons.  So many lovely crafts, so little time.  My main mission though is to complete Ian’s socks and my clapotis so that I can begin to make progress on my two neglected cardigans and get to wear them before Summer hits us.

Hope you have a fibrelicious weekend x