Craft Focus - Page number 14 - October/November 2021 (Issue 87)

14 KNITTING FEVER INC. Often abbreviated as ‘BFL’ Bluefaced Leicester hails from Leicestershire in the English Midlands and is so named because the sheep’s face appears to have a blue tint due to the dark skin underneath the short white hair. Originally bred for its meat rather than wool, in the 18 th century, selective breeding methods sought to develop a multi- purpose breed of sheep that also produced a soft fleece. Not until the early 1960s, however, was the Bluefaced Leicester Sheep Breeders Association formed to promote the breed. Described as shiny, lustrous and even creamy, BFL contains a 6in staple and is considered ‘long-staple’ wool. As such, the resulting yarn yields hard-wearing garments, like sweaters and other outerwear. However, the wool is not just strong, it is soft. The individual fibres of a Bluefaced Leicester sheep typically measure 24-28 microns in diameter. And because the wool of the Bluefaced Leicester is curled–rather than crimped–the resulting fibre has excellent drape. You can experience this wool by creating a garment with Bluefaced Leicester yarn, a new yarn from Juniper Moon Farm. Spun from 100 per cent BLF wool, and put up with a ‘Shetland twist’, it’s a superior hand-knitting yarn because of its soft and lustrous qualities. Currently, it’s available in 12 shades. DOODLECRAFT DESIGN Hot off the press from DoodleCraft Design and inspired by the garden outside the company’s studio and the quote ‘Kind hearts are the garden…’ by the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, is a new design stitched in cross stitch and blackwork embroidery. The design is available as a full kit, which includes everything you need to stitch the design, or a chart only kit which includes the chart and all the instructions. ‘My Garden’ includes flowers, fruits, butterflies, ladybirds and birds and measures 14in x 14.5in (35cm x 36cm) and uses 30 DMC thread colours. +44 (0)1333 429 597 HAWTHORN HANDMADE Switch off and immerse yourself in the repetitive stitching of these brand-new doodle patterns. Every season is represented, from the fresh greens of spring to the cool blues of winter and all the everyday things we love as the weather changes and the year moves on. Designed by Stephanie Carswell, these complete kits come with pre- printed fabric and a colour and stitch guide to help you get doodle stitching straight away. +44 (0)1258 863 873 KNITTING FEVER INC. Located in the rolling green foothills of South Island, New Zealand, is a small family-owned and operated sheep farm owned by several generations of the same native family. Since 1982, the Gardner family have been producing highly sought- after wool of the highest calibre by carefully breeding a special flock of sheep featuring only natural-coloured animals, mostly black, brown and grey. Their yarn, HAUNUI, translated as place of the winds , is a fusion of New Zealand Halfbred and Fine Romney stock. Line-bred for generations to ensure the very highest quality, HAUNUI carries a micron count of 22-24. Each fleece is meticulously checked, tracked and graded to ensure the best selection of quality and colour. Animal welfare is of chief importance here. “We are of the understanding that in order to preserve these coloured sheep, their wool has to be something to be loved and enjoyed,” says chief shepherdess Harriet Gardner. From New Zealand, the fleece is exported to NORO, in Japan, where it’s lovingly carded and spun with great respect for the wool’s natural qualities. According to founder Eisaku Noro, “Natural fibres have great features that humans can’t mimic. I want to leave these features as much as possible in my yarns.”