SAORSE - The Making of a New Yarn
Saorse is the Gaelic word for Freedom.
Over the past few years I have been free to follow a special journey to create a new yarn. A yarn which is made from fleece grown in Scotland from rare breeds which is also spun in Scotland on machinery in the Hebrides. Incredibly my first Gotland wool blend was spun on the same machinery when it was in a mill in Kintyre in the 1980's.
For me the story begins many years ago on the Tibetan plateau in the High Himalayas, where I was traveling and teaching knitting. I fell in love with Cashmere here...the finest from the Changtang valley in Ladakh. There is a long story dating back to the 18th century as to how this precious fibre came to Scotland via India and Persia to be spun using ingenious machinery created in Scottish mills. So it feels so right to have this fibre being spun once again in Scotland and re-creating that special link between the Himalayas and the Hebrides!I wanted to use this cashmere with wool to make a truly Scottish blend. Having worked with Uist Wool, on North Uist in the Outer Hebrides as they were developing I asked if they would consider spinning wool with cashmere and happily they were delighted to help!
So working with different sheep breeders I chose Texel, Blue Face Leicester, Cheviot and Shetland Lambswool to make our unique blend. The Fleece from the Shetland sheep ”descend directly from several family generations of sheep farming in Lerwick and Unst on the UK's northern most sheep farm”: now happily settled in Fife.
During the development of this yarn I spent an unforgettable week with Maddie and Neil at Uist Wool, where they worked their magic to spin the yarn on machinery that has been lovingly preserved and restored and runs as smoothly now as it did one hundred years or more, ago. The history of Scottish yarn is woven into this fabulous fibre!