Bergere de France review

Bergere de France offer some stunning Parisienne designs to take your knitting to another level. Their winter magazine has a wonderful modern take on a Fair Isle design jumper and any of their previous magazines can be back ordered.

Bergere de France 2013/2014 collection

Bergere de France 2013/2014 collection

Patterns from Bergere de France can be purchased singly or as compilations in their seasonal magazines which offer great value for money.

There is something for everybody, from beginner to experienced knitter and all patterns denote the level of skill required.

Send for their catalogue and you receive comprehensive detail of their latest patterns along with small samples of the yarns attached to the relevant pages, which make a huge difference when trying to choose yarn type and colour.

The Bergere de France brochure also contains details of all the other items available via their website; knitting needles, needle sets, embroidery kits and haberdashery.


More Information Visit the Bergere de France website

Eden Arts Canopy Project

Canopy is the new project from Eden Arts which will result in an exhibition in trees & woodland across the Eden district in Cumbria in spring/summer 2013.

THE WOOLLEN WOODS: As part of the project they hope to transform the woodland of National Trust property Acorn Bank with thousands of woollen artworks (in support of the Campaign for Wool).

Eden Arts Canopy Arts Project image

Acorn Bank woods will soon be alive with little woolly creatures

People are being encouraged to make and submit woodland themed woollen artworks for the exhibition and there has been some fabulous artworks submitted so far but they still need many more.

Eden Arts are appealing to artists, craftspeople, school and groups to contribute to the exhibition – anyone can join in!

The exhibition should get a lot of media and press coverage, which will in turn raise the awareness of the Campaign for Wool and the creators of the artworks.

Anyone who submits artwork by end March will be added to the exhibition ‘Roll of Honour’. A photo of the artwork(s) will be put on their Facebook pages, along with a link to your website if you have one.

They will still accept and display artworks after exhibition opens on 6th April.

The are lots of artwork ideas on Eden Arts Woollen Woods Pinterest page and FREE patterns and a submission form on the project website at

This project follows on from our 2011/12 ‘Join the FLOCK’ wool project –

Woolfest introduces Woolyculture

Woolfest introduces unique produce show “Woolyculture” for 2013

In its ninth year, Woolfest 2013 is shaping up to be as big as ever as well as offering visitors a chance to take part in a horticultural produce show with a woollen difference.

Woolfest - Woolyculture entries

Mary Bell and other members of the Wool Clip, launching this year’s Woollycultural Show with some creations of their own

“We’ve just completed the first stage of selecting the designers, craft businesses and suppliers who will be stallholders at Woolfest this year,” says Marion Woolcott, one of the organisers.

“Demand was strong with more applications than ever so it is a hard job to decide on who will be there. We’ll have at least 12 new businesses for 2013 as we always try to keep things fresh and varied for the people who visit every year.

Woolfest is an annual highlight for many who work with wool and it’s really encouraging for us as the organisers to see how much enthusiasm there is from across the UK and beyond.”

As well as all those stalls, Woolfest also incorporates live fleece animals, including several rare native breeds, a raw fleece sale, exhibitions, displays and craft demonstrations from across the country.

A unique woolly produce show Visitors to Woolfest have always enjoyed participating in a special craft project and 2013 should be no exception. “In recent years, we’ve participated in FLOCK, making 100s of pompom sheep, and we’ve created a bunting string that encircled Mitchell’s,” explains Mary Bell, a member of the Wool Clip and one of the Woolfest organisers.

“Before that, we used to hold a sheep auction where visitors made sheep out of wool using all sorts of textile crafts and the money raised went to charity.”

“We’ve been trying to think of something new for 2013 and came up with the idea of the Woollycultural Show, a traditional horticultural competition but with a difference – whether fruit or vegetable, flower or miniature garden, all entries must be made of wool. Visitors can knit, crochet, felt or weave their entries – there’s no restriction on craft, just the usual Woolfest emphasis on wool and natural fibres.”

Visitors are being invited to bring their entries in any of the four classes along to Woolfest, enter in the morning, participate in the official judging and presentation of (woollen) rosettes and then take their creations home at the end of the day.

“We know that there will be stunning pieces on show because there are so many gifted people out there who have contributed to Woolfest in the past,” says Mary. “And we’ve been able to recruit two top judges with Pam Jago, Chair of the Cumbria-Cumberland Federation of Women’s Institutes, and Annette Gibbons of Cumbria on a Plate judging a day each.”

Further details of the produce show, the four classes and entry details are on the Woolfest website.

Woolfest 2013 takes place on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 June from 10am at Mitchell’s Lakeland Livestock Centre in Cockermouth, Cumbria.  Entry is just £8 per day (including full programme) with free entry for accompanied children.

Directions and details can be found at or on the event’s Facebook page or by calling The Wool Clip at Caldbeck on 016974 78707 during shop hours.

The Wool Clip is a Cumbria-based cooperative of sheep farmers, spinners, dyers, knitters, feltmakers, weavers and other wool workers with a thriving shop at The Priest’s Mill in Caldbeck. It was set up in 2001 to add value to local wool and to market members’ skills and products and members of The Wool Clip established Woolfest in June 2005.

Further information is available at or

Blacker Yarns

Blacker Yarns has probably the largest collection of natural yarns from a wide range of Britain’s sheep breeds in one place.

Search for British natural yarns for hand knitting and there are a number of suppliers and manufacturers in the UK. Start looking for yarn on the cone for machine knitting and the search narrows to only a handful.

Blacker Yarns image

Beautiful natural yarns from British sheep

I found Blacker Yarns whilst looking for a natural undyed yarn with a soft and luxurious handling quality, and of course it had to come from British sheep.

Instantly struck by the variations of breed, colours and yarn weights, it was clear that this was where I would find my quarry.

Blacker Yarns incredibly well presented website instantly allowed me to choose from yarn breed origin, yarn weight or type and even scoured carded fleece.

The site also has a wealth of information about the different fleeces /yarns which helps when choosing a yarn for a particular project and their use of high quality images gives a very good idea of the texture and quality of the yarn.  Videos taking you on a short “mill tour” add a friendly and welcoming touch.

Yarns are available in an extensive range of weights and include everything from fine 2 ply to chunky.

Blacker Yarns range of over 150 knitting yarns are all made from natural wool, mohair and alpaca, and all come from British sources, mostly the UK, but also the Falkland Islands.

Blacker Yarns image

Stunning, sophisticated colours


Gone are the false garish colours found in many fashion offerings from the high street.  Instead, you will find a rich palette of undyed yarns the way nature intended and coloured, overdyed yarns which retain the beauty and depth of the wool fibre, enhanced with natural stylish and sophisticated colours.

About Blacker Yarns

Blacker Yarns was created from the knitting yarns side of Blacker Designs which was launched in 2008 as a brand of The Natural Fibre Company, a specialist wool mill at Launceston on the Devon-Cornwall border.

So as well as buying British wool for Blacker Designs’ scarves, throws, cushions and blankets, they also use the wool for their own range of specialist knitting yarns sold under the Blacker Yarns brand.

The mill specialises in adding value to fleece supplied by farmers and turning it into high-quality knitting yarn which they can sell for themselves and generate a new or growing source of income from their flock.

Although wool has been spun at The Natural Fibre Company since 1991, the services have changed dramatically since 2005 when managing director Sue Blacker and her family bought the company from its previous owners.

Moving the company from Lampeter in Wales to a new home in Cornwall at Launceston on the Devon border, signalled the start of a minor revolution.

Worsted spinning was introduced in 2007, and the summer of 2008 saw the birth of an on-line shop and a dye plant. As well as matching specialist colours supplied by customers, the dye plant is also producing its own range of yarns in a range of colours carefully created to tone with the natural fibre colours.

To compliment Blacker Yarns, Sue Blacker also retails quality, knitted items, knitting kits and her range of unique patterns.

Blacker Yarns is an absolute treasure trove which knitters, weavers and spinners will keep coming back to time after time.

More information

Blacker Yarns – Premium quality, British yarns.

REVIEW: WOW: Wonder of Wool and the Art of Knit and Stitch

Cumbria is home to thousands of sheep, so it is only to be expected that at some point a major exhibition of wool related art should arrive in the county.

Rheged, near Penrith, hosts a new exhibition with the title ‘WOW: Wonder of Wool and the Art of Knit and Stitch’.

Some examples of the work on show at Rheged in Wow

Some examples of the work on show at Rheged in Wow

It features the work of 20 contemporary British artists and designers who are said to be inspirational in their creative use of wool.

The exhibition features film, photography, community projects and a hands-on making area to inspire the creative project in everyone.

Whilst we commend the idea of improving the profile of wool, sadly we feel this event clutches at the theme with the visitor left with a collection of random illustrations made by almost unmentioned artisans.

Themed but no cohesion

Situated at the top of the Rheged complex you pass a number of woollen items left behind after the opening day guerilla knitting event.  These seem quite abstract to the surroundings, especially if you do not know about the knitting exhibition going on upstairs.

After paying your entrance fee (£2.50 adult) you enter the exhibition space and are confronted by a grey spider’s web of interconnected woollen covered speakers recounting farming tales and sounds. Called ‘Hürd’ the installation is the work of Knitsonik.

Moving on and into the space proper, you have black and white photographs in frames, garden seats covered in wool and a collection of small pompom sheep which you almost stand on, as you progress through the clinical white walled arena.

Best for last

Passing a wool body suite hanging from the ceiling, speared with knitting needles (Craft Kills by Freddie Robins) and a pile of grey knitted bones only confirmed our feeling of an exhibition clutching at the theme.

Some hope was restored as the finest work seems to have been saved for the end of the exhibition. A full length felt coat and a fine hand knitted shawl showed off the medium to a very high standard.

The coat is a classic old school apprentice test piece as it features many skills to be found only from the seasoned craftsman or woman. Cream felt is cut in an Edwardian style and finished off with what appears to be a Herdwick trim of leaves.

Two-ply laceweight merino wool had been used to create the magenta coloured shawl. The two part interwoven leaf design is highlighted by fine beads, making the garment a true luxury product.

Looking back through the exhibition space we considered what to take away in our thoughts. Yes, the exhibition introduced us to wool being used as house insulation and yes, colourful items can be made from yarn. But do we know where wool comes from and the processing of it from sheep to consumer and why sheep are important to the local environment and culture, possibly not.

Unsuitable for some

We feel we must at this stage mention one element which we feel needs a word of caution.

To your right as you enter the main body of the exhibition is a small darkened room with the almost clichéd video presentation so prized by exhibition organisers.

Only staying to watch a few minutes of the film, we were faced with two woollen characters fighting in a stop-motion animation. One then walked away and, using a saw proceeded to cut off his own leg.  Random strings of red wool symbolising blood leaking from the incisions.

To some, this is no doubt a technical masterpiece, but we felt this jarred with the otherwise family suitable event.  We would have preferred to see a warning notice before entering the area to indicate that it may be unsuitable for some viewers.

Overall impressions

Sadly, our overall impression of the event was poor, as it lacked cohesion and explanation. Small notices and a clipboard full of printed sheets do not encourage viewer interaction or satisfy the lust to know more about the works.

Many of the works would have felt quite at home entered into a local country fair or village show.

Your thoughts

Have you visited the exhibition, are you involved then let us know your thoughts via the comments area below.

Other reviews:

Delicate Stitches wrote : – It was great to see so many different pieces and approaches but it did mean that the exhibition didn’t really feel very cohesive, the common thread being the material rather than the concept.

More details

Event: WOW: Wonder of Wool and the Art of Knit and Stitch

Where: Rheged, Penrith Cumbria

Weblink: Rheged

14 Jan 2012 – 15 Apr 2012

Time of Event: Open Daily 10.30am – 4.30pm

Admission £2.50 (concessions £1.75) • Children under 16 free

Featured artists include: Max Alexander, Carréducker, Susan Crawford, Stewart Easton, Fine Cell Work, Felicity Ford, Fay Godwin, Kate Jenkins, Rachael Matthews, Steve Messam, Deirdre Nelson, Kate Pemberton, Trevor Pitt, Celia Pym, Freddie Robins, Annie Shaw, Amy Twigger-Holdroyd, Hazel White, Rich White, Donna Wilson, Joss Wrigg, The Wool Clip.

Rennie Handknits Yarn review.

Britain has always produced quality yarn for centuries, whether it be for handknits or a Saville Row tailor, making some of the best quality fabric available.

J C Rennie of Scotland - handknit yarns

A palette that only nature can create

Nothing is more evident than in the range of yarns produced by J C Rennie of Scotland.

Rennie use British sourced wool where they can but all lambswool fleece is sourced from the former colonies of either New Zealand or Australia. A tradition which has changed little since the Industrial Revolution, and is part of the romance.

Their most popular machine knitting yarn is the 2/11 Supersoft. However for those who prefer a more authentic look, there is the 2/9nm Unique Shetland yarn.

There has been an increase in customers asking for their supersoft cashmere which has the look of lambswool but the texture of cashmere. This also comes in a wide range of colours with a sumptuous feel, giving a very natural but fashionable finish.

Rennie’s 4ply supersoft handknits are loved by many discerning knitters and some of the colour palette has now been extended into the popular Aran range.

Amazing colours

Handling quality of the yarn is exceptional and the colours are truly amazing.

The chunky Aran weight  pure new wool in COUTURE 1464 looks as though is has been dyed with a handful of squashed berries from the Scottish hedgerow, whilst the 4 ply Lambswool in Thistledown and DK Supersoft Cashmere shade 053, reflect the colours of the heather which cloak the mountain sides.

J C Rennie yarns of Scotland

Beautiful melange yarns with a luxurious finish

Fitting very easily into the contemporary palette of purples, mauves and lilacs, these yarns will produce very fashionable garments which will just ooze quality.

The melange shades inspired by “The Colours of Scotland” are made up of blends of many different colours of wool, fused together during the carding process.  However, this is very subtle and we feel, results in one of the finest natural colour blends available.

Knitting in more than one colour with these yarns is a dream, as all the natural shades blend so well with each other, just as they do in nature….the only problem is; which ones to choose.

Scottish Yarn

J C Rennie of Scotland have produced high quality genuine and authentic yarn since 1798, made in the Aberdeenshire countryside using traditional methods which has changed little since the Industrial Revolution.  One of Scotland’s oldest and few remaining woollen mills, they, like us are passionate about manufacturing and the woollen industry in the UK.

Yes, we have waxed lyrical but as knitters who like quality, these yarns are an example of what Britain does best.

Their range is now available to weavers, machine knitters and hand knitters, on the cone or in 50g balls.  Prices for the J C Rennie yarns are also very competitive, making this brand exceptional value for money. – Purchase these sumptuous yarns online or view their list of suppliers.