I am very excited to announce that Layter is now available to buy as a PDF from my Ravelry store here. This is due in large part to the amazing tech-editing wizardry of Liz, whose help in organising all the information has been invaluable. I have really enjoyed Liz‘s clear, constructive, encouraging approach to organising information, and have been inspired to think more carefully about how I organise ideas within documents.
I am also thankful to Tom, whose eye for detail is very good, and who made some clever suggestions re: aspects of the pattern.
Lastly, I feel very thankful to Mark for taking such superb photographs of the finished garment! Brenda – who has also been a keen supporter of my writing up LAYTER – specifically said that “the images show every part of the pattern that I would want to see as I knit.” I think this is the best compliment a knitter can give to a photographer. Thank you, Mark!
Making this pattern has been particularly special because it has involved developing deeper familiarity with many of our different sheep breeds’ respective fleeces. I have loved working with Blacker Yarns throughout this project, and exploring ways of specifically celebrating the wonderful qualities, textures, characters and sheer beauty of our native sheep breeds and their characterful wools. Seriously, knitting Layter was like the cheese-tasting of fibres. I am so glad to be able to buy and knit with breed-specific yarns, and it was fantastic to find myself in the very mill where such yarn is spun, back in October.
This is Manx Loaghtan yarn being turned from cones into balls at The Natural Fibre Company. When I look at it, I remember it’s specifically soft hand, and the way that it blocks to resemble the soft, inviting surface of a digestive biscuit. Manx was the first sheep breed I was able to identify, with its amazing horns and gingernut/digestive-biscuit fleece.
Manx Loaghtan, first spotted and identified by me in 2009 at WOOLFEST!
I love that I have been able to use some Manx in my Layter, and that since I first made the garment, I have learned to recognise most of the breeds which comprise its sheepy palette. I love that when I was in Estonia, wearing my first edition of Layter, I was able to tell shepherds whom I met there (I’m thinking specifically of beautiful Julika) what my jacket was made of, and where it was spun. I love that when I wear Layter, the conversation – wherever I am, whomever I’m with – turns to sheep. It starts with “I love your jacket” and ends with “yes, and this is North Ronaldsay, which is a sheep which eats seaweed, and this is Southdown…” etc.
Most of all I love that Layter is made with Blacker Yarns because I really love what Sue Blacker is doing. I love that I have made something which celebrates breed-specific wool. I love that I have been in the very mill where the yarn in Layter was spun.
I love that I have met Sue Blacker’s own sheep.
I love that this has all come to fruition in WOVEMBER! It feels completely appropriate to have made and designed a garment which celebrates the work of shearers, (whose work is the current focus of the WOVEMBER blog) and the traceability of garments, at this specific point in the calendar.
I think I could probably get a list of the farmers whose sheep contributed their wool to each stripe in Layter. If I wanted to, I could probably write to them each personally and thank them for growing that wool. And I’ve seen where it’s spun.
That is what Closing The Gap means to me, and I am so jazzed to be launching this pattern in WOVEMBER, amidst all the wonderful sheepiness of the posts people have so kindly contributed to our blog, and amidst all the WOOL LOVE that is going on now that the winter is drawing in and we all need those extra layers.
I will give away a copy of Layter to one randomly picked person. To be in the running, just leave a remark about a sheep breed yarn which you have knit with. Say the breed of sheep, the colour of the yarn, what you made with it, and what it was like to knit with, and your name will go in a draw for a random giveaway for 30th WOVEMBER! In the meantime, you won’t see me here until after the end of the month, so do check out WOVEMBER, because it is an absolute pleasure to be working on it with Tom and Kate.