Episode 82: Commit

Tasmania Cradle Mountain Summit Hike, by Eli Duke, via Flickr

Tasmania Cradle Mountain Summit Hike, by Eli Duke, via Flickr

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The podcast is brought to you this week from Daan Saaf, still with Real Ale though, obviously. This week I’m taking the time to point you in the direction of two of my latest little hobbies, Anchor and Snapchat. I like Anchor because its audio messaging and I have a face for radio. Get on and send me a ‘wave’ @Shinybees. Snapchat is lots of fun, I’m enjoying posting a rolling feed of 10 seconds clips that stay for 24 hours and explain my day. Come and watch my work by adding shinybees as a friend.

I know most of you won’t need reminding but there is a little more info about the upcoming #rewindKAL too. We will be reliving, and fully indulging in, our favourite pattern, or the one KAL we were saddest to miss, so do come and join us. The sign up is in the Ravelry group and it will begin on March 13th. There will be prizes and everything.

A few changes are afoot round these parts and in keeping with that I have decided to let you all in on a secret: my word of the year. I know a few people are doing it and I have decided that my word is…Commit. See if you can spot the positivity it brings. Please feel free to share your word with me, privately if you prefer, and we can have a chat about what they mean for us.

Shinybees Edinburgh Yarn Festival

Edinburgh Yarn Festival

I’m looking forward to it but will not bang on too much here, after all there is only so much excitement a gal can take.

I will be in the meetup in the Podcast Lounge between 12.30 and 2pm on both the Friday and Saturday. On Friday afternoon, at a time yet to be confirmed, I will be hosting a session entitled ‘How to create a content calendar for your podcast/blog and still have time to knit’. It is a free session and there will be freebies. There will also be a chance to win a one hour consulting session with my good self – note for winner, use wisely, there are some topics I simply cannot help with. Most importantly there will be sweeties because it’s my birthday!

I will also be hosting an informal Q&A session on Saturday afternoon. I will collect my victims/willing participants at 2pm in the Podcast Lounge then disappear off to a secret location…leaving a note detailing said location in case anyone is late of course.

For those of you unable to attend – Fear not! I am running a free webinar the following week and will offer up another hour long Q&A for free too. All is not lost my friends. Sign up to receive the details of both sessions here.


Enabler’s Corner

This week be enabled to… it’s so good I’m worried that telling you will inevitably cost you money… Countess Ablaze Sock & Fibre Club. It is only open until the 1st of March so you don’t have long. If you go over there the pictures are so nice and when you click on them they are linked to the shop and then before you know it you’re lying to your husbands again and pretending that the rebel yarn that just cannot enter the stash has, in fact, always been in the house. As a small secondary enabling her Rt Hon Ronaldsay yarn is absolutely glorious and they are the sheep that eat seaweed, yarn porn at tit’s very best.



I was kindly sent a skein of Blacker Yarns’ brand new permanent addition to their range, Tamar. This week I include my initials thoughts on the yarn as I am mid-swatch, and I intend to report back with more on how the yarn performs after some rigorous blocking and testing. As this yarn is reported to improve on each wash, I feel this needs to be tested!

Here’s what Blacker Yarns have to say about it:

“Tamar is a lustre blend yarn with a fluid sheen, reminiscent of flowing water and the river which gives this blend its name. This luxurious lustre yarn has been worsted spun to enhance the fibre’s inherent drape and shine.

Tamar is made from historic Wensleydale, Teeswater, Cotswold and Black Leicester Longwool, which are amongst the most distinctive British breeds.  Tall and elegant with long lustrous ringlets of wavy fleece, their fibre is smooth and sleek with a distinctive silken sheen.  

Pure lustre blend yarns may be rather lean and lack ‘give’, so we’ve added 30% Cornish Mule to Tamar, helping the yarn retain that characteristic woolly bounce.  Mules are a crossbred sheep and can be found on most British farms.  For Tamar, we’ve hand selected only the finest local Cornish lambs’ fleece.  The baby-soft Cornish Mule creates a fine cloud of delicate fibre which perfectly complements the long staple of the lustre breeds creating a yarn which is durable, yet velvet soft. Due to the long fibre length this yarn will get softer and softer with every wash.  

Using different ratios of Black Leicester Longwool, we’ve hand blended two natural shades and added a modern colour palette with fifteen dyed shades. Tamar is available in both DK and 4-ply. The yarn will retail at £14.70 per 100g skein.

Despite their glorious fibre Teeswater, Wensleydale, Cotswold and Black Leicester Longwool are all listed as either ‘at risk’ or ‘vulnerable’ by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.  These breeds are an important part of our heritage, with Cotswold and Leicester Longwool dating back to the 13th and 17th centuries respectively.  The fibre used in Tamar has been bought directly from UK based small producers, who are working to preserve these lustre breeds.”


What I like

I think the idea and provenance behind the yarns is fantastic, as is the push to use breeds that are at risk or vulnerable. There’s no better way to keep these breeds going than to promote them and encourage demand for their fleece. I love the branding and the idea behind the naming of the yarn and how that ties in to what Blacker Yarns stands for. The yarn comes in a good number of colours (which was a gripe of mine with Cornish Tin and Lyonesse) which would make it super for colour work and Fair Isle knitting. It appears to gleam due to the reflection of the light on the long wool fibres but does have a little bounce as asserted in the blurb from Blacker which makes it more familiar to handle for those of us used to woolly yarns.

What I would change

The colour palette is very coherent and has a good representation from across the wheel. However, I am not sure I could wear any of the shades. The colours are quite muted, which some people love (hear Curious Handmade’s Helen in ep 112) but are not suited to every skin tone and because the are so brilliantly coherent, I think the muted nature means none would work for me. That being said, it may be that when this yarn is knitted up, the lustre will shine through and lift the colours, so I will look into this in my testing.

Wrap Up

That’s all from me this week. As always, thank you for listening. Feedback is always appreciated, and you can email me or message me via Ravelry or social media. If you enjoyed listening today, please consider leaving an iTunes review, to help others find the podcast too. Happy crafting!

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