The Purbeck Collection

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A collection inspired by the coastline, countryside and community of this unique peninsula.

The Inspiration

If you have ever been lucky enough to visit the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, you will know that it has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It offers the chance to absorb spectacular views and draw on a sense of calm and stillness. My collection is a response to the rhythms and textures of the landscape, using yarn sourced from the farmland that completes this community.


The Collection


The Purbeck collection comprises five key accessories for you, your family and your home. While each piece has been inspired by natural forms, they all include an element of geometrical patterning or shaping to give them a contemporary feel – bridging the gap between town and village, city and country. Each design is named after one of the beautiful places I visited recently.


SMEDMORE and STUDLAND:

An infinity loop worked in 4ply and offered in two different variations. As a designer I enjoy exploring the effect that colour has on stitch patterns. Smedmore combines soft pink and ochre, offset by soft cables in the palest of greys. Studland is a bolder version of the scarf with a rich,conker brown and cobalt blue section offset by a rib stitch worked in a chalky blue. Both designs are available as a combined download. ( Images are credited to @aplayfulday


PURBECK

This is the first design I worked on for Isle Yarns and uses their original DK. The hardwearing qualitiesof this pure Poll Dorset DK make it ideal for homewares. I have introduced a second and third colour to a technique that is often only presented in one colour, to enhance the sense of movement and patterning. The back of this cushion cover is worked in a textured stitch and has an envelope opening.

STOBOROUGH

This elegant, vortex style shawl is a firm favourite. I have combined two different stitches to evoke images of the ploughed farmland meeting the coastline. It is worked in a 4ply blend that not only provides excellent stitch definition and fantastic drape when blocked. I used a soft green, but it would work well in any shade from the 4ply palette.


LULWORTH

This cushion would make an ideal partner for Purbeck. I have used colour once again to highlight patterning and bring depth to this
deceptively simple stitch. Isle Yarns have just added some new colours to the DK range am I am already looking forward to knitting up some new colourways in this design.


KIMMERIDGE

Kimmeridge is an idyllic spot and this final piece is inspired by the many pathways the area has to offer. The Kimmeridge Beanie is worked in the round and combines different cabled stitches. This not only provides texture and interest, but ensures a great fit. It is shown here in one of my absolute favourite shades, Haylands. I hope it becomes one of yours too!


Isle Yarns

I was recently invited to visit the home of Isle Yarns. It was a great opportunity to discuss future plans and meet with other designers. We toured the farm, needle felted with the fleece and ate supper watching the sun go down over Kimmeridge Bay.

It was a chance to fully appreciate the ethos behind wool production at Isle Yarns

“From farm to needles with an authenticity and our own unique story”

To find out more about the yarn and the farm you can visit www.isleyarns.co.uk, or you may like to listen to a conversation between Sue Hole, (owner of IsleYarns) and local lifestyle blogger, Kate O’Sullivan via www.aplayfulday.com or www.patreon.com/aplayfulday and
be part of a growing community.


Patterns from the collection will be available to download from Sunday 9th October 2016. A great way to celebrate Wool Week 2016.

Catching up

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Despite my very best intentions, I fell off the blogging wagon! Ironically, I did manage 'dry' January, but am now off that particular wagon - normal service resumes!

Lots of stuff has been happening at sarah-hazell.com. The feature I wrote for Wool Week was well received and we sold kits as far away as sunny California - amazing! I will be continuing to work with Emma at http://www.inthewoolshed.com/ and look forward to designing more projects with all those beautiful, naturally dyed yarns.Emmais away in India at the moment, leading a tour focusing on traditional block printing methods - looking forward to catching up with her on her return.

January saw the launch of a KAL that I have been working on for http://www.letsknit.co.uk/. It is a baby blanket, inspired by the idea of birds and nesting. There are two different techniques to tackle each monthe for six months and they include lace, cabling, swapping stitches, texture and swiss darning. You can follow other knitter's progress on Facebook and Twitter or contact adrienne.chandler @aceville.co.uk if there are any details you want to check. I chose a cheerful palette that would work equally well for a boy or a girl.

So what does 2016 have in store?

Well, I have been continuing to work with the team at Knitting magazine on new projects. The magazine has had a new editor recently and the breadth of content is growing all the time. I have just had my first guest column published on how knitting features on Instagram - hope you get a chance to read that!

January is often the time when we turn to stash busting projects and so I have added a couple of projects to the website for you to try.

The bag is a good introduction to knitting fair isle in the round and the cushion demonstrates how a simple lace pattern can be worked in stripes.

At the moment I ma busy swatching out ideas with some of the new yarns that will launch this Spring. They include Blacker's Tamar, Erika Knight's Studio Linen and Isle Yarns Poll Dorset DK. Isle Yarns will be launching their Spring Collection and new website at the end of the month and I will be back soon to talk about a special collaboration with them.

Some of you have been asking whether I will be doing any workshops this year. I very much hope to and already have some plans in the pipeline, but it will be later in the year as I have some surgery coming up!

I'll leave you with some tempting images - keep warm, happy and at one with your yarn!


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Small is beautiful

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Today I would like to share an article with you that is at the heart of this year's Wovember campaign. I wrote this piece because the focus for 2015 is on the small producer - and I am lucky enough to have one on my doorstep......

Tucked away on East Chase farm in Kenilworth, Warwickshire , there is a tiny woolshed that every knitter should know about.

I found out about In The Woolshed through the Warwickshire Open Studios Event earlier on in the year. Every year at the end of June and beginning of July, artists open the doors of their studios and invite people in to see how their work is made. I was so excited to learn that only half an hour from my house was a dye studio, where I would not only be able to buy yarn, but witness the entire process from fleece to skein!

In the Woolshed is the result of a vision shared by two sisters, Emma and Louise. They grew up in Kenilworth, but spent lots of family holidays on the Lleyn Peninsula in North West Wales. This was followed by several years travelling around India, learning and sharing textile skills with villagers and farmers in a remote Himalayan village.Fast forward a few years and Louise has marred a local farmer and Emma hastrained as afine artist. However, the sisters found themselves wanting to find a way of realising their passions for real craft, to create a business that embodied the simplicity and authenticity of the handmade. This has been made possible by them sharing both their skills and resources.

Louise's farm is home to a flock of Lleyn sheep. In fact these sheep are the first thing that you see when you turn off the main road and drive up towards the farm. They are good mothers, have a high milk yield and produce beautiful white wool.

Louise also provided the container that sits in the farmyard and is the shop for all the gorgeous yarns and kits.

Emma has a dye studio in one of the barns and this is the real creative hub of the business. As you approach the studio you will find last year's fleeces stored outside the door.

Lift the latch and you enter a orld where yarn is dyed by hand using only natural dyes and environmentally friendly mordants. Emma first started experimenting with natural dyes as a student in Manchester and recalls that there were always pans boiling and fleeces soaking in the flat that she shared with other students. It is this sense of exploration and discovery that underpins Emma's work.

It is barely six months since I first met Emma, but we both recognised a shared passion for colour, texture and the desire for a purposeful way of working. The process and results of natural dyeing have been a revelation to me. I wrote a book several years ago called Exploring Colour in Knitting, (Collins and Brown 2011). I would love to be able to go back and wtite an additional chapter on natural dyes! The book describes how colours relate to each other and how to manage different aspects of your colour in your knitting, given that the colours we want to use are largely dictated by those that the manufacturers select for us.

How often have we pored over a shade card and not been able to find the right shade of blue/red/green etc?. Natural dues do not necessarlly hold all the answers - there are some who would find the levels of unpredictability quite problematic, but they can help to satisfy several other issues. To start with, they are a world away from the uniformity of chemical dyes, offering a wealth of variation. They mature with age, developing a kind of patina of their own. You can take part in the process and dye you own yarn. Natural dyeing has a low carbon footprint and encourages a slower, more thoughtful way of working.

And then there are the colours......yellows, so acidic, they make your mouth water,

deep and complex purples that conjure up sloes and damsons, rich paprika reds,

dark, indigo blues that will fade and age like your favourite pair of jeans, tranquil teals and greens and the calm of those neutrals that are difficult to pinpoint, but you know you will never tire of.

I am so pleased that this year's Wovember campaign has celebrated the small producer. In 1973, an important collection of essays was published by British economist, E.F Schumacher. It was called Small is Beautiful: A study of economics as if people mattered. Schumacher's central philosophy was one of 'enoughness'. He believed that production should always be about appropriateness of scale, 'obtaining the maximum amount of well being with the minimum amount of consumption'. Like Schumacher, Emma has had direct experience of village based economics. Those same principles of small scale production are intrinsic to the Woolshed - it's not fast and furious, it is slow, (it takes nearly two and a half from a lamb being born to a ball of yarn being ready to work with), it respects the hand made and promotes a slower, more reflective response from the knitter.

My Colour Block cabled Hat kit is now available as part of the Slow Comfort collection. I wanted to design something that would be cosy in the country and chic in the city, so that everyone can experience the benefits of pure wool. The kit uses naturally dyed yarn from In The Woolshed and come in three different colourways - Grellow, Denim and Madder. Let's keep wearing wool!

Slow comfort

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Slow Comfort is the title of a new series of patterns, kits and blog posts designed to enthuse and sustain you through the winter months. My inspiration has been drawn from a variety of sources including promoting the British wool industry, locally sourced yarns, natural dyeing and an increasing interest in slower fashion. The collection will build slowly over the weeks of winter so that there is always something new to inspire us and chase away the gloom!

I love cold, frosty mornings but dislike the shorter days and grey skies of winter. I think it must be a light thing. However, this year I am taking up the challenge offered by @silverpebble2 over on Instagram. I first started following the jeweller Emma Mitchell, (aka silverpebble2) because I was drawn to the beautiful images she posts. There is a lightness of touch and attention to detail in her approach that is very calming. Last week she invited those who enjoy and those who endure winter, to share their seasonal creativity with ideas that in her words might, "cheer a grey day". Already the first week of November has passed by, but I am going to try and post images as often as I can between now and March using the #making_winter hashtag on Instagram. For those of you who would like to find out more about joining and following this theme, then here is the link. http://www.silverpebble-jewellery.blogspot.co.uk/2...


The Prairie Poncho is the first piece in my collection and is a key accessory in this season's 70's revival. This simple design is enhanced with geometric patterning in a classic 70's teal,orange and brown palette, highlighted with navy and a neutral. The borders and neckline are defined with a simple crocheted edging. If you are new to stranded colour work or crochet, I will be adding tutorials via the blog, later in the month. I thought it would make a comforting project to work on over the next few months and so I will be hosting my first KAL over on Ravelry at the end of the month.

Earlier on in the year I worked on a design for the British Sheep Breeds issue of Let's Knit and discovered Wendy Ramsdale. This wonderful yarn is 'born, bred and made in Yorkshire'.It is a 100% wool blend of Masham fleece from the Yorkshire dales, dyed, spun and then balled all in Yorkshire. I love it that each colour is named after a town or village in Yorkshire! It is quite a heavy DK, roving style yarn, that doesn't split and handles really well. It creates soft, but well defined stitches and is great for colour work. So, when I was thinking about a suitable yarn for the project, this was a natural choice.

This kit is now available to order in time for our KAL which will launch via the sarah-hazell.com Ravelry group on Saturday 28th November. The idea is that you have a project to keep you going during all that the next few months bring! The KAL will close at the end of February, ready for prize-giving! The kit includes all the yarn you will need and a printed version of the pattern, with free p&p for the month of Wovember. I hope you can join in the fun with me!

I can hardly believe that we are into the second week of Wovember already! This campaign is very close to my heart as it is all about encouraging people to wear pure wool during the month of November. I was even more excited about the fact that this year the focus of the campaign is on the small producer. I am lucky enough to live a mere half an hour away from my nearest yarn producer. I have been working closely with Emma Price over at In The Woolshed in Kenilworth for a few months now and was delighted when Louise Scollay of the Wovember campaign said that she would like to run a feature that I have written on the significance of the small producer. I will let you know when the full story is published, but in the meantime here are a few images of her glorious yarn and a hint of a limited edition kit to come!