To properly begin; I have been a fan of Kate Davies for quite a while. I have a few of her books and I have always enjoyed her blog posts. Late last fall Kate started talking about a new yarn, a fingering weight tweed made with 70% wool and 30% mohair. It is called Milarrochy Tweed and she was going to introduce it as a club, The West Highland Way Club! There would be yarn, patterns, essays about the West Highland Way and eventually a book.
I was hooked! I love tweeds (more about tweeds here); I love mohair – one of my favourite fibres; and I loved the concept! So I gifted the club to myself for Christmas.
My original club package was lost in the mail. It is still lost in the mail! But Kate and company sent me a new package (excellent customer service) – it arrived a couple of weeks ago! I liked the yarn well enough to order a sweaters worth and will be ordering more! You know how I love Purple! I now have enough Milarrochy Tweed in Gloaming, a purple, to knit a sweater!
One of the unexpected bonuses of the club was that Kate had added a small design competition to the club. Design a hat using her yarn – I love design and competitions so I was hooked again.
I was only going to make one hat! Really! The first hat was all planned, colours, style etc. and I was happy with the plan. Lace bands and Fair-Isle bands, and a classic Fair-Isle Crown; because of the wait – I named the hat Worthy! As in the yarn being Worthy of the Wait! Once the yarn arrived I sat down and got to work knitting. And Oh, what a nice crisp yarn it is to work with!
While I love the results from my first hat, I was disappointed that the lace details did not show. I should have known better! So I had the pattern test knitted in a lighter colour and different yarn and I am much happier with how the lace shows. I couldn’t use Milarrochy Tweed as I knew the background colour I needed would never arrive in time!
But then there was this colour in my package! I have just finished knitting my second hat for Kate Davies hat design competition with that colour.
This last week has been a week of knitting – no surprize there – and memories of my Granny, all starting with this one colour of yarn – Gloaming. Gloaming is a gorgeous purple tweed, crisp and neppy and quite beautiful.
My Granny Baptie (her maiden name was Clark, and she grew up in Lochgelly) came over from Scotland when she was 16. It was 1916. My Grandfather was already here and working the coal face in a local mine. Her courage astounds me!
My Grandmother’s favourite song was and remained through most of her life Roamin’ through the Gloamin’ as sung by Sir Harry Lauder.
Roamin’ in the gloamin’ on the bonny banks o’ Clyde
Roamin’ in the gloamin’ with my lassie by my side
When the sun has gone to rest
That’s the time we love the best
Ach, it’s lovely roamin’ in the gloamin’
I’ve seen lots of bonnie lassies travelin’ far and wide
But my heart is centered now on bonny Kate McBride
And altho’ I’m no’ a man who throws a word away
I’m surprised mysel’ sometimes at all I’ve got to say.
One nicht in the gloamin’ we were trippin’ side by side
I kissed her twice and asked her once if she would be my bride
She was shy, so was I, we were baith the same
But I got brave and braver on the joumey comin’ hame
Last nicht after strollin’ we got hame at halfpast nine
Sittin’ at the kitchen fire I asked her to be mine
When she promised, I got up and danced the Hielan’ fling
I’ve just been at the jew’llers and I’ve picked a nice wee ring
She would hum or sing that song whenever she was working, or happy or sometimes just because! She even gave me a copy of one of his records when I got my first record player! My favourite song was a rollicking drinking song called a “A Wee Deoch-an-Doris”.
When I received the yarn, I held that colour in my hand, with the name “Gloaming” on the band, and a wealth of my Granny’s memories came back to me; of Sir Harry and Roamin through the Gloamin; of heathers and thistles; of climbing out back windows to run off to dances; of shortbread and peat and all the memories my Granny would share.
So I designed and knit a second hat. This one called Roamin’. It has all of my Granny’s memories in one small piece. It is really for me and all those who dream of visiting the “Old Country”, as my Granny called it, at some point in the future.
Thank-you Kate for creating the yarn that inspired this walk down my memories.
PS – if you are interested in the Shetlands and the textile history of the Islands you will need to check The Vintage Shetland Project by Susan Crawford!