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Welcome to The Hebridean Woolshed

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Welcome | Information | Knitting and Spinning Kits | Millspun Wool Yarn | Natural Dyes | Hebridean Handmade 

At home – within the old high-walled kitchen garden of An Gàrradh Mòr, we spin, dUist Landscapes - Crotal. The Hebridean Woolshed, Isle of South Uistye, knit, crochet, weave and felt with wool (especially the black wool from our own flock of Hebridean sheep) and other natural fibres and materials.  Using the traditional tools and techniques we’ve grown familiar with over nearly forty years, we produce a variety of unique and high quality yarns, which also we make into garments and accessories. 

Open for business 2017. The Hebridean Woolshed, Isle of South UistWhat we make that isn’t for ourselves and our family is offered for sale at the Hebridean Woolshed – a small shop that stands within the walled garden, just by the South Gate. There, in addition to the yarns, garments and accessories, there’s a range of patterns and kits for our own designs.

Everything in the Hebridean Woolshed is made by us and embodies the values that guide all our work : homely, skilled, hand-made, inspired, intuitive, high quality, local, sustainable. Oh, and personal : something bought at the Hebridean Woolshed is bought from us , the makers – Jonathan or Denise, or both – in person.

Now with lights! The Hebridean Woolshed, Isle of South Uist

The Hebridean Woolshed‘s garden shop is open Monday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm, April to September.  As there’s just the two of us, and as turnarounds for our two holiday lets can be any day of the week, we may be closed for a few hours during the day … or, very occasionally, to take some time off!  If you’re planning a special visit, contact us the day before to check whether we’ll be open.

Coronavirus Update : The shop in the walled garden is closed until further notice ; but we hope to re-open during the summer.

Some of what we sell in the ‘garden shop’ – millspun yarns, kits, and most of our Hand-Made Tale offers – are also available in our online shop


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Online Shop : General Information

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Welcome | Information | Knitting and Spinning Kits | Millspun Wool Yarn | Natural Dyes | Hebridean Handmade

Shopping baskets and payments are handled by PayPal. You don’t need a PayPal account to shop here. You can pay with most credit and debit cards, or with a PayPal account.

To order more than one of any item, first put the item in to the shopping basket, then adjust the number.

Please be sure to order enough wool for your project : we cannot guarantee availability of more wool from the same lot, and a different batch may have a distinctly different look, and this is particularly true for Beinn Sgíathan yarns.

Delivery : Standard charges are as follows : £4.95 for orders up to £50 ; £8.70 for orders up to £100 ; £12.45 for orders over £100. Standard charges apply only to delivery addresses within the United Kingdom. For delivery addresses elsewhere, please enquire before ordering : you will be provided with a quotation for any extra charge (that is, in excess of the automatically calculated charge), which if you accept will be confirmed in the form of a PayPal invoice.  All deliveries are by Royal Mail tracked-and-signed-for services.

Pay with Euros : Customers from Eurozone countries will save transaction fees and conversion losses by paying in Euros. To do so, contact us by email with details of the items you wish to buy.  We will reply by email with the payments to be made in Euros (and including the non-UK postage charge) together with bank details for you to send payment.  We calculate the Euro amount using the exchange rate stated by Transferwise – which is consistently among the most favourable rates available anywhere. We do not charge a transaction fee. Any refunds made to you of Euros that you previously paid to us will follow the same procedure but in reverse.



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Knitting and Spinning Kits

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Drop-Spindle Spinning Starter Kit

Drop Spindle Starter Pack, from The Hebridean Woolshed, Isle of South Uist

Drop Spindle Starter Pack, from The Hebridean Woolshed, Isle of South Uist

Until Leonardo da Vinci invented the spinning wheel, five centuries ago, wool and other fibres were spun into yarns using the simple drop-spindle, consisting of a whorl – a flattish disc of stone, pottery, or wood – with a long rounded shaft of wood, bone, or ivory.  The spinning wheel is faster and more efficient than a drop-spindle, but many times more expensive to make or buy, and  less portable : so – even today, the drop-spindle remains in every day use amongst traditional communities in less-developed regions of the world. And in the developed world, many craft spinners will possess at least one drop-spindle – often of fine materials and workmanship ; and they’ll very often be proud to demonstrate their skills in spinning with it.

To learn to spin first with a drop-spindle is the surest path to success with a spinning wheel : a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of the process of spinning ; a firm grasp of the basic techniques ; and – above all else – an intuitive feel for the character of the fibre being spun.  Every raw beginner we’ve taught will remember the drop-spindle as both the beginning and the greater part of their learning ; and even those who professed to have some knowledge of spinning would be required to demonstrate their competence with a drop-spindle.

Our Drop-Spindle Spinning Starter Kit includes, in a clear bag:

  • Drop-Spindle – with wooden shaft and whorl, and a brassed metal hook
    (it may be useful to know that the spindle is of the type known as a top-whorl – a relatively recent innovation)
  • Rovings – 100g of Cheviot wool fibre (chose between soft white and soft grey) prepared for hand-spinning
  • Tuition leaflet – with step-by-step instructions that are simply worded, clear, and easy-to-follow

 

The tuition leaflet uses the same simple, step-by-step instructions given to the many students that we previously taught in person at the Hebridean Woolshed – here in South Uist.  It’s stood the test of time!

Price : £24 each


Drop Spindle Starter Kit – Options and Prices




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Beinn Stac & Hebridean Boot Sock Kit

The Hebridean Woolshed : Beinn Stac Boot Sock Kit

Beinn Stac Boot Sock Kit

Description : These outdoor/boot socks are knitted with our 2-ply DK Hebridean wool for the toe, heel and ribbing, and 2-ply DK Beinn Stac wool (marled Hebridean/Cheviot) for the foot and leg.
Size : The pattern is for UK shoe size 6-8 but, with additional yarn can be easily adjusted to suit any length of foot.

Included : Pattern leaflet ; 1 No 50g ball Hebridean DK (2-ply) ; 2 No 50g balls Beinn Stac DK (2-ply) ; Cellophane pack.

You’ll also need :
Set of four 3mm needles points at both ends, 20cm length
Set of four 3.25mm needles points at both ends, 20cm length
– Darning needle

Difficulty : Intermediate

Price for Kit : £29

 


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Hebridean Aran Fingerless Mittens Kit

Description :  These snug, warm and hard-wearing fingerless mittens are knitted with the wool of our black Hebridean sheep on the Big Garden Croft. Knitted in stocking stitch and a simple Aran-style cable, these mitts are straightforward to make.

Size : The pattern fits a regular size ladies’ hand

Included : Pattern leaflet ; 1 No 50g ball Hebridean Aran (3-ply) ; Cellophane pack.

You’ll also need :
Pair 4mm [UK 8] straight ; One small cable needle ; Stitch-holder

Difficulty : Intermediate

Price for Kit : £12


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Alternatively :

  • this kit can be ordered with white Cheviot Aran for the same price as the Hebridean Aran – Please enquire
  • this item can be ordered with grey Beinn Sgiathan Aran for £2.00 extra – Please enquire
  • this item can be bought ready-made for £30 in Hebridean or Cheviot wool, or £32 in Beinn Sgiathan wool – Please enquire

 


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Hebridean Aran Cabled Hat KitThe Hebridean Woolshed. Hebridean Aran Cabled Hat

Description : This Aran cabled hat is knitted with the wool of our black Hebridean sheep on the Big Garden Croft. Using a stretchy double moss stitch, the length of the hat is easily adjusted to fit most adults. A delightful cabled patern defines the brim.

Size : Fits most adults

Included in cellophane pack :
Pattern leaflet ; 2 No 50g balls Hebridean Aran (3-ply)

You’ll also need :
Pair 4mm [UK 8] straight ; Pair 5mm [UK 6] straight ; One small cable needle

Difficulty : Intermediate

Price for Kit : £18.50


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Alternatively :

  • this kit can be ordered with white Cheviot Aran for the same price as the Hebridean Aran – Please enquire
  • this kit can be ordered with grey Beinn Sgiathan Aran for £4.00 extra – Please enquire
  • this item can be bought ready-made for £36 in Hebridean or Cheviot wool, or £40  in Beinn Sgiathan wool – Please enquire

 


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Cheviot Horseshoe Lace Cowl

Cheviot Horseshoe Lace Cowl from The Hebridean Woolshed, Isle of South Uist
Description : This pretty, snug cowl is knitted in the natural cream coloured wool of our neighbours’ Cheviot sheep. The traditional horseshoe lace pattern of the cowl is edged with a reversed garter stitch – one edge scalloped, the other straight. Knitted in the round, the cowl is seamless and extremely comfortable to wear next to the skin.

Size : 60cm (24”) circumference (unstretched) 20cm (8”) top to bottom

Included in cellophane pack :
Pattern leaflet ; 2 No 50g balls Cheviot DK (2-ply)

You’ll also need : Circular needle 50cm (20”) length 3.75mm [UK 9]  ; Stitch Marker

Difficulty : Intermediate

Price for Kit : £18.50


Alternatively, this item can be bought ready-made for £38.00 – Please enquire

 


 

Felted Uist Purses Kit

Description : These felted purses are made with the natural wool of both black Hebridean sheep and cream Cheviot sheep from the island of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides. Although knitted in a simple garter stitch, the combination of one strand each of Hebridean and Cheviot wool results in an interesting speckled effect. After knitting, the purses are felted in a washing machine and finished with the metal Celtic knotwork buttons supplied.

Size : Wide purse 14cm (5½”) x 10cm (4”) [excl. flap] ; Tall purse: 10cm (4”) x 16cm (6½”) [excl. flap]

Included [In cellophane pack] :
Pattern leaflet ; 1 No 50g ball Hebridean DK (2-ply) ; 1 No 50g ball Cheviot DK (2-ply) ; 4 metal buttons with Celtic-knotwork design

You’ll also need : Pair 5mm [UK 6] straight knitting needles

Difficulty : Easy

Price for Kit : £24


Alternatively, either one or the other of the two purses can be bought ready-made for £26.00 – Please enquire

 


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Millspun Wool Yarns

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These pure new wools come exclusively from our own sheep or those of our near neighbours, here on the island of South Uist and close-by on the Isle of Eriskay.

We offer two colours of wool yarns : Hebridean – which is naturally black ; Cheviot – naturally white ; also combinations of these two colours.

Beinn Sgíathan is a blend of Hebridean and Cheviot, and is named after the hill on Eriskay which the two breeds can be found sharing the island’s common grazings.

Beinn Stac is a marled yarn – that is, with strands of different colours, and is named after the hill which domiates the common grazings in the southern part of Eriskay.

The wools are spun for us – to our own specification – at a specialist spinning mill. The wools are not coloured with dyes, or modified in any way.  The colours are entirely natural – and thus also naturally variable.  A good degree of consistency – not just in colour, but also fineness, softness, resilience, and other attributes – is achieved through considerable care at every step of production : care in breeding, shearing, sorting and grading the raw wool, and – at the mill, training and good process control in preparing the wool for spinning and the spinning itself. These wools are certainly representative of the breed of sheep they come from ; but they also express the combined experience and skill of all those who have contributed to their production. These unique and distinctive wools are artisanal in nature.

Ewe and twin lambs, Bothy Field. The Big Garden Croft, Isle of Eriskay

Ewe and twin lambs, Bothy Field.

Our own small flock of pedigree Hebridean sheep – on The Big Garden Croft, in Eriskay – produce a wool that is naturally dark brown.  When they are sheared for the first time – at about one year old (they’re then known as a shearling, or hog , until they are sheared again a year later), their wool is especially fine, soft, and consistently very rich dark brown – very nearly black : this is referred to as lambswool. In later life, a ewe or ram kept for breeding will grow a fleece which becomes increasingly more varied in colouring – mostly ‘dark chocolate’ but with flecks of tan and grey, an appearance often described as ‘heathered’.  The lambswool is best suited for apparel to be worn close to soft skin – scarves, hats, gloves and such like. The heathered wool is harder-wearing and best suited for waistcoats, cardigans, sweaters, ganseys and such like, worn over a shirt or blouse.  Both lambswool and heathered wool are suitable for knitting, crochet or felting, and for weaving (especially as the weft in weft-faced weaves). The black Hebridean yarns are currently available as : DK Lambswool ; DK heathered wool ; Aran heather-brown wool.

The Cheviot sheep of our neighbours – also on the nearby Isle of Eriskay – are a pure creamy white. We select only the best fleeces from sheep just one or two years old, and then grade and sort for the right quality : softness, consistency of colour (even white can vary from creamy to greyish), crimp, strength and other attributes.  The white Cheviot yarns are currently available in DK and Aran weights.  Both are equally well suited to wearing against the skin or as warm-wear over shirts, blouses and so on, and for knitting, crochet or felting ; and for weaving weft-faced.

The Beinn Sgíathan is a blend of the heather-brown Hebridean with the Cheviot, inspired by the exposed bedrock and tumble of boulders that characterize the common grazings in the northern part of the island of Eriskay, and where both Hebridean and Cheviot sheep graze together through the summer months. Currently, Beinn Sgíathan is available only in Aran weight.

The Beinn Stac yarn is marled, inspired by the striking contrast between the two sheep breeds if gathered together into the fank.

DK-weight yarns have two strands (2-ply / two-fold) – perfect for lighter-weight or lace-type patterns.  Exceptionally, the Beinn Sgíathan DK-weight yarn has three strands (3-ply / three-fold), with one strand Hebridean, two are Cheviot.  Yardage/Metreage for DK-weight yarns is approximately 109m for DK lambswool, and 114m for other DK yarns.

Aran-weight yarns have three strands (3-ply / three-fold), with a firmer, denser character best suited to country warm-wear, especially with Aran cabled knitwear style.  Yardage/Metreage for all Aran-weight yarns is approximately 95m per 50g ball

Prices : £7.00 per 50g ball, except for Lambswool, Beinn Sgíathan and Beinn Stac yarns, which are £9.00 per 50g ball.


Choice of yarns – All 50g balls



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Natural Dyes

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Crotal – Lichen Parmelia saxatalis

Typical colours obtained on un-dyed white wool : Light to dark tan, depending on the mordant used, if any.  For example : light tan on alum ; dark tan on iron or rhubarb leaves. Best results are obtained with pre-mordanted wool, but that’s not essential with this dyestuff.

Yield : A good depth of colour will be obtained with 200g of dyestuff to one 100g batch of dry wool.

Description :

Crotal is a natural dye that is very effective used on wool, silk, or cotton. Parmelia saxatalis is a slow-growing lichen that yields earthy brown colours. Crotal was, historically, used to dye wool the beautiful peaty brown colours in traditional Harris Tweed woven cloth.

Lichen - Parmelia Saxitalis [Crotal/Crottle]The lichen – known in Scots Gaelic as Crotal and Scots English as Crottle (though they’re pronounced identically) – grows on bare rocks, and here in the Outer Hebrides, that’s almost always the exceptionally hard Lewisian Gneiss – the predominant bedrock of the islands.  It’s the rock on which the lichen grows that is the main influence on the inherent colour and tone of the dye it yields, other than mordant and method.

The crotal we sell comes from an eminently sustainable source.  It is found in abundance on our own own croft, in Eriskay, but we harvest it mostly on the nearby common grazings.  Because crotal grows so slowly, we gather only the lichen that is ‘ripe’ (when it is naturally separating from the rock) – which requires very little effort to peel off.  Also, we take only a very small proportion of the lichen at any one rock and location.  Thus we ensure not only that Crotal continues to flourish here, but also that the lichen continues to provide a unique micro-environment for invertebrates, which – in turn – are food for many wild birds, including the wren, stonechat, thrushes, blackbirds, finches, thrushes, and many more.

The Hebridean Woolshed : Cheviot wool dyed with Permelia Saxatalis, different mordants

Cheviot wool dyed with Permelia Saxatalis, over four different mordants

Packaging : Sold in packs of 200g, with detailed instructions

Price :  £8.50 per pack




 


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Hebridean Handmade

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A selection of our more recent handmade work  :


See all posts under the category Hebridean Handmade ⇒

 


 

Most recent from The Hebridean Woolshed :

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