Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Chuffed With My Baffies. . .

Kate Davies is a genius.  I've long admired her talent for designing beautiful and unique garments, taking stunning photographs and writing a wonderful blog, full of honesty and humour, in which she shares a real sense of the places and the history behind the things that inspire her.  When I read that she'd branched out into creating her own yarn, Buachaille - the Scottish name for shepherd -  and all the wool would be sourced in Scotland, and spun in Yorkshire, I was very, very excited. 

Turns out (no surprise there), that she's also a brilliant and shrewd business woman too.  She created the Seven Skeins Club, allowing members to get one 50g DK skein of each of the seven colours in her palette, and which probably allowed her to get a good sense of the initial demand for the yarn. She'll be offering it for general sale next year. You also get a tote bag and a book to come later, with not only patterns and more glorious photography, but recipes and essays on the landscape that inspired the yarn's colours, including one on climbing a Scottish mountain.  Sign me up! There was a flurry of excitement on ravelry once these details were announced and these memberships sold out in a few days.  

While waiting for the release date, Kate wrote some very interesting blog posts about all the processes involved; the scouring, the manufacturing, choosing and naming the colours. Then came the excitement of waiting for the yarn and it literally was shipped around the world!  As you can see, the colours are rich and gorgeous.

Then came the anticipation around the first pattern release. There will be seven in all, released over seven weeks, with variations on some for different skill levels.  Not only that (and this really does blow my mind), she's designed them to use up every bit of the seven skeins!  We've been instructed to weigh our skeins very carefully, and she's even sent out an excel file that calculates what should be left depending on the colours we choose for each project.  This whole venture has been so incredibly well thought out and not only that, but it's enormous FUN!  I've never seen a Kate Davies pattern that I didn't want to knit, so I'm jumping right into the spirit of it all, and embracing the mystery and challenge as it comes without waiting for the lot and then choosing my colours.

So the first pattern was released last Friday and I was not disappointed.  It was for a pair of baffies - the Scottish term for house slippers.  There was the choice to do either a striped pattern or one that also includes some stranded knitting.  I chose the former and debated for ages about what colour to knit them in, but in the end went for Islay, a lovely teal, but actually my least favourite of the colours (I want to save that deep orange for a hat or mittens, something I can show off!).  But as it turns out, I absolutely love how the teal goes with the dark grey (Squall - what a fabulous name for a colourway). The fit is perfect and they really are quite cute.

Kate writes very clear patterns and I always learn something new.  In this case, it was the Turkish cast-on which is brilliant for toe-up socks and creates a very neat edge.

This was the perfect weekend project and my baffies are really warm and cozy.  I anticipate wearing them more as bedsocks now that the nights have gotten very chilly.  I love the i-cord trim which finishes them off, but I did need to go up two needle sizes to ensure they weren't too tight.

Then it was off to weigh my remaining yarn and fill out my excel sheet. Can't wait to see what's next.

She's a genius, I tell you.  

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