I didn’t go away to Edinburgh with the intention of buying new yarn, especially since I am in the middle of a big stash bust … but, on the way I sort of talked myself into it. After all, how could I go all that way, to the home of Ysolda and Kate Davies and NOT buy yarn? By the time we arrived it was decided. I’d buy some Scottish yarn to make Ysolda’s stylishly-simple Marin. It felt almost poetic.

You’ll see from the photo that I got a little carried away … I hear you laugh and you may. Because I know I’m not the only impulse yarn buyer around ;-)

The Myrtle kids are well acquainted with my obsession for yarn shops and the day I found this yarn they did protest; “Oh no, we are NOT going to visit wool shops all day”. So I had to be sneaky and when we turned a corner in the centre of Edinburgh and just “happened upon” a cute wee shop called K1, I just HAD to have a very quick look.

I had a little nosy around the shop before telling the woman behind the counter that I was planning to knit Ysolda’s Marin and was after some local yarn to knit it in. I felt all excited and expected her to clap her hands together in delight, have a little chat about lovely Ysolda, her lovely patterns and for her to tell me how Ysolda pops into the shop and comes for knit-night. Unfortunately, she did none of that. What she actually said was that she didn’t know that pattern … oh dear. I was really looking forward to that chat – my wee knitterly bubble had burst. Still, I was there on a mission. I had to see it through.

The yarn I chose looks a little blue in the first photo, but it is a solid grey like the second photo. This 50% Angora, 50% wool mix (St Magnus DK) caught my eye because it was one of the softest yarns in the shop and seemed a better choice for something to wear around my neck than some of the scratchier Shetland wools, beautiful though they were. Apparently the Angora is local and the yarn is dyed in Orkney, I’m not too sure about the wool bit. But it is deliciously soft and I bought it.
Then this brown skein caught my eye. In the flesh it is really coppery brown, not brown-brown. It’s fairly coarse but I’m told it washes up a little softer and it smells simply divine. Just like sheep. It’s the sort of wool you can’t help but bury your nose in and inhale deeply – a lot. It is undyed, from an apparently rare breed of sheep called Manx and I just love it. The cream is much softer undyed Bluefaced Leicester (also lovely and smelly) and the two look just perfect together.

They’re both Aran weight, produced by Ardalanish in the Isle of Mull and as yet, I’ve no particular project in mind for them. I’ve got two cream and one brown skein, which is about 450 metres of yarn altogether. I’m thinking something fair isle, as a sort of homage to their Scottish origin – any suggestions?

My, actually our, other purchase from Edinburgh (because Mr Myrtle and I have together acquired a rather healthy collection of beautiful blankets from around the world) are these glorious pure wool blankets. If you are ever in Edinburgh, do check out the quirky textile mill at the foot of the castle. It is rambling and full of odd bits and bobs, but down, down at the bottom of the stairs is the most awesome collection of tartans you have ever seen. Well, the most awesome I had ever seen anyway … and you can buy them. Fabric in wool and poly-mixes, pure wool blankets – you can even commission a kilt! We fancied the blankets and chose these. The top blanket is very blue overall and is the Anderson tartan, the bottom is quite gingery and is the Buchanan tartan. They are thick and squishy with lovely fringes at the ends.

And then I bought this. Japanese yarn. Not very local I know. BUT – when I literally stumbled upon Ramshambles in the heart of the Shambles in York on the way home, and saw firstly a photo of Ysolda with Ravelry’s founders Jess and Casey standing IN THE SHOP, and then the shelves groaning with Noro, I knew what was about to happen … I am such a sucker.

I haven’t knit with Noro before. I’ve heard about it, read about it, thought about it. But haven’t actually owned any. It’s pretty pricey and I’m not usually a huge fan of highly variegated yarn, so I bought only two skeins (200 metres) of Silk Garden, which is a rather captivating combination of 45% silk, 45% kid mohair and 10% lamb’s wool in a worsted weight. This colour is shade 282 and is largely made up of pinks and purples, but seems to also have nearly every other colour of the rainbow thrown in for good measure. I have no idea what I am going to do with this, but whatever I make, it has to be for me.

So, there you have it, my Scottish (and sort of English/Japanese) yarn haul. Tomorrow I’ll show you Zoë’s new Cardigan …. I tell you, kids’ clothes fly off the needles!

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