Skye Spins a Ripping Yarn

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I think it’s fair to say that the highlands and islands of Scotland, despite their breathtaking beauty, are not reknowned for their high fashion. Nor are they trying to be. And that’s just the way we like it. However, if it’s knitwear you’re after, you might just be in luck. Noone spins yarn like the Scots (don’t tell the south American alpaca crowd). It may well be born out of our sheer desperation to stay warm, but we won’t dwell on that.

If you hadn’t cottoned on yet, this week we’re all about the Isle of Skye and, as it happens, woolens are something it does WELL. Just about any of the beautiful little shops, craft fairs and markets we stumbled upon were selling fantastic home-grown knits. Check out these lovely ladies from Dunvegan in the North of Skye who meet up with a few others for a knit and a natter on a weekly basis churning out beautiful projects just for fun and selling them wonderfully reasonably. I picked up these gorgeous baby booties for just 3 pounds. Can’t say fairer than that. Every little girl needs some knitted lion shoes. I feel rather sorry they don’t come in my size. If you’re from that neck of the woods and fancy joining their happy rabble or making a cheeky purchase, pop along to The Sheiling in Uig- a market-place and exhibition centre for makers and crafters.

Skye is also the home of the wonderful Shalisdair – a tiny company that hand-dyes yarns using natural ingredients from plants such as marigolds and thistles to achieve their spectacular results. All the action takes place in this tiny wee hut overlooking the glorious sea and are exported all over the world. Here they dye Scottish wollen yarns, handspun cashmere, luxury angora and cashmere mixes, silk knitting yarns, organic cotton yarns and much more in the most terrific colours (see the picture at the top for just a fraction of the variety on offer).


Next door to the dyehouse is the Shalisdair shop which sells a terrific selection of the dyed yarns as well as items of clothing knitted by locals using them. My goodness, they’re good. If ONLY I had the patience. Ah yes, and the skill. It is such an amazing spot, it’s well worth a visit if you’re ever in the area to have a nosey in the dye-house and learn how its done, get inspired to start a knitting project in the shop and, to cap it off, enjoy the beautiful view.

Strings to Skye’s bow.