Blacker St. Kilda Laceweight

Posted by Raza Wool on September 26, 2015 0 Comments

We've added our first laceweight yarn, and a very special yarn at that. Blacker St. Kilda Laceweight is named after the St. Kilda Archipelago, the westernmost part of Scotland's Outer Hebrides. Feral Soay and Boreray sheep live on these islands. They are primitive breeds and naturally shed their fleece. The Boreray is listed as Critically endangered by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, and the Soay is listed as At Risk. This yarn is a blend of Boreray and Soay, with some Shetland fleece added.

The Boreray ewe in the back shows the more typical coloring of Boreray sheep. The darker coloring of the ewe in the foreground is less common.

Soay sheep are typically a dark brown, though some have lighter fleeces. Like most primitive breed sheep, they are fairly small and very hardy. 

More information about St. Kilda can be found in Elizabeth Lovick's wonderful blog post. Liz has also designed a lovely pattern for St. Kilda yarn that evokes the plaid wraps that the St. Kilda women used to wear. (The last regular inhabitants of St. Kilda left in the 1930's. Other than the sheep and other wildlife, the islands' only other residents now are the researchers who visit and military personnel.)

I love the St. Kilda patterns because the same motif is used in all three variations, and you can choose which you want to knit based on your personal preference, knitting skills, and amount of yarn. The smallest of the projects is a neckerchief, and there is also a scarf. The largest of the projects is a beautiful shawl.

St. Kilda Laceweight is a limited edition yarn - Blacker has been able to acquire these rare fleeces again, but they are not available in large quantities, so once this yarn sells out, it will not be available again until next year (hopefully!). Raza's order for the St. Kilda was put in while the collection of Soay and Boreray fleece was finishing up, months before the yarn was available, so it was a fantastic way for me to learn about how long it takes between fleece being collected and the finished yarn being ready for the consumer market. 

Photos used with kind permission.

Photo credits:

St. Kilda Laceweight: Blacker Yarns

Boreray sheep: Gibbja

Soay sheep: Simon Barnes

St. Kilda shawl: Elizabeth Lovick



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