I originally created Fenella after struggling to get a tension (gauge) match with modern yarns. Fenella knits to the same tension as the elusive vintage 3 ply that some of the garments in the museum are knitted in. As my goal was always to try and match the tension of the period garments it was important to me to find a yarn that would do this. The additional complication was of course if I did find a yarn where the tension matched, it invariably didn't have the range of colours I needed. So the most sensible course of action seemed to be to have my own yarn dyed in the necessary colours. In the first instance I thought I needed 17 colours and worked with a dyer in the Scottish Borders to recreate these shades in Fenella. On the Roses Cardigan below you can see 10 of the very distinct colours being used in one garment. This cardigan alone uses Myristica, Chalk, Limoncello, Wheaten, Roman Plaster, Phthalo, Constance Spry, Myrtle, Delicot and Atomic Red. You can see more of the Rose Cardigan on bygumbygolly's blog.
When some sample pieces came back that just wouldn't knit up to the same tension as the original item I realised I would need some extra colours. So I decided to talk to Jess to see if she would consider hand dyeing them for me. She very, very kindly agreed and spent some time perfectly matching the colours up to those required. Then the big day came and I joined her at her dye studio to start dyeing the first batch of these very special hand dyed skeins. Charlie, my film-maker daughter, came with us and put together this wonderful little film showing our time in the dye room.
Jess and Susan have fun in the dye studio from Susan Crawford Vintage on Vimeo.
And these are the eight fabulous colours Jess dyed for me.
As yet to be 'christened' these first three are indigo, oatmeal and orange.
These two are a lovely deep rose pink and a steel grey.
These final three have actually been christened and they are, Verdigris, Caramel and Sloe Gin.
Without Fenella the Vintage Shetland Project would not have been possible and without Jess I couldn't have got these last precious eight colours which would have meant leaving some fabulous things out of the book. So thank you Fenella and thank you Jess.
Please don't forget if you would like to order a copy of the Vintage Shetland Project you can only do so at this stage via my pubslush campaign page
The campaign is going tremendously well and I am so grateful for all the support this very special project is receiving. If you would like to try Fenella there are some reward options available which will deliver Fenella to your door with your book, including a small number of yarn kits to knit the fabulous Roses Cardigan shown above.