Back from the land of sheep
Xavier and I, Elise, are back from the UK, where we had some fun. Riding our Brompton foldable bikes up and down the hills was not always easy, but we managed...and got from Carlisle to Leeds safely.
The journey starts here, after that gate, on a cloudy morning. The iron gates remind us we are on a cycle route.
Ah, first problem: it took us an hour to get out of this tricky indication.
In Caldbeck, we met some nice people in Hestascene and the Wool Clip.
Hestascene hosts some graceful products, such as hand-made buttons and cachemire scarves.
The Wool Clip is a cooperatve where sheep breeders and craftspeople show their products, more often locally sourced and hand-made. There, every kind of wool, coarse or soft, finds a use, from rug, felt, knitting yarn, spinning material and equipment.
The major founder, Marion, is also at the origin of Wool Fest, a festival in Cumbria. It takes place at the end of June. I wish her a very good luck.
And in Greystoke, at Annie's Cycle Café, we could not find more better place, nor more charming and friendly a smile, nor more conforting home-cooked food.
In addition to her cheerful tea-room, Annie offers some wonderful and appealing workshops: you can learn to fix your bike, and also to sew the garment that fits you best, or to felt with some specialists of that technique, pottery, jewellery, etc... Have a look at her programme:
We met some animals we expected to see...
And some others we didn't:
We went through villages,
and accross hill tops:
In the moors, the paths were sometimes rocky.
The surroundings were cheerful with breeding birds singing.
We met the lovely Jenny from the Knitting Basket.
I met some delighteful girls in Harrogate, at BAA RAM EWE, on Wednesday Knit-Nite session.
Thanks Janet, Jane and Jo (and the rest of the team I couldn't meet) for your happy and colourful shops.
Baa Ram Ewe is deeply involved in the development of the local breeds and spinning. They created a yarn 100% British: Titus is a highly desirable yarn, made of soft Blue Faced Leicester, lustrous Wensleydale and light UK Alpaca. The colours are extremely well chosen. You can even find inspiration in a book of patterns, dedicated to the Titus yarn:
Titus is all processed and dyed by a local company, West Yorkshire Spinners, near Leeds. Peter and Richard showed us the brand new and very efficient plant, and we had a very instructive meeting in their show room.
They receive the material washed and transformed into tops, from a factory in Bradford, not far from there. That factory washes wool for all the country. Volumes are gigantic, in order to stay cost-effective. At West Yorkshire Spinners, some of the machines are French (Schlumberger, Alsace). Some can mix up to 8 colours, following a computer program. The yarn is flawless, without vegetable waste nor knots.
To end with, we had some strange encounters too, like a hunting fox, or a veteran car
Coffee and Bike Repair: that's a great idea, here in Look Mum No Hands, London
And what better place than a pub, to relax after a hard day on one's bike? Thanks England for that institution. May the pubs survive Nero, Costa Coffee and Starbuck!
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