Driftwood – Hebridean 3 Ply
Alice Starmore® Hebridean 3 Ply Yarn is made from premium quality pure new British wool, dyed in the fleece and skillfully blended into unique shades. It is hand-washed and dried in the Hebridean air, and supplied in hand-made skeins which may vary in weight. It is priced per 50g at standard conditions. All yarn is weighed to order on balances that are checked daily to ensure that you receive the correct total amount.
Driftwood is part of the Sea & Shoreline range, which is inspired by the Hebridean coast. It is shown here knitted in the Dunadd design, which is available as a patterncard kit.
If you spend a lot of time stravaigin the shoreline, you will naturally encounter a lot of driftwood. This simple term encompasses quite a range of ocean timber, from small planks to enormous tree trunks which must have crossed the Atlantic from America. By the time they land they have become studded with pebbles and bored by the aquatic equivalent of woodworm.
There is hardly any native timber in the Outer Hebrides, and so the larger pieces of driftwood were of vital importance when the people of the islands had precious little. Their blackhouses were roofed with turf and thatch, laid upon whatever spars of wood that they could gather together. Even now times are immeasurably better, the old gathering instinct lives on in some Hebrideans. In fact, some of us are quite obsessive about it. The standard convention is that if a piece of driftwood is in the tidal zone then it is yours if you want it. If it is up beyond the obvious high tide mark, then someone has dragged it there and has claimed it, so leave it alone. I know of one quaint character on the west side who scans the beach daily and hauls up any large logs with his tractor before anyone else can claim them. Over the years he has accumulated enough to build a forthright stockade, which I am hoping he will one day, but as yet it still lies there forlornly, like a lot of giant knitting needles all scattered about. I shouldn’t mock, for I understand the motivation. When I come across a really good log of unclaimed driftwood I really do think that the ghosts of my ancestors start to whisper in my ear, for I start to think things like … now that is really useful. You can’t just leave a good piece of wood like that lying there. Take it home and do something with it. Sanity intervenes when I realise that it must weigh half a ton, so I give it a pat and walk on.
What I really love about driftwood is the way that the sea has bleached away most of the colour but a certain luminosity remains. That is what I have tried to capture with this shade. The tiny touches of orange and rosy mauve are the lichens that grow when the driftwood has been beached for a while.