Erica – 50g Hebridean 2 Ply
Alice Starmore Hebridean 2 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.
Erica is part of the Moor & Mountain range, which is inspired by the landscape of the Outer Hebrides.
There are various varieties of Erica, but the one most commonly found in the Hebrides is Erica Cinerea or Bell Heather. As its non-botanic name suggests, the flowers are longer and more bell shaped than Calluna, and the plant tends to grow on hummocks and banks that are slightly clear of the moorland floor, and hence dryer. It is a beautiful sight to see a favourite view framed by Erica in late summer or early autumn: it tends to flower a couple of weeks earlier than Calluna.
Garden shops and nurseries stock many cousins of Erica, and this is a slight sore point with me as all my attempts to grow them have met with complete failure. My garden is at the edge of a moor that is rife with wild Erica and Calluna; my soil is well tended and has the right acidity, but any tame heathers that I plant seem to gradually dwindle. This seems to be the case in gardens throughout rural Lewis, yet I see them thriving in Stornoway. I will solve the mystery one day. Meanwhile, as if to mock me, a lovely clump of Erica has come up in the gravel around my cattle pens, where I don’t want anything to grow.
Erica is also a valuable dye plant, for its roots can provide a spectacular purple given patience and the right mordant.
Our blend is of dark red-violet with deepest purple, tinged with slivers of creamy silver to evoke Erica at its most spectacular – glistening after an early autumn shower.