Whin – 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 25g at standard conditions. All yarn is weighed to order on balances that are checked daily to ensure that you receive the correct total amount.
Whin is part of the Summer Isle range, which is inspired by summer in the Outer Hebrides.
The shrub called Gorse or Whin is not the most attractive of botanic specimens but it is very tough and spiny. When large enough it makes a hedge that no beast can penetrate, let alone human. Its toughness is so legendary that it has been adopted as a badge by no less than three Highland clans – the Logans, Maclennans and Sinclairs. Its cousins, the Genistas or Brooms have also had a long emblematic history, for they gave their name to the Plantagenet (Planta Genista) dynasty of English kings.
Whin stands mainly by roadsides in the Hebrides, and no-one really pays much attention to it – until May, for that is when it blooms and becomes spectacular, being covered in a profusion of flowers of a rich, golden yellow. If you collect these flowers in season you can obtain a beautiful yellow or gold colour, according to how you mordant the yarn. If you care to risk the spines, then the leaves and chopped bark can also be used to obtain an interesting green, but the process is quite long. The leaves of Whin are said to have antiseptic qualities as a wound dressing, but you will probably be in need of it after harvesting them – those spines again.
I have used Whin’s gorgeous spring colour as the model for our shade – a particularly rich blend of yellows and golds.