Doulton Flock Border Leicester Yarns
I have the largest flock of pedigree Border Leicesters in the UK, with numbers now over 300. I fell in love with the breed way back in 1995 and my love for them has only increased over the years. When I got my first lot of sheep via mart sales and from flocks which were closing, the only uses for them were as crossing sires, i.e selling rams to put over different breeds of sheep to produce better breeding ewes ,or as slaughter sheep. I have never been able to sell sheep for meat and never will, so my only option was to breed breeding rams. This I have done since 1996 and have done moderately well, all depending on the market of the year. I have seen prices from £1800 to £100, and you cannot and SHOULD NOT sell a ram for less than it costs to produce. When you do that you ruin the market for everyone following you. I have seen this done many times. The last few years have seen the market change dramatically. Prices have changed so much that you could not be sure what the prices would be.
I have also exported many sheep into the EU and was one of the very first to do so. Nowadays, paperwork from the Ministry is dire, vet costs are dire and I am no longer sure whether it is feasible to do this.
So here I was with a lot of sheep to sell for the right reasons, a lot of OAPS in my fields and very little money to pay the bills No grants were seen over the horizon, so everything had to be paid for from my very small pocket.
Three years ago I made the decision to get my beautiful Border Leicester fleeces processed into hand knitting wool, so I sent off a small consignment of handpicked fleeces to a processor in Cornwall. All profits from the yarn go straight to pay for the upkeep of my flock.
My first Limited Edition of 3 dyed colours and a natural was ready in September 2015 and it was so beautiful!! Once the news of the launch of my yarn got around the sales were tremendous, and feedback from knitters globally was extremely positive! So much so , that in Spring the next year I had another batch done, with extra colours.
The yarn is now available in 10 super colours as well as the creamy natural white, all of which work wonderfully together in knitting patterns. Two types of yarn are available at the moment, a Double Knit, perfect for jumpers and little projects such as hats and scarfs, and a 4 ply which lends itself beautifully to shawls and finer work.
The DK and the 4ply have been worsted spun, meaning that the shorter fibres synonymous with giving wool an "itchy persona" have been removed, leaving a smooth yarn that is a pleasure to knit with. We also have a woollen spun oiled yarn, which we had processed elsewhere, which is only available in one colour, natural. The DK and the 4ply have been worsted spun, meaning that the shorter fibres synonymous with giving wool an "itchy persona" have been removed, leaving a smooth yarn that is a pleasure to knit with.
Each batch of yarn has been made with hand-selected fleeces, and as such, is a limited edition run!
UPDATE - Autumn 2017
Early last year we changed our processors to new ones for various reasons, one of which was we were not happy with the huge footprint we were leaving.
It was a very good decision, again for various reasons, but one of the important outcomes of the change is that everything is now Made in Yorkshire. Less travel to and from our processors, less diesel used, less time spent on the road.
The new people we deal with have no problem answering the phone to me when I ask one of the many questions I ask. They are working hand in hand with me and guiding me along the right way. There are so many pitfalls in the yarn business and you really need to know what you are doing and where you are going
Again, we handpick our fleeces and choose only the best for the yarn.
We are so pleased with our new processors and our customers appear to very much like the products we now offer!
We launched our new Limited Edition Aran range last September 2017. The range consists of 5 wonderful colours, 3 new ones and 2 very popular colours from our existing range of DK and 4 ply. Exquisite colours in super yarn! We launched this at Yarndale and they proved to be very popular indeed.. So much so, that we are looking at adding 2 new colours to the range quite soon. Keep watching!!
In November we launched 3 additional colours to our DK and 4 ply palette of colours. The colours are simply stunning. An amazingly bright burnt orange, Jervaulx. A bright, vibrant red, (Rievaulx), which shouts out to you. Lastly, an amazing purply brown, Byland, which seems to take on different hues every time you look at it.
Now we offer DK and 4 ply in13 stunning colours, all of which go so well together for colour work, and 5 shades of amazing Aran.
Our flock is only shorn once a year, so don't miss out on the opportunity to work with yarn from some of the best Borderleicesters in this country.
The wool comes from our own sheep, the Doulton Flock and we are based in North Yorkshire. None of our sheep are ever slaughtered and as we say “are born to live long lives”.
You can now buy our yarn directly from us from our online Yarn Shop.