Here in the old high-walled kitchen garden at Cille Bhrìghde in the Outer Hebrides we spin, knit, crochet, weave and felt with wool and other natural fibres and use the traditional tools and techniques we’ve grown familiar with over more than 35 years.
There are dozens of sheep breeds native to the British Isles, together offering an unparalleled range of colour, feel and durability. Our speciality – though limited in quantity – is black wool from our own flock of pedigree Hebridean sheep: careful selection and a special spinning process result in yarn that is richly dark and with a ‘handle’ exceptionally soft for this breed. In addition to these, we also spin Merino wool and occasionally other fibres such as dog hair, alpaca, cashmere, silk.
Most of the natural dyestuffs we use come from plants native to the islands of the Outer Hebrides, naturalized here, or growing in our own walled garden or our croft on the neighbouring island of Eriskay. These include lichens, flag iris, alder cones, dandelion, blackberry, onion skins, ragwort, marigold, and many others. We use also natural dyestuffs from further afield, such as henna, madder, brazilwood, annatto.
Hand-spun yarns vary in thickness, twist and colour. It’s this variability that makes hand-spun yarns such a pleasure in an age of uniformity. Our aim is to produce a yarn that is ‘inconsistently consistent’ – delightful but also practical. However we also offer a range of mill-spun yarns made with wools we select carefully from our own flock of Hebridean sheep (black) and from our neighbour’s Cheviot sheep (white).
This website makes available – to those unable to call in at the Hebridean Woolshed itself – an opportunity to purchase the most popular of the products, and those that are produced in quantity. These are items that have gone to customers as far away at Oregan and Osaka, Shetland and New Zealand! If you can make it to the Hebridean Woolshed’s ‘off-line’ shop in the walled garden, here in the Outer Hebrides, you’ll find a much wider range of items for sale – all made by Denise – including hand-knitted designer garments, crochet corsages, felted work, Harris Tweed cushions – and much more besides, when you visit us.
Denise and Jonathan Bridge