Daughter of a Shepherd

Daughter Of A Shepard at Loop, London

Rachel Atkinson is a talented designer, technical editor and knitter  – now she’s on to her next wooly adventure with her yarn Daughter of a Shepherd that launched this year.

The flock! Image copyright of Rachel Atkinson
The flock! Image copyright of Rachel Atkinson

The start of this journey began with Rachel’s blog post Fleeced, where she highlighted the low prices that farmers were being paid for quality fleeces. Her father works as a shepherd (hence the yarns name!) looking after sheep that are established for conservation grazing on Escrick Park Estate – as well as training a fair few sheep dogs in his time! Rather than sell the fleeces he clipped off the flock each year at a loss, he had some 250 fleeces stored and waiting. As a knitter, Rachel saw the incredible potential for these wooly coats and began the process of finding out how she could make them into the beautiful yarn she knew they could be.

Photo copyright of Rachel Atkinson
Photo copyright of Rachel Atkinson

The result was Daughter of a Shepard! True to Rachel’s ethos at the start, the yarn is sourced, scoured and spun all in the UK and supports the British wool industry and manufacturing that she sought to promote. All with a sweet label with a logo courtesy of Tony Duncan Smith

The final blend includes a 25% cut of the sheep breed Zwartbles from Exmoor, who are close to where the yarn is spun in Devon. This addition allows the fibres to be spun together easier and gives a rich dark cinnamon brown to the deep chocolate of the Hebridean.

Photo copyright of Rachel Atkinson
Photo copyright of Rachel Atkinson

If you had any doubt about it’s authenticity, then the proof is in this yarns smell! There is something very comforting about the wonderful wooly fragrance that subtly accompanies each skein. Rachel describes it as a ‘signature scent of the fields, flock and new lambs in straw-filled barns.’

Rachel the shepherd - Image Courtesy of Rachel Atkinson www.mylifeinknitwear.com . Loop,London. www.loopknitlounge
Rachel the shepherd – Image Courtesy of Rachel Atkinson

Many moons ago Rachel used to be a Loopette, though is still involved with the shop as our technical editor and writer of several of our free patterns. We are really proud to be stocking such a genuine product with this wonderful story – something that is a true limited edition!

If you fancy cozying up with your own skein of Daughter of a Shepherd, you’re in luck as we have one skein to give away! Simply comment below letting us know what you would love to make and we’ll announce the winner on the blog next week. Make sure to get you comments in by midnight Wednesday 20th July.

Good luck and Happy Knitting!

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84 Comments on “Daughter of a Shepherd

  1. Beautiful and what a wonderful idea! I would love to make anpair of really cosy mittens for winter with this yarn!

  2. I would love to use the yarn as part of a project I’m doing this fall as I spend 6 weeks traveling the Atlantic and Mediterranean. I’ll be collecting stories and mapping my travels in a series of handmade objects.

  3. A beautiful background story to a beautiful yarn.I would design and knit a simple shawl to show off this lovely yarn texture and colour.

  4. I love the story/principle behind this project. I’m thinking the front panel of a cushion so I can take a deep inhale of sheep while relaxing.

  5. Love that it’s authentic and the smell would be an added delight. Would use it to make a pair of mittens to use when walking the dog.

  6. The dark color lends itself for a great accessory! A hat, some mittens, maybe fingerless mitts with a beautiful cabled leaf design. Sometimes holding a lovely skein tells you what it truly wants to be. Thank you for this chance!

  7. I would make fingerless mittens with this beautiful yarn. Perfect if knit from the top down as all that precious yarn could be used to make the longest possible cuffs.

  8. I would use the skein as one of several to make Hazel Tindall’s gorgeous hap from Kate Davies’ new brilliant book.

  9. I’d definitely make something that could snuggle close to my skin on a winter’s day. I think a pretty lacy cowl would be just perfect.

  10. Rachel’s story is wonderful. I’d knit this yarn into mitts or mittens to keep my hands toasty, and that way I’d be able to fondle and admire it continually.

  11. Oh! And I would definitely make something cozy with it like a beret. Eventually, I think I’d love to buy more and make a sweater.

  12. Oh gosh what lovely looking yarn.
    I would knit a cozy pair of winter socks to keep my feet warm in the winter. X

  13. Perfect description of the yarn and the smell. I would make my son a sweater for his winter months of forest school to keep him warm and in keeping with our countryside.

  14. I’ve got a few skeins of this yarn already as I’m hoping to design and knit a cardigan (inspired by the shape of the Herdwick’s curly horns and helped along by watching Alan Bates as Gabriele Oak in Faar from the Madding Crowd)…but I’d also like to knit a neckerchief or cowl, something warm and reassuring to bury my face into and breath in that sheepy calm on days it’s hard to face the world.

  15. A few years ago there was a pattern in the Knitter for a gansey wrap using conservation grade wool that was a mix of Hebridean and Shetland yarn. By the time I picked up the magazine, the yarn had sold out and it’s no longer available. It was DK and this yarn would fit the bill.

  16. One can never have enough hats. The colour of the skein in the photo looks so rich. I can only imagine that you can smell the straw and field of whence it came❣

  17. I would love to win a skein to knit it as a Trim for a First School Cardigan for my 4 year old Grandaughter. I can imagine she would be sniffing lucious smells of the yarn walking to her New School.

  18. I would love to knit a simple moss-stitch tam in this yarn. The colour is so wonderfully deep brown, my favourite!

  19. Have already made a hap out of this delicious yarn. The smell
    of sheep evokes images of the countryside here in a big city.
    I’d make a pair of mittens The warmth and aroma will assist
    as Archie (my Westie) and I brave the early morning cold.

  20. Definitely a pair of fingerless mitts, with long cuffs so there’s no chance of feeling the cold between end of mitts and beginning of sleeve. I would choose a stitch pattern which would give great stitch definition.

  21. I’m a hat knitter through and through and would love a skein to make one! Alternatively, I could knit a baby sweater for a friend.

    • I would probably knit a brioche cowl, mixing together that gorgeous chocolate yarn and another creamy mohair yarn.
      I would name it “chocolate and cream”, yum,yum,yum

  22. I would definitely make a hat.The blend sounds great Zwarbles is a nice fibre as well.I want to know where I can buy one of Rachel’s totebags. Thanks!!

  23. Living in the Hebrides I am most interested in this yarn and would definitely knit a hat to keep those Atlantic winds at bay!

  24. I love that picture of little Rachel in her wellies!

    I’d knit an earthy cowl to go with the new dark green parka-esque jacket I just bought. The combination is making me think of a forest floor, all moss and mud and that really rich smell.

  25. I would love to make a pair of mittens to wear to work to show one of my pupils who keeps his own flock of Zwartbles.

  26. Thank you for presenting this beautiful yarn! I would knit a hat as a gift for my husband. I’m sure he would be really happy with that!

  27. Fingerless mittens with cables. I walk to work across The Downs in Bristol each morning and evening and the weather comes in sideways!! Warm,toasty mitts with a heavenly aroma will keep me going xx

  28. It would have to be turned into a snuggly cowl. It would keep me warm, but I’d also get to breath in the Sheepy smell every time I wore it and be able to dream of spring/summer coming.

  29. The wool looks as lovely and interesting as the story behind it. There is something so evocative about the scent of ‘proper’ wool. Thank you Rachel for your labour and all good wishes for your new endeavour

  30. It would be lovely to win one of these skeins so that long after, I can easily recall my July in London, 2016:)

  31. Rachel’s story is wonderful. For her yarn, I would love to make a cardigan with either cable or a simple tight garter stitch to keep me warm on a cold winter day.

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