New Blacker Yarns: Tamar


A new yarn is a fine thing. Especially when it comes from Blacker Yarns.

Blacker Yarn Tamar Shade card

Tamar is Blacker’s latest offering and it’s a beauty! A woolly yarn with a beautiful lustre and pretty halo, Tamar is made from heritage British sheep. The yarn blends Wensleydale, Teeswater, Cotswold and Black Leicester Longwool into the mix, along with 30% Cornish Mule lambswool, giving the yarn its soft halo.  I don’t know much about the folk history of Britain, but Cornwall is one of those places of legend and lore, and the Blacker Yarns blog relates the the legend of the Tamar River, for which the yarn is named which is well worth read. I am still a sucker for ye Olde England, even after all these years.

Knit cables in Blacker Yarn Tamar

I had the chance to play around with the yarn recently and it was a pleasure to knit with. The stitch definition remains strong even with the soft fuzzies. I wet-blocked the swatch below and while the texture stitches at the top of the swatch have a gorgeous pronounced quality, the lace knitting on the bottom half of the swatch would have benefited from a good stretching while blocking.

Knit lace and texture swatch with Blacker Yarn Tamar

As the yarn is not a superwash, it will hold the blocking beautifully, and would therefore make an excellent yarn for lace knitting, in spite of how my swatch is looking above.

The yarn comes in DK and 4-ply/fingering, and I was surprised how fine the DK was. I am a fan of Blacker and was lucky enough to use Blacker Swan DK for the Angelus Novus designs in the Klee Collection (Angelus Novus cardigan below), which is also a DK yarn but much closer to an aran weight, whereas Tamar felt closer to a fingering weight, and I am guessing has a good yardage per 100g skein.


As a test of the softness, I stuck my swatch into the front of my shirt and wore it around for a while next to the skin. Yes, I know, this was an extremely scientific process, but really effective! It was very warm and soft, but didn’t prickle at all, making it a great yarn for neck gear and garments.

Tamar officially launches 3 March will be available for fondling at the Edinburgh Yarn Fest this year. I will be there too, fondling away; it would be great to catch up with any of you who will be attending! For those of you further South in the UK, I will also be at Unravel this weekend. Hope to catch up with you at a fibre festival in the near future!

Happy knitting,



Little Wing


Last year I designed a little shawl pattern in collaboration with Brighton’s Yarn and Knitting (YAK) shop. YAK was lucky enough to have a whole series of custom colourways from Life in the Long Grass, a wonderful indie yarn dyer in Ireland. Birds of a Feather featured five colourful variegated yarns inspired by birds; specifically Goldfinch, Blue Gouldian, Kingfisher, Parakeet or Lilac Breasted Roller.

My favourite was Blue Gouldian, and the Little Wing pattern was the result!

Little Wing Shawl pattern by Renée Callahan

I wanted to use a stitch pattern that worked with the variegation and was easily remembered, and this ‘star’ stitch was perfect!

Little Wing Shawl Pattern by Renée Callahan

The shawl can be knit as large or as small as you would like. To use all of the yarn, work the star pattern in the body until you have around 15% of your yarn remaining and then work the knit-on border. It doesn’t require any counting or calculations (high five!). I am looking forward to knitting another one, this time with a contrast colour border:)

Little Wing Shawl Pattern by Renée Callahan

Little Wing is available here

I called the shawl Little Wing because of the Birds of a Feather theme, but also, because as soon as I thought of it, the Jimi Hendrix song began to play in my mind, which is nice.

For your earworm of today:

Happy knitting,