Thursday, 23 April 2009

Wensleydale - it's not all about cheese

Until late last year, if I heard the word Wensleydale, I immediately thought of one of two things, neither of which had anything to do with wool.

I thought mostly of cheese because Wensleydale cheese, as any self respecting British comedy afficianado will know, has featured twice in great comedy. Once in the famous Monty Python cheese shop sketch, and most recently in the Wallace and Gromit series.

Have I just lost the Americans? Are Wallace and Gromit known there? I'm pretty sure they're universal, since there was an animated movie by the makers starring Mel Gibson.

So that loveable fuddy-duddy, Wallace, even has real life Wensleydale cheese with his face on the wrapper now.

Wensleydale cheese is funny. I don't know why. I am not sure I've ever even tried it, but I mean to. Is it just that the word itself is funny and that's why it's been used in comedy? I don't know. It's like 'trousers'. I think 'trousers' is a very funny word. Some words just are, don't you think?


Last year I stumbled across some lovely wool I'd never seen before, in a delicate cranberry colour. I rather liked the look and feel of it but mostly I just bought it because of the name.


And it was only recently that I investigated what a Wensleydale sheep looked like.

And aren't they cute? I want hair like that - it kinda looks like a dropped perm, doesn't it? According to Wikipedia, these lovelies are at risk. There are only 1500 breeding females in the world. So now I feel even better that I bought more Wensleydale recently.

Kylie went to the UK recently and she offered to do a spot of shopping for various friends. When I knew she was going to I Knit in London, I checked out the website and sure enough, they stocked Wensleydale yarn. It's pretty hard to get here. I requested earthy tones and Kylie kindly delivered.

I got some grey Wensleydale! 8ply/DK weight. This will be a warm winter shawl of some kind.

grey wensleydale

And this is, despite poor photography, is green Wensleydale! In 4ply/fingering weight. I couldn't quite capture the lovely forresty greenness of this stuff.

green wensleydale

Wensleydale sheep originate in Yorkshire and Yorkshire is one of my favourite places so I'm rather happy to hold onto this hard to get yarn for a while longer and just love it to bits. Thank you, Kylie. You're the best.