Friday, 22 June 2018

The Isle of Berneray and The Birlinn Yarn Company

Last year, the Birlinn Yarn Company (BYC) held a design competition and I was absolutely delighted to be the winner!!! The prize was in two parts. Firstly, two of my accessory designs, showcasing the gorgeous BYC yarns, were made into knitting kits. Meg Rodger, owner of the BYC, and I worked on these designs together last year. The Machair Wildflowers Shawl and the Storm Cast Cowl were released in the run up to Christmas 2017 and are currently on sale through the BYC website.

Meg and Emma
The second part of the prize was a week long stay in Meg's beautiful self-catering cottage on the Isle of Berneray. The date of our trip was set way back last year. I can't believe that it is now almost two weeks since we returned home from our wonderful trip to the Outer Hebrides.

Lamraig Cottage on the Isle of Berneray
Lamraig cottage is a traditional thatched Hebridean building with incredibly thick walls, set right by the shore. Views from the windows gave us a lovely perspective across the bay to the harbour and into a small lagoon. Being so close to the water meant that we had the company of several greylag geese families all week!

Greylag Geese outside the cottage windows

A short walk from the cottage took us to stunning local beaches and to the rare habitat of the Hebridean machair. Seeing the sheer abundance of wildflowers in bloom was wonderful. As we walked along the paths, we were surrounded by birds nesting in the machair. Tiny orchids were also beginning to show their stunning colours.

An orchid beginning to bloom in the Machair
We spent most of our trip exploring the many beaches that Meg recommended. Our only company on one beautiful beach walk was a sea otter which appeared suddenly from the water, paused to check the beach, then disappeared into the dunes!

West Beach, Isle of Berneray

Did I mention the yarn? Well, on this trip I saw first hand the beautiful Hebridean colours that inspire Meg every day. The colour of the sea pink flowers seemed to be on every shoreline we explored. The gorgeous shade of corn marigold appeared everywhere too. Of course, some of this yarn has come home with me. I'll be thinking about new designs over the summer and cant wait to work with Meg later in the year.

Sea pink flowers near Udal, North Uist

So, thank you Meg, for a wonderful week, for your great hospitality and especially for your friendship. Walking the croft with you and sitting with you at your kitchen table talking yarn and design, were the highlights of the trip!

Meg's Hebridean sheep on her croft

By co-incidence, our final day and return journey to Glasgow was on Work Wide Knit on Public Day. What better place to knit in public than on the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry from Lochmaddy to Uig and with this gorgeous BYC Corn Marigold 4ply!

BYC Corn Marigold on the needles on the Calmac ferry!

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