Down a pretty country lane . . .

. . . there sits an eighteenth-century mill.

The mill has been in operation for many, many years.

. . . and behind the blue door . . .

They are making YARN!

The particularly bright yellow that was being spun that day seemed to perfectly match the colour of the Milladen fields outside.

This mill, of course is JC Rennie, which Mel and I were lucky to visit last week on our trip to the north-east.

For many years, yarns spun by JC Rennie have been among my very favourites to work with. There are several distinctive things about these yarns: they are a little finer than comparable fingering weights on the market, have a light soft hand, and are incredibly even and well spun (having witnessed a very efficient blending and spinning process from start to finish I can now see why this is). To me at least, JC Rennie yarns have become instantly recognisable. The company largely work with trade: their hand-knitting yarn is branded by other businesses, and they also spin for many different weavers, machine knitters, designers, and clothing manufacturers. Even if you think that you have never knit with their yarn, I am sure that, in one form or another, most of you will have come across it without knowing it. To give just three examples: you will find it in sweaters sold by a UK clothing brand whose name suggests grilled bread; you will find it in the furnishing fabric lines of a well-known US brand whose name sounds like an academic discipline, as well as in the knitting kits of a popular Danish designer who likes her garter stitch. Over the past five years, as my fondness for knitting and woolly textiles has grown into an obsession, I cannot count the number of occasions that I have wondered “is that Rennies?” This recognisability is partly, as I say, about the yarn’s hand and spinning quality, but is also most definitely about the colours.

Rennie’s palette is beautifully rich and varied. The recipe for each blended colourway can be wonderfully complex.

Mel and I were in raptures, as you can imagine, and, after a fascinating tour of the mill, spent a long time happily squooshing beautifully coloured yarns and fabrics.

Thanks so much, Christian and Marian, for a grand day out at the mill!

37 thoughts on “Rennies

  1. I had read this post before. But, today, as I was scrolling down to get to the post about your new child’s sweater, the photo of the ‘pretty country lane’ caught my eye. That photo is gorgeous! You should offer prints for sale. ; )


  2. How interesting. I have a pair of fairisle gloves from the grilled bread company and the colours are indeed fabulous. They are very warm and squooshy too. Now I know which yarn to look out for…
    Wonderful, wonderful photography. Thank you


  3. Thanks for sharing! I visited an old mill in North Wales recently, unfortunately they do not target the hand knitting market but they weave their own yarns and I bought a blanket. Moreover, it is still water powered, I just think it’s wonderful that some old wool mills have survived into the 21st century. The country lane is lovely too… what a cheer up that visit must have been :-) sigh


  4. I love Rennie too! And have too noticed that quite a few other yarns contain exactly the same blends of colour as in my shade cards… the whole thing of hand-knitting yarn producers subbing out production to mills is something I only cottoned onto a while ago. Leave it to the experts, I suppose- they certainly make lovely, lovely yarn!

    Thanks for walking (and showing us) that country lane when we can’t!


  5. There’s just so much here to breathe in. Such beauty and the Mill at the end of the lane is amazing. Thanks again for sharing.


    1. I noticed today that the label on my Isager Spinni says “made in Denmark”, and I’m pretty sure Hoxbro’s is Harrisville New England Shetland. HF’s is spun in Scotland.


  6. Kits! Oh, how I hope and dream of a kit for the gorgeous BMC… As a Canadian who sadly cannot be at Woolfest, is there any chance these kits might be available for order?


  7. I don’t know how you ever got out of the building! I would give up a lot just for the colour cards; what I would do for the actual yarn, I don’t know.
    Cheers and red wine, Hazel.


  8. Oh wow. Rennie is my favourite yarn and I’ve stashed a fair amount of it over the years. It’s lovely to know it comes from such a beautiful place! I hope they are well over their financial difficulties now.


  9. First, I simply love these photographs.
    Second, I am so pleased to now know where the yarn came from in my kit from that popular Danish designer. I have never had yarn quite like it before and I just swooned over it. The lightness of it, yes, but most particularly the colors. You are so right, Kate.
    Thank you for the enightenment!!


  10. Oh my…all of that in one post. I can hardly take it all in. The beauty of the countryside, the colours…the yarn and the colours of the yarn, the quiz on where it might be used, Like reading personalized number plates and figuring out the answer. I am a happy camper and that will do me all day. Thanks.


  11. I love,love, love your adventures with Mel to the Mills !!! I thank you for the educational insight, and the crisp, clean, and telling photography of woolly candy (no, not candy floss ;) . Thank you , thank you , thank you ! I rather treasure these mill field trips of yours, and if I lived in your part of the world, I’d be doing the same.


  12. I must admit I do find reading about tours of wool mills endlessly fascinating. Every time I pick up a ball of wool I wonder where it comes from, what sort of sheep grew the wool, who spun it and so on and so on. I hope that you find heaps more mills to visit so that we can all read about them too!


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