‘Spinning a yarn’ is just another way to describe storytelling. I like that. I love sourcing hand dyed yarn to use for the dreads on my highland coos, and it’s even better if you can find out the story behind the particular wool you are using. Often it has travelled from a far away land – and I can’t help wondering who transformed it into the yarn I bought in the store. What kind of sheep was it? Who sheared it? Who carded and spun it, and who dyed it? Did they get as excited as I do when they created this beautiful yarn? All along the way there are creative people taking part in each stage of the journey. We will almost certainly never meet, but each of us has had a small part to play in the creation of the end product.
“Being unique is better than being perfect.” Octamelia Sasmitha Aatmaja
Each Highland Coo coming out of our tiny workshop in Fife, Scotland, is totally unique. This is due to a few things. The whisky barrel oak is all individual. We never know what we are going to be working with until we clean and sand the rough timber. Even within each barrel stave there are variations all along the grain. Then there is the exciting job of choosing the yarn and making the wigs for the hairy dossan – no two coos will be the same – my basket is filled to the brim with an intoxicating mix of yarn – chosen for its tones and textures, its vibrant colours or soft silkiness.
Recycling rustic yarn
Another amazing thing you can do is recycle yarn. I only discovered this the other day, but when you rip down a scarf or jersey, something that is no longer any good to you, or that you have come across in a charity shop, the wool has wonderful crazy curls – possibly a nuisance if you wanted to knit it up again, but just exactly what I am looking for when I want to add a new texture to my dossans!
And then there is the driftwood – again, each piece will be totally different. I look for the most twisted, knarled bits I can find. If these are few and far between, I go for the smooth silvery bits – pieces that have been worn smooth by many years tumbling around in the ocean. These will live on as horns for coos, or maybe noses.
So that’s why every single Highland Coo coming out of our workshops is unique – you won’t find another one like it anywhere on the planet!