Whistlebare on Ravelry

We were recently asked if Whistlebare are on Ravelry and we’re really happy to say that the answer is YES!

All of our yarns that we produce at Whistlebare are listed on Ravelry. You can select the yarn and add them to your stash and link them to your projects.

We love to look and see what you’re making and what our yarns become!

As well as our yarns you can find Whistlebare’s own patterns listed on Ravelry and you can link them to your projects. Looking at projects on Ravelry is great way to look at a pattern, get inspiration, find tips on sizing and see what colour choices other knitters have made. It often surprises me when I see something knitted up in a colour I wouldn’t have picked but I love the result! We do also have some patterns which you will find on the designer’s Ravelry pages, these include ones by Karie Westermann, Francesca Hughes and Kirstie White.

Since we store our patterns on our website and don’t sell them through Ravelry it’s not possible to add a Whistlebare pattern to your library, and download them from Ravelry. However once you’ve downloaded your patterns from Whistlebare you can access them whenever you want from the Whistlebare Flock on our website. We’re often asked if we sell our Whistlebare patterns separately (without the yarn) and unfortunately the answer is no, we are a yarn company not a pattern company and the patterns are there to support the yarns. We do give them to you for free though when you buy the yarn!

For those of you who love the community that knitting creates we also have a Whistlebare group on Ravelry which you can join and a forum where you can find out the latest news and ask any questions you might have.

We’d love to see you there. Happy Knitting!

Chronicles of a Creative Life – learning to sew – The Apron Dress.

by Tess.

Last summer I started an adult learning class entitled Dressmaking for Fun  so that I might finally start sewing the Apron Dress by the Assembly Line, for which I’ve had the pattern far longer than I care to admit… 

Alice made a version of it recently in a light coloured striped linen and it’s very lovely, I chose a dark navy soft denim for mine which I bought in a fabric shop in Harrogate. I found the instructions on the pattern clear and easy to follow, always a bonus when you’re a beginner and really like it when even the most basic steps are explained clearly!

I learnt so many new skills from top stitching to button holes and while it’s certainly by no means perfect I’m really pleased with it.

It took a ridiculously long time to finish because after trying it on I decided I needed to move the buttons at the back of the waist, and it’s quite impossible to do that on your own unless you’re an octopus with eyes in the back of your head! But now it’s done and I already have the next project cut out!

I’ll be brutally honest here, and say that there were times that I questioned the use of the word Fun in the class description, as I wrestled with large pieces of fabric, got frustrated by learning about button holes, and did the wobbliest top stitching you ever did see which took me forever to unpick and do again….. I have however signed up for another term so watch this space for more learning to sew exploits and dubious photo shoots balancing on log piles!

Visiting Northumberland

If you are thinking of planning a visit to Northumberland you are in for a treat.

Northumberland is a wild and rugged county filled with vast beaches, forests, hills and ancient history. You can explore castles or Roman Forts, walk amongst wild goats in the Cheviot hills, spot seals, arctic terns, puffins and dolphins on the coastline and gaze at the vast star filled skies in the Kielder Dark Sky zone.

Places to Visit

There are so many wonderful places to visit I can’t possible list them all but a few of my favourites include Cragside – a National Trust house and estate and the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity, Alnwick Castle – the setting for many films including most famously Harry Potter, where you can complete your broomstick training, or go on a knights quest as well as seeing spectacular interiors and artwork, Dunstanburgh Castle – desolate ruins near the lovely village of Craster, the Holy Island of Lindisfarne – take care to check the tide times carefully and lastly Barter Books – one of the largest second hand bookshops in Britain, complete with open fires, a fantastic cafe and sofas to sit and read and while away the hours. Oh and the beaches, the hills and the forests. Plus a rather lovely farm studio at Whistlebare near Berwick-upon-Tweed selling yarns, gifts and more!

Places to stay.

As by now I’m sure you’ve realised you may want to stay a while. Northumberland has plenty of differing options depending on your desire for adventure, luxury, quirky or something traditional.

Camping. There are plots for both tent and camper vans at the Barn at Beal with lovely views over the sea to Lindisfarne, and the option of a cooked breakfast in the cafe.

Bed and Breakfasts Hay Farm Bed and Breakfast is a lovely local base from which to explore, with delicious home cooked breakfasts. Chillingham Manor is a very beautiful luxury B&B renowned for it’s food.

Hotels The Collingwood Arms is in the near by town of Cornhill upon Tweed. A little further away in the historic town of Alnwick is The Cookie Jar – this boutique hotel is within sight of the famous Alnwick Castle and offers a luxurious nights sleep.

Places to Eat

All this exploring is sure to be making you hungry, so here are a few places to refuel and get ready for more adventures.

Audela in Berwick serves contemporary British cuisine. The Black Bull in Etal is a pub with restaurant. The Jolly Fisherman in Craster serves local seafood which you enjoy whilst admiring the fabulous views of the coast.

For lighter bites try The Milk Bar in Wooler, it serves milkshakes, delicious baking and more! One for all the family to enjoy. Carnaby’s is just off the A1 north of Alnwick and uses fresh local produce to serve cooked breakfasts, artisan breads, salads, cakes, and more. Lastly for lunch with a view you can’t beat the Barn at Beal for views over towards Lindisfarne.

Visit Northumberland. You won’t ever want to leave.

Chronicles of a Creative Life – Introducing Blue and Rain

A little while ago I wrote a blog post about our plans to protect Whistlebare’s soil from compaction and nurture this farmer’s well being by parking our tractor and using draught ponies for field work instead. Having spent a fabulous week at ‘Hitch In Farm’ down in Devon learning the basics of draught horses I have been really keen to get into real horse power.

Opal, Dolly and Daisy at Hitch In Farm

Traditionally in the North East agricultural work was not done by huge Clydesdales or Shire Horses but by smaller, compact but still powerful Dales Ponies. Not one to mess with tradition and anyway preferring smaller more accessible beasts I set out to find some suitable Dales ponies for Whistlebare. However, in modern times Dales Ponies have been prized in the show ring and so been bred for elegance and refinement which aren’t the foremost characteristics required of a work horse. A type of pony that is still bred for brawn and docility is a traditional gypsy cob of the type I so enjoyed working with at Hitch In Farm.

A Young Shire Horse at Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre

Even finding a little cob turned out to be more complicated than I anticipated. This time the problem was Mr Whistlebare who announced that large farm animals with black and white, or brown and white, patches are cows and as such would not be pulling my cart. Well most cobs are either piebald or skewbald (patchy)! Ironically when I mooted the idea of a ‘Blagdon Splash’ cob (still two colours but not so much patchy as smudgy in appearance) Mr Whistlebare pronounced them delightful as they closely resemble his favourite longhorn cattle!

Luckily I was able to find a charming little blagdon splash filly for sale locally. Her name is ‘A Splash of Rain’, she is two years old and now resides at Whistlebare. As she is still a baby Rain had had no further training than wearing a headcollar and being led about. Starting Rain’s education is an exciting adventure for me. Whilst I have bred mares in the past I have never schooled a horse from the beginning and so was/am slightly terrified of doing it wrong. I have read various highly recommended books and watched a great deal of YouTube.

A Splash Of Rain Traditional Gypsy Cob

So far my worries have been groundless. I think that Rain is one of those ponies who was born wanting to please. After six weeks of lessons she will now wear her harness happily, drag a tyre round the field, stop, start and turn on voice commands and even allow the second junior goat slave to ride her down the lane! I decided to stop on a high note and put her in the field to give her time to grow and mature over the winter. Meanwhile both I and Mr Whistlebare have been excitedly scheming about all the jobs Rain will help with.

I was warned at the outset of this little adventure that where there is one pony usually there is two. It turns out to be true. Enter ‘A Splash of Blue’ but her tale is for another day.

A slip stitch tutorial

Slipping stitches is a fantastic way to create texture and colour contrast in your knitting, whilst only handling one colour yarn at a time on each row. By changing how the stitches are slipped you can create a huge array of different patterns.

To slip a stitch (Sl) you slip yarn purl wise from left to right needle without knitting it. 

The position of the working yarn as you slip the stitch creates a different effect.

WYIF – If the yarn is held in front of the slipped stitch WYIF (with yarn in front) it will create a small horizontal bar on the right side of your work.

WYIF – On knit rows, bring the yarn to the front, slip the stitch as if to purl then take the yarn to the back again and work the next stitch.

WYIF – On purl rows the yarn stays at the front. 

WYIB – If the yarn is held behind the slipped stitch WYIB (with yarn in back) it will create a small horizontal bar on the wrong side of your work, and an elongated stitch on the right side.

WYIB – On knit rows the yarn remains at the back, slip the stitch as if to purl and then work the next stitch.

WYIB – On purl rows bring the yarn to the back, slip the stitch, then bring the yarn to the front again and work the next stitch.

Several of the designs in our Canny Lass collection use a slip stitch design, Fernietickles hat is worked in the the round and uses  both WYIF and WYIB, and Fernietickles mitts and the Room to Breathe jersey are knitted flat and use only WYIF. Over the Hills Hat uses WYIB to create elongated stitches in the round.

Pattern Postcards – How to download your pattern.

If you have bought yarn and a pattern from Whistlebare in the last year, either at a show or at the studio you will have received one of our pattern postcards.

Each one comes with a url directing you to the download page for the pattern you chose, and a unique password.
Use the following instructions if you need any help downloading your pattern.


1. Type the url from your postcard into the browser bar at the top of the screen. (not the search bar).

2. Enter the password from your postcard.

3. Once you reach the pattern download page click add to basket.
4. On the next page click proceed to checkout
5. Enter your address, email address and a phone number as if you were buying something but you won’t be charged.
    Create a password which will allow you to log back into the Whistlebare Flock at any time, to download your pattern again, or enter the chat rooms.
6. At the bottom of the page click place order.
7. Click on the box with your pattern name in –  download will start.
Happy Knitting!
The postcard also includes some hashtags related to your pattern, if you upload your picture to social media do tag them, we follow the hashtags and we’d love to see what you’ve knitted!